In 2045, the most conservative forecast also believes that there will be more than 100 billion devices connected to the Internet. These devices include mobile devices, wearable devices, household appliances, medical equipment, industrial detectors, surveillance cameras, automobiles, and clothing. The data they create and share will bring a new information revolution to our work and life.
People will be able to use the information from the Internet of Things to deepen their understanding of the world and their lives, and make more appropriate decisions.
At the same time, networked devices will also automate many current tasks, such as monitoring, management, and maintenance, which require manpower. The cooperation between the three technologies of the Internet of Things, data analysis, and artificial intelligence will create a huge network of intelligent machines in the world, enabling huge commercial transactions without human intervention.
However, although the Internet of Things will improve economic efficiency, public safety, and personal life, it will also increase concerns about network security and personal privacy. Terrorists, criminal groups and hostile forces will use the Internet of Things as a new means of attack. The large amount of data contained in the Internet of Things will also tempt the government to implement surveillance against the people, which will further trigger the confrontation between privacy and security.
Representative technologies: micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), wireless communication, power management technology
Practical application: massive data analysis, real-time medical monitoring
On the earth in 2045, robots and automated systems will be everywhere. Self-driving cars will make traffic safer and more efficient, and may also bring new impetus to the sharing economy. Robots are responsible for a large number of tasks in daily life, such as caring for the elderly and buying vegetables, as well as responsibilities in industry, such as harvesting crops, maintaining public facilities, and so on.
With the increase in mobility, sensitivity and intelligence of robots, they will become powerful fighters, assisting or even replacing human soldiers on the battlefield. Artificial intelligence software will be used in business, such as extracting meaningful information from hundreds of terabytes of data, automating business services, and replacing traditional “people-oriented” occupations such as customer service and teachers.
However, robots and automation will also bring many crises. Millions of laid-off workers whose jobs have been replaced by machines will have a great impact on society and lead to economic and social instability. The automated network system will become the main breakthrough point for each hostile force to attack each other. The use of robots and automated systems in conflicts can cause great ethical and cultural challenges.
Representative technologies: machine learning, sensors and control systems, human-computer interaction
Practical applications: AlphaGo, robot nervous system, Microsoft chat robot Tay
Smartphones and cloud computing are changing the way humans get along with data. For example, in the current United States, about 30% of web browsing and 40% of social media are through mobile phones. One of the reasons for this is smartphones with various detectors that can measure weather, location, luminosity, sound, and biological characteristics.
With the increasing power of mobile phones and more comprehensive functions, the spread of mobile networks will also accelerate. In 2030, 75% of the world’s population will have a mobile network connection, and 60% of the population will have a high-speed wired network connection.
The development of mobile terminals and the proliferation of mobile networks will also further advance the progress of cloud computing. Cloud computing can bring a lot of computing power to users with zero investment. In the next 30 years, cloud-based mobile computing will change all walks of life from healthcare to education.
For example, people can use their mobile phones to perform physical examinations and communicate directly with cloud-based diagnostic software. People can also use educational software on their mobile phones to learn new skills. Farmers can even connect to real-time weather data through their mobile phones and optimize them through cloud software. Harvest time.
However, all of this requires extremely high network security, reliability, and traffic. Business users and individual users also need to get used to uploading data to the cloud.
Representative technologies: high-efficiency wireless network, near-field communication and low-energy network, battery optimization
Practical applications: data fluidity, mobile malware, cloud mobile processors
In 2045, 65%-70% of the world’s population will live in cities. As the urban population increases, the number of megacities with a global population of more than 10 million will increase from 28 in 2016 to 41 in 2030. The flow of a large number of people to cities will put great pressure on the infrastructure of these cities, such as intercity transportation, food and water sources, electric energy, sewage treatment, and public safety systems.
The smart city of the future will use information and communication technology (ICT) to improve the efficiency and sustainability of the city through big data and automation.
For example, the use of a decentralized detection system will monitor urban water and electricity data in real time, and automatically adjust power distribution settings through smart grids; use networked traffic signal systems and automatic driving systems to reduce vehicle congestion; use new materials and new design techniques to improve the efficiency of air conditioning and lighting systems and reduce energy waste; use rooftop solar panels, small wind turbines, geothermal power generation, and other renewable resources to provide clean electricity.
