predictions for the next century
Here are predictions by Popular Mechanics for the coming century (2012 A.D. to 2122 A.D.). Some of the interesting ones are given below:
2012 – 2022
- People will be fluent in every language. With DARPA and Google racing to perfect instant translation, it won't be long until your cellphone speaks Swahili on your behalf.
- Scrolls will replace tablets. Researchers have already reproduced words and images on thin plastic digital displays. If they want those displays to compete with the iPad, they need to fine-tune the color and refine the screens so you can put your feet up and watch LeBron throw down on YouTube.
- Your clothes will clean themselves too. Engineers in China have developed a titanium dioxide coating that helps cotton shed stains and eliminate odor-producing bacteria. To revive your lucky shirt after a night of poker, you need only step into the sun.
2023 – 2062
- All 130 million books on the planet will be digitized. In 2010 Google planned to complete the job by decade's end, but as of March it still had 110 million tomes to go.
- Supercomputers will be the size of sugar cubes. The trick is to redesign the computer chip. Instead of the standard side-by-side model in use today, IBM researchers believe they can stack and link tomorrow's chips via droplets of nanoparticle-infused liquid.
- Vertical farms will feed cities. There will be 9 billion people on the planet in 2050, seven out of 10 of them in urban areas, and everyone's got to eat. Future food production will depend on farmscrapers that grow pesticide-free crops year-round—making it much simpler to eat local.
2063 – 2122
- An ion-engine will reach the stars. If you're thinking of making the trip to Alpha Centauri, pack plenty of snacks. At 25.8 trillion miles, the voyage requires more than four years of travel at light speed, and you won't be going nearly that fast.
- Scientists will map the quadrillion connections between the brain's neurons. Quadrillion sounds like a made-up number, but we assure you it's real.
- One of us will celebrate a 150th birthday. Our money's on Keith Richards. Given recent advances in health, technology, and medicine and the rise of genome science, it's only a matter of time until someone gets to blow out all those candles.
Interested? The full list of predictions is available here.