I would like to make some predictions about what the world will be like in 100 years. Just for fun. There are no experts on the future: your guess is as good as mine. But this is my guess: time will tell if I am right. I'll be dead by then anyways, and so will you.
First, concerning globalization. Currently, there are 6,000+ languages in the world, but most of them are dying. I predict that by 2100, only 80 or so languages will survive as living languages, outside of Africa, and there, only two or three hundred will survive. (By 'living language', I mean spoken by the youngest generation- under-20s- in everyday conversation.) All the Aboriginal languages of North and South America (except Quechua, Guarani and perhaps Quiche) will disappear. So will the Aboriginal or minority languages of Australia, New Zealand, Russia, the Phillipines and China. India's hundreds of languages will be reduced to half a dozen, and Indonesia's to a tiny few.
English will become the 'lingua franca' of the world. But not English as we know it: it will be a simplified creole, with many regional variations.
The European Union will continue to expand, to include all of Europe- and North America. And possibly Russia. This might be called the 'Arctic Union'. Meanwhile, in the Middle East, a Muslim civil war (similar to the wars of the Christian Reformation in the 16th Century) will sweep the region, between Sunnis and Shiites. This has already begun in Iraq. In Africa, a 'green curtain' will be drawn between the Muslim north and the Christian south (as we have already seen in Sudan, Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria, etc.). New federations will emerge north and south of this line. All of North Africa might be united- if only briefly- in an Islamic fundamentalist superstate.
Several plagues will sweep the world- caused by scientific experimentation and failed immunization programs, and spread by global transportation. (Mad cow, avian flu, sars, etc. are signs of the future, unfortunately. But scientists, politicians and businesspeople are so incredibly short-sighted that they will continue to make the same mistakes, with ever-worsening results.)
In developed countries, vaccines against addiction to illicit drugs will be developed, and become compulsory. This will lead to new illicit drugs being developed.
China and India- in fact, much of Asia- will become increasingly wealthy, with a few financial hiccups along the way. But many Asians will remain very poor. Both China and India face huge problems of energy and water supply, as well as pollution. This will lead to social and political problems, rebellions and possibly civil war. To survive, some autocratic regimes will create a more complete totalitarianism than is possible with our current technology. Every movement of individuals will be monitored, and all communication recorded.
Around mid-century, the worst will pass- as world population peaks and Asian countries catch up to Western countries in economic terms. Also, the religious wars (Sunni vs. Shiite, Christian vs. Muslim) of the next few decades will have fizzled out. The second half of the 21st Century will
be less eventful. If civilization survives the plagues and wars of the first half, that is.
However, in the latter half of the 21st century, the effects of global warming will begin to become apparent. Climate will change throughout the world, with some areas getting wetter (Mexico, Saharan Africa?) while some areas get drier (Western Europe, Eastern North America?). Sealevels will not rise as much as expected, however, as increased rainfall in the Arctic will actually increase the size of the polar ice cap.
What about technology?
The most important new technologies will be biological. All injuries or birth defects which are not fatal will be reversible, and no-one will be blind, deaf or confined to a wheelchair. Doctors will go beyond merely repairing the body, however, to create new and controversial 'improvements', such as eyes with eagle-like vision, hearing beyond the normal human range, gills for underwater breathing, even wings for flight. Instead of colouring her hair, a teenage girl of the 2080s will change the colour of her skin (perhaps green or purple). Instead of getting a tattoo, a young man might grow horns, or a prehensile tail.
Sometime in this century, doctors will discover something which will change humanity forever: how to increasing human memory and intelligence. As our species is termed 'homo sapiens' ('man who thinks'), so the human of the future will need a new name: perhaps 'homo ultra sapiens' ('man who thinks extremely well').
Another possible technology of the near future: telepathy. Imagine a machine that can read the thoughts of one person and transmit those thoughts directly to the brain of another person, whose thoughts are transmitted back to the first person. Just another form of communication? No, telepathy is much more than that. If it is efficient enough, it could become a way of merging minds. Two minds, or maybe many more. I imagine a world where the 'Bride' and the 'Beast' of the Book of Revelations are two massive, global collectives of billions of minds, dividing humanity between them.
Even more farfetched, what if scientists discover the secret of reanimation? Imagine if death was not a permanent state...
And space? Who knows? I would like to see humanity travel to the stars, but I don't see it happening in this century. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if space is all but forgotten for the next few decades, as other problems distract us.
None of this might happen. Or all of it. Perhaps our Lord will come again, before humanity has the chance to completely mess things up. I hope so.