However, on the other hand, cities without money or political conviction to invest in these technologies will become extremely crowded and dirty, and become a flashpoint for riots and conflicts.
Quantum computing realizes the encoding and manipulation of data through the superposition principle and the characteristics of subatomic particles such as quantum entanglement.
Although in the past few decades, quantum computing has only existed in theory, research in recent years has begun to produce meaningful results. In the next 5-15 years, we are likely to create a practical quantum computer.
The emergence of quantum computers will bring tremendous progress to other research directions, such as climate simulation, drug research, and materials science.
However, the most anticipated thing is quantum cryptography. A quantum computer will be able to crack all the encryption methods in the world, and quantum encryption will be truly impeccable. Nowadays, many technological fortresses of quantum computers have begun to be overcome one by one. Although we may not see real and practical quantum computers until the 1940s, the massive investment from the government and industry means that quantum computing has passed the turning point.
Representative technologies: quantum error correction, quantum programming, post-quantum cryptography
Practical applications: MIT quantum superposition research, IBM cloud quantum computing service, quantum communication satellite
Virtual reality and augmented reality (VR and AR) technologies have aroused great enthusiasm in the consumer electronics market, and various technology companies have quickly begun to enter this market. After acquiring Oculus VR in 2014, Facebook will launch their first VR glasses this year. Samsung, Sony, and HTC also plan to launch VR products this year. The influx of capital represents that VR will become a new generation of mainstream entertainment technology. Of course, VR also has applications beyond entertainment. Lowe’s, the second largest home furnishing company in the United States, is developing a 3D augmented reality technology called Holoroom. Lowe’s customers will be able to design a space and then use Holoroom to enter a 3D model to experience how the space they designed feels like.
Although historically, the market has had some over-expansion expectations for VR and AR, today’s ultra-high-definition displays, low-cost posture and position detectors, and high-definition video content have laid a solid foundation for mixed reality technology. In the next 30 years, these technologies will become mainstream technologies. AR glasses will deliver real-time relevant information to users in reality, while VR glasses can achieve a deeply immersive experience by fusing vision, hearing, smell and touch.
Representative technology: consumer-grade hardware, immersive experience, interactive technology
Practical application: Google Cardboard, mixed reality software and hardware market scale forecast, live streaming media live on surgery
In 2015, humans created a total of 4.4ZB (4.4 billion terabytes) of data, and this number will double approximately every two years. All kinds of profound information about consumption habits, public health, global climate change and other economic, social and political aspects are hidden in these data. Unfortunately, although “big data” has become a hot spot, less than 10% of the data is analyzed every year.
In the next 30 years, our ability to handle huge amounts of dynamic data will gradually improve. Automatic artificial intelligence software will be able to identify and extract relevant information from scattered data. And this data analysis ability will spread from commercial applications to ordinary people.
People will gain the ability to use big data in their lives, and through this ability to force the government and various agencies to be responsible for their policies. And this is likely to cause conflicts about data restrictions. Super-personalized marketing, government surveillance of people’s data, and the exposure of major data theft cases will cause discussions on data ownership. Various hostile forces can use stolen, purchased from the dark web, or even open source data to attack each other.
Representative technologies: visualization, automation, natural language processing
Practical applications: deep learning supercomputer, crime prediction, Singapore National Intelligence Platform
In the next 30 years, technology will lead mankind to break through the limits of human potential and even the limits of biology. Wearable devices connected by the Internet of Things will directly infiltrate real-time related information into our senses. The exoskeleton and the artificial limbs connected to the brain will make us stronger and restore mobility for the elderly, the weak, the sick and the disabled.
Contact lenses equipped with detectors and embedded computers or equipment permanently implanted in the body will give us hearing that can penetrate walls, natural night vision, and the ability to embed virtual and augmented reality systems. Nootropics will expand our thinking ability and change the way we work and study.
Of course, human enhancement technology will also bring new challenges. Those who cannot afford the price of “upgrading the body” are likely to find that they are uncompetitive in the enhanced economy. The networking of enhanced technology will make our bodies and even our brains a target for hackers. The reinforcement of soldiers is likely to trigger a new reinforcement technology arms race.
