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20 Years From Now. Science and Technology.

  1. May 5, 2004 #1
    What are your thoughts on how this world will be different 20 years from now? Here are my thoughts.


    1. Virtual reality will be as widespread as the internet allowing you to escape the human world.

    2. Robots are your friends. Every household will have one. Just like the Jetsons :smile:

    3. We have landed a human on Mars! That's one small step for man, one giant leap for our sponsor Pepsi Cola!

    4. We have built permanent resident stations on the Earth's orbit. Beginning the long process of space colonization.

    5. Genetic engineering of humans has begun. But still in the beginning stages so only allowing you to select a handful of characteristics.

    6. China is closing in on their superpower status. And just like historic times, have rised to the elite countries of the world in economy and science.
     
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  3. May 5, 2004 #2

    Moonbear

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    Y'know, about 25 years ago, I predicted that we'd already have those robots and Jetson flying cars by now (actually, by the year 2000...it was one of those school projects, predicting what the world would be like in the year 2000). I'm sorely disappointed we don't have them already. Well, we have some of that, just not the little maid and butler robots like Rosie on the Jetsons!

    As for genetic engineering, we already have the capability of doing genetic selection. I think using genetic engineering therapeutically is much closer than 20 years away.

    Don't you think a better sponsor for Mars would be the M&M/Mars company? The employees already call themselves Martians.

    Let's see, in 20 years, I think continued urban sprawl, increased traffic, rising fuel costs, reduced fuel availability, and deteriorating roads will spark a nationwide initiative for increasing and improving mass transportation that will actually get serious funding to make it happen.
     
  4. May 5, 2004 #3
    Not only China, but also India I think. And I would say China is already a "superpower" ;), but in Science and Tech it won't take too long to pass the US.

    I think the robot portion is a little iffy, though. Especially "every household". Every household still doesn't have a computer/the internet at this point. Robots will, though, defenitely be able to do and understand more complicated things.

    Landing on Mars is a defenite possibilty, though.
     
  5. May 5, 2004 #4

    Nereid

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    Pretty easy to show that India won't overtake the US economically in only 20 years (unless the US suffers some Argentinian-style catastrophe ... mismanagement of the budget a la CA?), and that China probably won't either ... it'll take closer to 40 years.

    How? Take current GDP and populations, assume the US continues to grow at modest rates (cf history), assume India catches up in 20 years ... what would its average annual per capita GDP growth rate have to be?
     
  6. May 5, 2004 #5
    India doesn't have to catch up economically to catch up scientifically, though. Especially the way India/hinduism society is designed. It almost certianly won't catch up economically, at least not per capita, etc., but the advances will still be there, along with the infrastructure.
     
  7. May 5, 2004 #6

    Evo

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    I believe the current plan for a man on Mars is 30 years.

    Robots in every home. Are we only speaking of industrialized countries? Surely countries such as Tibet and other countries without the current widespread technology we enjoy will be WAY BEHIND.
     
  8. May 6, 2004 #7

    Bystander

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    If your library hasn't moved all the bound journal collections older than 20 yrs. to the attic/basement/Timbuktu annex, take a break and thumb through a few from 1950 --- you'll get a few laughs at the predictions in various essays and editorials. Y'all are just too stuck in the sci-fi Mars/robots/brave new world rut. They hit everything just about completely backward then, and dollars to doughnuts, you're hitting everything backward here.

    Now, to shoot myself in the foot: we'll be within just a few years of commercial fusion power; we'll be --- of a cure for cancer, the common cold, and all the other persistent plagues; --- few years of men back from Mars.

    Seriously? Cashless (you don't think the revenooers are going to put up with black market labor for much longer, do you?). The politicians will still be blowing smoke about the exact same problems as today --- they ain't about to "kill the job" and do things right --- then they'd either have to work for a living, or go through the pain and agony of learning about some new "looming, dire crisis/threat to mankind." The biotech bubble will still be within a few patents, permits, and acts of legislation from exploding like the dot.com bubble of the late 90s. And, finally, California will have pumped the Great Lakes dry, and be in the planning stages of diverting the Amazon River northward.
     
  9. May 6, 2004 #8

    ShawnD

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    You guys are way too optimistic. Flying cars? Robots? Mars? Get real. Stuff doesn't get done unless there is money supporting the result. With insurance the way it is now, and people not taking care of their vehicles, flying cars will NEVER happen - ever. Robots might happen but probably not; people just aren't willing to buy expensive junk (segway?). We won't have peple on Mars because there is no reason to. Going there costs a lot of money and there's absolutely nothing to gain from it. Permanent space stations are not likely because there is really nothing to gain from doing that.