I just don't know, Sir. From my time in New Zealand, I can tell you that Maori is a growing, thriving language, the opposite of aboriginal languages almost everywhere else. I'd say that even without the benefit of a discrete society like Quebec to support it, Maori has just as much chance of survival as French in Canada. Of course, all it would take is a world war to re-orient the government's priorities completely away from their 'island mentality', but I'd hate to base predictions of the future so pessimistically on the inevitability of war/major calamity.
Look at me, all defensive... It's just sad to think of so many languages dying out, probable as it certainly is. I was so angry with my Ojibwe friends on Manitoulin for their apparent lack of interest in learning and preserving their own...
Well, I may be wrong about Maori. But let me ask you this, Andrew: did anyone you met in New Zealand speak ONLY Maori? Is there a Maori-language university? Can someone who speaks only Maori have a career as a doctor, lawyer, civil servant or businessperson? If the answer is 'no', then young Maori will still have to learn English, and I'm afraid the Maori language is doomed. (By the way, is there only one Maori language? I thought there were several.)
Yes, it's sad that so many languages will disappear, but does the world really need 6,000 languages?
hello i dont now how are you but i will say that you dont now about islam so please shut your mouth up.Do you now any thing.i thinck so that you people will drench us into blood not islam and you amaricans are giving us terror.you amaricans are the bigest idiots.do you no in quaran it ha written tha poepole will see them in glass that mean tv,the steel wiil fly in the air tahat mean airpleane .i would say to you that you idiot should read quaran.
lol look at how u flare up... This is the problem with u muslims. U take offense with everything in the nameof religion. U wage wars in the name of quaran. U rape women and behead men in the name of Sharia law. Most of the terrorists are muslims. I was a muslim myself but was disgusted by ur idea of humanity. I was a muslim and i hated the fact that i read quaran. I hate that my parents are still worshipping a religion that teaches violence and a religion whose leader was a fuking paedophile.
haha i think that is also true, the names that islam has been given...if the muslims do not steer away from the stereotypes that they have been givn, god forbid the islam religion may be washed away with blood...
Reading your "predictions", I think that you do not understand how the world "works"!
The 21st century will be all about "only" 10 things:
1- Struggle for energy resources.
2- Struggle for energy resources.
3- Struggle for energy resources.
4- Struggle for energy resources.
5- Struggle for energy resources.
6- Struggle for energy resources.
7- Struggle for energy resources.
8- Struggle for energy resources.
9- Struggle for energy resources.
10- Struggle for energy resources.
Just consider what No.1 "the first decade" was all about!
Major fuel exporting countries that have huge energy resources, coupled with a formidable "protective" milirtay power (meaning the likes of Russia and Iran, not to say, Saudi Arabia) will become POWERFUL.
Major fuel importing countries will be divided into 2 groups:
1) Adaptive, based on powerful economic structures and massive military powers, like the China and the U.S.
2) Struggling but will remain mostly wealthy, like Europe and Japan.
The rest of the world will mostly follow one of these camps, which will be usually interdependent (read: China and Iran).
Those of you who are relatively young will be "TOTALLY SURPRISED" by the accuracy of this scenario, I hope there will be any kind of mild panics. If they still remember reading it on a sunny day in the future.
Why GO so far!
Think about any major event that is happening using this way.
On Fri. July 11, 2008: Oil hit 147.27$ a barrel, a SHOCKING figure.
57 days later:
On Mon. Sept. 15, 2008: Biggest bankrup. in history occured, bringing what could have been great dep. 2.0 (is that prospect gone, with all the moeny printers working at full capacity).
You seem to equate oil with "energy resources". While I agree that the world is running out of oil, and that there will be shortages of oil, that doesn't necessarily mean there will be energy shortages. Renewable energy has come a long way, and there are abundant reserves of coal, which is underutilized and may serve as a stop-gap energy source until the world develops sufficient alternatives to fossil fuels. No need to panic.
But the next century will not only be about oil or energy. There are many changes coming, which will present both opportunities and dangers for humanity, as I've listed above. And don't forget that the future always holds a few surprises. At the beginning of the 20th Century, no-one could have guessed that the second half of the century would be overshadowed by a 'cold war' between the United States and Russia, both of whom were relatively minor powers in 1900. Or that China would have a larger economy than Germany by the end of the century. Just to name a few examples.