Representative technologies: wearable computing devices, exoskeleton and artificial limbs, drug enhancement
Practical applications: mechanical exoskeleton, biochemical fingers, self-quantification
Network security is not a new topic. In fact, as early as 1991, someone raised the warning of “Pearl Harbor on the Internet”. But in the next 30 years, with the development of logistics networks and more and more connections in daily life, network security will become the primary topic of the network industry.
At present, although there are more and more cyber attacks in the world, most of their targets are only individuals or enterprises. And although the losses caused by these attacks are great, these losses will not spread. The future world will not be so simple.
As cars, home appliances, power plants, street lights, and millions of other things are connected to each other; the consequences of cyber attacks will become more and more serious. The data of countries, companies, and individuals will face increasingly concealed attacks. Some will not be discovered even after a few years. At present, the worst case that people can imagine is the “end of the world on the Internet”-under the increasingly crazier and more frequent attacks, the entire century of the Internet and its economic and social functions collapse.
Representative technologies: user identification technology, self-evolving network, next-generation decryption technology
Practical application: US Cyber Command, Oceans 00001011, Internet privacy and security
Today, about 65% of Americans use social networks, and in 2005, this number was only 7%. Social networks have begun to show the ability to change human behavior. But in the next 30 years, social technology will give people the power to create their own micro-cultural circles.
People will use technology to form social contracts and social structures based on online communities, thereby subverting many traditional power structures. For example, political public opinion, because witnesses can directly expose corruption and oppression on the Internet without filtering through the media, the government will find it increasingly difficult to directly control public opinion or corporate responsibility. Although companies can directly reach consumers through social networks, these consumers can also use social networks to break through the noise of marketing and make companies responsible for their products and actions.
Crowdfunding and live broadcasting will further democratize content creation, thereby blurring the distinction between media players and audiences. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies may strip the control of currency and transactions from the government, and since then be based on social consensus rather than government regulations.
Representative technologies: blockchain technology, applied social sciences, network identity and reputation management
Practical applications: commercial applications of blockchain technology, social media and mental health, advanced digital equipment
Advanced digital equipment
Due to the drastic changes brought to people’s lives by computers and various digital devices in the past 60 years, we seem to have forgotten that these technologies are still relatively new. Personal computers only appeared in stores in 1975, and today’s IKEA personal computers were sold to customers as a set of parts. Users need to assemble it by themselves, and all programs need to be written by themselves. Just 40 years later, the computing power of smart phones in people’s hands has far surpassed NASA when astronauts were sent to the moon in 1969. In the next 30 years, this trend will continue.
People will have more computing power and a wider range of digital resources. Mobile networks and cloud computing will bring almost unlimited memory and computing power to people. Virtual technology and software-based systems will allow governments and enterprises to quickly adjust and upgrade IT systems without the need for expensive hardware upgrades.
From clothes to building materials, digital products will be more widely integrated into daily life. At the same time, new technology will change the way we communicate with technology. The voice interface has been widely used in smart phones, and the gesture interface allows us to communicate with the computer silently. Ultimately, the human brain-computer interface will allow us to control digital devices with our thoughts, making them a part of our body.
Representative technologies: software defines everything, natural user interface, brain-computer interface
Practical applications: chatbots, Neuroverse brainwave monitoring, software-defined networking
In the past 10 years, breakthroughs in materials science have brought us many kinds of advanced materials. From smart materials that can self-recover and clean up, to memory metals that can restore their original shape, to piezoelectric ceramic materials that can use pressure to generate electricity, to nanomaterials with amazing structures and electrical properties, these are the successes of materials scientists. . Especially nanomaterials, it has a wide range of application value.
At the nanometer scale (less than 100 nanometers), ordinary materials such as carbon will exhibit unique properties. Graphene, a two-dimensional crystal composed of carbon atoms with a thickness of only one layer of atoms, is 100 times stronger than steel, can conduct heat and electricity efficiently, and is almost transparent.
Nanomaterials have countless applications, such as low-friction coatings on engines or other mechanical surfaces, as high-strength synthetic materials to build cars and airplanes, lightweight bulletproof vests, and efficient photovoltaic materials.
