Most Hollywood depictions of the year 2050 are pretty bleak – suggesting we’ll either have been slaughtered by robots, invaded by aliens, or both.
But scientists have predicted a lot of changes which DON’T involve the human race being annihilated.
Would you want to live forever, marry a sexy android – or own a dog which talks?
All of these things might be possible by the year 2050, according to scientists.
1) Rich people might be immortal
Advances in computing and anti-ageing treatments mean some humans could ‘live forever’ by 2050.
Futurologist Dr Ian Pearson predicts that by 2050, people with enough money will be able to connect their brains directly to computers – and ‘live on’ after their own deaths.
Cambridge scientist Aubrey de Grey believes that the first human beings who will live to 1,000 years old have already been born.
Dr Pearson says that by 2050, people will be able to connect their brains directly to computers and, ‘could move their mind into an improved android body.
‘This would allow people to have multiple existences and identities, or to carry on living long after their biological death.’
2) People will visit robot brothels – and even marry their ‘lovers’
By the year 2050, sex with robots will be common – and some people may actually fall in love with ‘God-like’ androids.
David Levy from the University of Maastricht predicted that human-robot marriages would take place by 2050.
Others predict that human-robot relationships will be a little more cold-hearted and mercenary.
In their paper ‘Robots, men and sex tourism’ Ian Yeoman and Michelle Mars of the University of Victoria Management School in Wellington, New Zealand, say that robot prostitutes will be common, but expensive, by 2050.
They imagine Amsterdam brothels offering, ‘a range of sexual gods and goddesses of different ethnicities, body shapes, ages, languages and sexual features.’
3) We will have found aliens
One of Earth’s leading alien hunters predicted that intelligent alien life forms will be found by 2040 – after our telescopes have scanned two million star systems.
The prediction comes from Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute – one of Earth’s leading alien-hunting organisations, which uses an array of 42 radio telescopes to scan star systems NASA telescopes have pinpointed as likely to host life.
Shostak thinks that by the year 2040, telescopes will have scanned enough star systems to find E.T. – not just alien microbes, or planets likely to host life, but radio signals from space.
But he warns that the discovery might change our society forever.
Shostak said, ‘We could become privy to knowledge that would otherwise remain unknown until developed by our descendants centuries or more in the future. While this manna from the skies could be profoundly disruptive, you can’t argue that ignorance is blissfully preferable. It’s not.’
4) Animals will start talking
Not on their own, of course – but today’s trend for ‘pet tech’ will blossom into computer-assisted animals which talk, like Furbies.
Dr Ian Pearson says, ‘Technology will be used to enhance pets and wildlife, with the potential to hear our pets talk or to increase their IQ, and to create real versions of kids-craze Furbies
5) Robots will have beaten humans at football
The Robocup is the biggest event in robotics each year – and was inspired by IBM’s Deep Blue computer beating chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997.
The Robocup – held each year – believes that humanoid robots will “beat” human teams by 2050.
So far, though, there’s little danger – it’s still difficult to get robots to know where they are on the pitch, and the players frequently fall over.