I just see little point in imagining the future (except for fun ). There are way too many variables. Think about it this way, no one in the year 1900 could ever have imagined the internet as it is today or what it could be. No one could have thought that everyone would have a computer in their home that they could communicate with anyone in the world with, without the need of a physical link, which could out preform them in tasks such as instant and massive number crunching. Making assumptions on the future from present information is flawed from the start. It's just naive to think that the world in one hundred years will be this or that based on what's going on now when no one could reliably tell you what the world will be like in one year or even next week. What if the energy crisis is solved tomorrow by the perfection of fusion energy? Chances are that this is unlikely to happen, but the chance is still there. If this happened then what could happen would be changed drastically. This is just one example, but the basic concept can apply to everything from religion to philosophy to technology. I don't mean to put you down, I find peoples opinions about the future interesting, but in the end what I am trying to say is 'Don't argue about the future, cause you will never be right. Just live it.'.
Just as you said Scott, there are a few surprises just waiting round the corner for us, why take a guess when we could just wait and see.
There are variables, but that doesn't mean we can't make predictions. In fact, much of our technology was inspired by science fiction. A famous example of this is communication satellites, which were first proposed by Arthur C. Clarke, a sci-fi writer.
Another important function of forecasting is to warn others of dangerous trends one sees happening now. Have you never read 1984? Sure, the society he predicted didn't happen (yet), but I believe that's due in part to his warning.
My 'future prediction' was mostly just for my own amusement. Time will tell if I am right. But I am alarmed that nearly all novels and movies of the future (since the 90's especially) have been apocalyptic, or of future dystopias. Such prophecies tend to be self-fulfilling, if they are not balanced by more optimistic, hopeful predictions.
The future is about more than oil. It's about more than the 'war on terror'. This is the century of biology, I believe. That is where the greatest hopes, and dangers, exist for humanity.
Your attitude, of 'we can't know, so why try?' is rather defeatist, don't you think? Are you too intellectually lazy to contemplate the future, or too cowardly to make a prediction? So, maybe you'll be wrong. It doesn't hurt to guess. And who knows? You might just earn the right to say, "I told you so!" someday.
I understand, like I said it's for fun. I'm sorry if I may have been a bit pessimistic, my reply was more towards the people commenting, not you. I believe you have a pretty good insight into what might happen.
I have my ideas about our future but I always find my self making biased predictions, and biased opinions always end up in arguments unless you share everyone else's opinion, so in the end I decided 'I'll keep my ideas in my head' but regardless of my own ideals I keep seeing people saying things that might happen but dress them up in their own biased views. It's refreshing to see something like your prediction. It was enlightening. I'm not telling people 'Don't bother' I'm saying 'Don't make such a big deal out of it'.
I'm well aware of sci-fi inspiring reality. Works like Starship Troopers have inspired military evolution (Powered mech suits and more!). There's even a backwards trend. Futuristic films and games are trying to be as realistic as possible, asking scientists what kind of innovations will be about in the future. The game Mass Effect 2 uses long distance communication utilizing entangled particles, which is being researched right now, and films like Minority Report actually brought in a team to design that cool hand gesture computer interface who are working on bringing it to the real world.
Warning others to prevent a future dystopia is excellent but I believe it may lead to stagnation. Obviously we should learn from our past mistakes and try to never ever repeat them but being fearful of the future is no way to get any progress. We should be bold but obviously keep a good amount of common sense to ensure nothing bad happens. Tread carefully and boldly, if that's at all possible. I'll try and get a hold of a copy of 1984, sounds interesting.
I understand how you feel about this apocalyptic trend in the media, but the public love it so they'll make more and more for moneys sake. The same thing happened in the 50's with the boom in alien films. It's just a fad that I'm sure will die out, hopefully . In the end we should hope that humanity has the common sense to not blow itself up, be able to handle any natural disaster and to not end up enslaving itself emotionally, ethically, religiously or technologically.
I agree that the future is about more than oil, people are making to much of a big deal about it. There are plenty of other ways to create energy. I agree it's more about the war on terror, which I think has been blown out of proportion by the media, intentionally or not. I half agree with you on the biology front. I think there may be more of an emphasis on the integration of biology with technology. Both have so much to gain from the other. It would be a shame to not augment ourselves with technology and vice versa.
Being called intellectually lazy is quite a shock, I'm always thinking!
I do have my opinions of the future, I just don't think people would be really interested in what I think, or maybe I'm just too physically lazy to type it out in a professional and coherent manner like you have done here .
It is my hope that space will be on the agenda as well as biological augmentation. There is so much to gain out there, if only someone had the courage to reach out and grab it. Maybe the space elevator will be built this century, that would certainly put us on track to outer space. Who knows? Like I said, let's wait and see and hope that our future is bright. I'm confident we won't screw it up. 'Crosses fingers'