In addition to industrial applications, pharmaceutical companies are also studying medical nanoparticles as targeted molecules for the treatment of cancer. In the next 30 years, nanomaterials and new materials, such as metal foams and ceramic composites, will be used everywhere from clothes, to building materials, to vehicles, to roads and bridges.
The space industry is entering a stage of development that has not occurred since the 1960s. New technologies such as robots, advanced propulsion systems, lightweight materials, increased manufacturing, and miniaturization of components are reducing the price of sending people and objects into space, which will open up new opportunities for space exploration.
Newcomers in the space industry such as SpaceX, Arianespace, and Blue Origin have brought disruptive innovations such as recoverable rockets.
In the next 30 years, scientific research and development will lead mankind to return to the moon. In addition to this, greater expeditions, such as the landing of humans on Mars, and new space-based industries, such as mining minerals in asteroids, are also possible.
Although exploring and even colonizing space is a long-term dream of modern people, the demand for space facilities is likely to increase conflicts on Earth. As more countries begin to rely on space-based equipment, the control of space may become a brand new flashpoint. Space-based weapons are no longer impossible, and anti-satellites will also become part of future wars.
Before Mendel discovered the basic laws of heredity, and the Avery-McLeod-Mccarty experiment proved that DNA is genetic material, humans have been manipulating plants and animals through selective breeding and hybridization for thousands of years inherited genes.
With the deepening of our understanding of genetics, we have been able to build new DNA to create something out of nothing and create new organisms. Genetically modified crops are the pioneers of this technology. But at the same time, we are standing at the breakthrough of a biological revolution. When we enter the new era of biotechnology, life will become information, which can be rewritten like the code of a computer program.
Scientists are developing seaweed that can secrete biodiesel. Thousands of gigabytes of data are written in the DNA of this seaweed. In the next 30 years, synthetic biotechnology will produce organisms that can detect toxins, produce biodiesel from industrial waste, and provide drugs to human hosts through symbiosis. However, synthetic biology also brings huge dangers such as biological weapons and invasive species that are difficult to control.
Representative technologies: modeling and simulation, standardized DNA, DNA synthesis and sequencing
Practical applications: editing embryonic cells, genetic programming, industrial-grade synthetic biology
Additive manufacturing (3D printing) has been used in the industry for more than 30 years as a technology for manufacturing limited design prototypes. However, in the past ten years, 3D printing technology has achieved amazing development. Today, with the decline in the price of 3D printers and the emergence of a large number of open source tools and paid models, a large group of “makers” has emerged in the world, breaking the limits of this technology all the time.
In 2040, 3D printing technology will change the world. The new generation of 3D printers will be able to integrate a variety of materials, electronic components, batteries and other originals. People will use 3D printing technology to manufacture tools, electronic products, spare parts, medical equipment and other products, and realize true “private customization” according to their personal needs.
The logistics of the army will become simpler, because equipment and supplies can be printed directly locally. Objects will become information, and online piracy will replace actual theft. And terrorists and criminal groups will use difficult-to-track raw materials to print weapons, detectors, and other equipment, causing great hidden dangers to social stability.
Representative technology: speed, size, reliability enhancement, new synthetic materials, bioprinting
Practical application: multi-material 3D printing, 3D printing pedestrian bridge, surgical bio-ink
In the next 30 years, various scientific and technological breakthroughs will change medicine. Through genomics, we will get real private medicine. In the future, cancer, cardiopulmonary disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other diseases that seem to be hopeless at present will be treated by drugs that target the individual’s genes.
Humans will be able to cultivate the organs needed for transplantation through DNA, thereby exterminating potentially fatal situations such as waiting for matching and rejection. Biological prostheses will be directly connected to the nervous system, providing senses that are very similar to real touch.
Robotic emergency personnel and limb survival techniques such as controlled cooling will greatly extend the “prime time” of rescue. Scientists will find the cause of aging, thereby increasing the life span of human beings, and a large group of very healthy and energetic “old people” will emerge.