    I have a few positive predictions for the future though.
    1. HIV will be eliminated
    2. Women will be even more beautiful (they're getting better all the time :wink:)
    3. Fusion might actually work properly
    4. Stereo speakers will be much more efficient (think of how much they sucked in the 80s compared to now!)
    5. TVs will be really really good (I mean the TV itself, not the programming)
    6. Deathmatch will be shown on TV (just like UT predicted)
    7. Computers will be 00ber l337
    8. Prostitution will be legal (remember that hardcore porn, organized prostitution, used to be illegal in the 80s)

    Overall, it looks like a positive future, but I fear that the recent wave of stupid_people_taking_over could lead to anarchy.
     
  10. May 6, 2004 #9
    Of everything listed, the question isn't rather if, but when. That is the only debate. Nobody is debating if. By debating if, you begin to lose all credibility. Technology doesn't stand still.
     
  11. May 6, 2004 #10
    You gotta be kidding me if you think fushion energy is more plausible than going to Mars, etc.

    Fusion requires temperatures of 200 million degrees F. The sun is 10 thousand degrees F to give you some comparison. The core of the sun is 27 million degrees F.
     
  12. May 6, 2004 #11

    ShawnD

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    So you're saying fusion cannot be done on earth? Hate to burst your bubble but it's done all the time. The only problem is that it takes more energy to create deuterium and tritium than the fusion actually releases. We'll eventually find a way to create deuterium and tritium without a lot of energy. That's just controlled fusion though.
    Uncontrolled hydrogen fusion has been around for over 30 years (hydrogen bomb?).
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2004
  13. May 6, 2004 #12
    Ever hear of hydrogen bombs? The thing is we can't control fushion, nor will we anytime soon. Definitely not within 20 years. And unlikely in this century. When you find a container that can withhold 200 million degrees, you let me know.

    EDIT: Ok you added the hydrogen bomb part after I replied. And I explained this already here.
     
  14. May 6, 2004 #13

    ShawnD

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    I'm letting you know right now.
    Tokamak Fusion Reactor

     
  15. May 6, 2004 #14
    And how consistent is that? For how long did they manage that temperature? Was it even for a second? I'm guessing it wasn't for too long.

    Even beyond the temperature barrier, there are so many other complications. The plasma gets exceedingly difficult to control.

    We'll land on Mars before fusion power is pumping through homes, I assure you.
     
  16. May 6, 2004 #15
    I wish I had your kind of optimism here. The way Botox got so popular, I think in 20 years everyone will be walking around unable to make a facial expression. :frown:
     
  17. May 6, 2004 #16

    ShawnD

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    Last edited: May 6, 2004
  18. May 6, 2004 #17

    Njorl

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    Fusion power has already exceeded energy "break-even" for prolonged periods. The obstacle is economic "break-even".

    Putting a man on Mars has been possible for quite a long time. There is just no reason to do it. It might get done. It might not. Either way, it is just of no significance. We put a man on the moon to show we could do it. There was no scientific value to it at all. Since we know we can put a man on Mars, why bother?

    Njorl
     
  19. May 6, 2004 #18

    ShawnD

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    Are you serious? That's excellent; now all we need to do is make it economical and we'll have infinite power!
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2004
  20. May 6, 2004 #19

    Njorl

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    My mistake. There are design concepts that are well accepted as being capable of energy break-even. They are not econimical to build.

    I had thought that break-even had been reported, and I posted based on that recollection. So far, I have not found a reference for it. Strangely, information seems to dry up after 1996 or so.

    Njorl
     
  21. May 6, 2004 #20

    Moonbear

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    LOL! Well, 20 years is only one generation, so I'm not expecting any big changes in appearances by then, but in 40, 60 or 80 years, we're going to start having some really ugly kids running around...with all the plastic surgery, lasik, orthodontics, botox, etc, you just don't know how ugly your kids are going to be based on your partner's appearances.

    Oh, and the kids will all be wearing suits and ties to look cool, just to irk their parents who still wear pants falling off their rear-ends (but that's not related to technology). Hearing aids will also be fashionable and sold with multi-colored face plates to match your outfits since today's teens will be experiencing hearing loss at an unprecedented young age of 30-something.

    Everyone will own a plasma screen TV as they start selling dirt cheap while the next new technology trend comes along. Long gone will be the cable box, all your television programming will be received through your computer.

    SUVs will be the old clunkers and sleeker compact cars will regain popularity. Hybrid cars will become more popular, but we will not have eliminated fossil fuel usage by a long shot.
     
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