On the other hand, the price of advanced medical facilities will put greater pressure on the medical systems of various countries. The competition for life-saving resources between the poor and the rich will intensify. Highly drug-resistant super bacteria will also bring great danger to people all over the world. There will also be great unevenness. Moreover, with the increase of human life span, young people and old people are more concerned about work and resources
Representative technologies: customized medicine, regenerative medicine, biomedical engineering
Practical application: drug-resistant bacteria, ElectRx, stem cell therapy
In the next 30 years, global energy demand is expected to increase by 35%, and we are facing an energy revolution. New oil production technologies, such as hydraulic fracturing and directional drilling, have added a large number of exploitable oil and gas fields to mankind. This has directly subverted the world oil market, turning the United States from the world’s largest oil importer into the largest oil producer.
At the same time, the prices of renewable energy, such as solar and wind energy have begun to approach that of oil. Take solar energy as an example. In the past 10 years, the price of solar power has dropped from US$8 per watt to one-tenth of this figure. In addition to this, there is nuclear energy, a controversial but never stopped development of energy. The new generation of nuclear reactor designs claims to be far safer than the previous ones, and will produce less nuclear waste.
However, although the use of clean energy can help us slow down global climate change, new disputes and frictions surrounding the scarce resources used to produce batteries, photovoltaics, and other components will also arise. The decline of the oil economy will also cause serious economic and social instability in the Middle East and North Africa, further deepening local armed conflicts.
Representative technologies: high-efficiency solar energy, battery technology, energy harvesting
Practical application: increasing proportion of new energy, high-efficiency hydrogen fuel cell, falling crude oil price
In the next 30 years, several new weapon technologies will appear on the battlefield. In addition to non-lethal weapons and energy weapons currently under development, several countries are also developing anti-access and area denial weapons (A2AD) that can block military operations. A2AD technology includes anti-ship ballistic missiles; precision guided anti-vehicle anti-personnel weapons, anti-rockets, artillery and mortar systems (CRAM), anti-satellite weapons, and electromagnetic pulse weapons (EMP).
Some technologies, such as precision guided weapons, are breakthroughs based on existing technologies. China is developing advanced anti-ship ballistic missiles that can destroy aircraft carriers. Some technologies are brand-new ideas, such as the EXACTO self-guided bullet developed by the US Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Department (DARPA) in 2015. As China, Russia, the United States and other countries spend huge sums of money to modernize their military, a new generation of high-tech arms competition is being revealed.
Food and Freshwater Technology
In the next 30 years, the lack of fresh water and food will create more conflicts in the world. Approximately 25% of the world’s agricultural land has been severely degraded due to excessive farming, drought, pollution and other reasons.
In the next few decades, the most optimistic forecasts also point out that the price of staple food grains will increase by 30%. But that is the most optimistic situation. If global climate change, demand, and the failure of resource management continue according to current trends, a 100% price increase is also possible.
In 2045, more than 40% of the world’s population will face the problem of lack of water sources. The only way to solve all these problems is technology.
Technologies such as seawater desalination, micro-irrigation, sewage recycling, and rainwater harvesting will alleviate human demand for fresh water sources. Genetically modified crops and automation will allow farmers to use less land to produce more food. Food and fresh water will become new technological hotspots, as well as new conflicts.
Representative technologies: agricultural technology, water recycling and recovery, alternative food sources
Practical applications: agricultural drones, water extraction from fog, vertical agriculture
Fight against global climate change
According to current data, in 2050, the temperature of the earth’s surface will increase by 1.4 to 3 degrees Celsius. Even if we take some extreme measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the inertia of the climate will cause the temperature to rise. The increase in surface temperature will bring about a series of negative consequences, such as the dangers caused by the increase in sea level to coastal cities, the famine caused by the decline in crop production, the lack of drinking water for millions of people, and the floods caused by drought. Billions of losses caused.
In the next 30 years, these crises will lead all parties to invest in technology that can mitigate the effects of climate change. In the near future, these technologies will include systems that are at risk of flooding on the map, as well as genetically modified crops that can withstand drought. In the longer term, there may be more ambitious technologies, such as technologies that can extract greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane from the atmosphere and store them safely underground.
However, if the trend of climate change is to increase by 3 degrees, the worst-case scenario, its huge impact on the earth’s climate will be difficult to mitigate. In this case, extreme geo-engineering methods are likely to be the only way to avoid extreme weather. Scientists have proposed to spread sulfur or alumina in the atmosphere to reduce the sunlight reaching the earth’s surface. However, these methods are still in the theoretical stage and the risks are very high.