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Innovations 2050


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Technologies that may be available until 2050 (success not guaranteed...)

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Innovations 2050

  1. 1. Disruptive Innovations 2020 - 2050 Society, Politics and Law Health, Medicine and Biotechnology Environment and Energy Defense, Security and Threats AI and ICT Building , Construction and Production
  2. 2. Society, Politics and Law Paradise or Apocalypse? – will technology save or destroy us? Today a considerable share of people is skeptical about new technologies. As technological development accelerates, in how far can people still choose to opt out without being disadvantaged? Will rapid technological development solve our problems or lead to our destruction? Picture: 2020s Will technological advances solve our challenges or lead to greater inequality, new conflict lines or even our destruction? In how far can new powerful technologies and their creators be comprehended and controlled? 2030s 2040s 2050s By “MJSL-2050” We may be able to solve global challenges, or create a situation where some may have cybernetic enhancements while others struggle for clean water and enough food. Who will have access to clean water and food, not to mention advanced medicine, life extension and cybernetic enhancements?
  3. 3. Health, Medicine and Biotechnology Regenerative Medicine – customized organs from the lab Injured organs and body parts can be replaced by new ones that are grown from the patient’s own cells, avoiding the medical and social problems of organ donation. Some animals can also regenerate lost body parts and are subject to related research. Picture: HIA/Wikipedia 2020s A variety of cell types has already been successfully created in the lab, including heart, nerve and liver cells. 3D printing technology already allows for printing living cells in 3-dimensional structures, eventually allowing for the creation of whole new recipientidentical organs for transplant. 2030s 2040s 2050s By “MJSL-2050” Today regenerative medicine is still in its infancy and most people need to rely on organ transplants. With regenerative medicine it would be possible to create new cells and organs by utilizing iPS cells, i.e. reprogrammed adult stem cells from the patient, or to cause the body to heal itself.
  4. 4. Space and Deep Sea Mars Colony – a one-way ticket to Mars in 2023 The non-profit organization “Mars One” has set the ambitious goal to establish a permanent human colony on Mars by 2023. Although conceptualized as a one-way mission, over 202 586 people have already signed up as voluntary candidates. Picture: Mars One 2020s Mars One envisions the first Mars settlers to arrive on the red planet by 2023 after the set-up of basic equipment on Mars. Successive missions will follow. The company Space X is likely to deliver equipment and launching technology. The costs for a one-way trip is estimated at 6 billion USD. Critics question the ambitious time schedule and safety precautions. 2030s 2040s 2050s By “MJSL-2050” Today the technology needed for a one-way trip to Mars already exists or is in the test phase, e.g. at companies like Space X. Also keep in mind that back in 1969 the first humans landed on the moon without modern technology.
  5. 5. AI and ICT Cybernetic Augmentation – technology becoming a part of us Cybernetic augmentation and eventually the merger to become real cyborgs could be a consequence of current developments. Picture: ExtremeTech 2020s Individuals are already experimentig with implants that give them new abilities like sensing magnetic fields. Advances in brain-computer interfacing and prosthetics may also open up new avenues. 2030s 2040s 2050s By “MJSL-2050” Technology can give us new capabilities and is getting increasingly closer to our bodies and integrated into our lives. Today many people live in symbiosis with (information) technology. Our technology is providing us with new possibilities and is getting increasingly closer to our bodies. Wearable computers are already entering the mainstream and in the future they may even become a real part of us through implants that monitor body functions, enhance our vision and memory or add new abilities.
  6. 6. Defense, Security and Threats Cyborg Soldiers – enhanced and Invincible Today DARPA is already working on a variety of projects for augmenting soldiers. R&D includes brain-machine interfacing, strength enhancing exoskeletons, performance enhancing drugs as well as neurotechnology, cybernetics and military robots. They will be superior in strength, endurance and capabilities, their senses and reflexes will be augmented by cybernetic implants. Also looking at other advances in biotechnology, genetics and cybernetics, super soldiers do not sound that unrealistic. Picture: DARPA 2020s 2030s 2040s 2050s By “MJSL-2050” Future soldiers will be technologically enhanced to give them real super-human capabilities and survivability in combat. According to news sources, back in 2003 DARPA had a program titled “Harvesting Biology for Defense Technology: Enhancing Human Performance.”.
  7. 7. Defense, Security and Threats Genetically Targeted Bio-weapons – personalized viruses Just reverse the idea of personalized medicine and you will have personalized weapons that only affect individuals or ethnic groups with specific DNA properties. Cheap, fast genetic sequencing, DNA databases and rogue biotech can be enablers. Picture: Alphacoders Wallpapers 2020s By reversing the idea of personalized medicine (and owing to the fact that some people are genetically resistant to viruses like HIV), the creation of specific bioweapons that only target individuals with specific genetic characteristics is not too far fetched. 2030s 2040s 2050s By “MJSL-2050” Today personalized medicine – which means to tailor a therapy to the individual characteristics of a patient – is still in its infancy but getting R&D support and funding. At the same time genetic sequencing is getting cheaper and faster, DNA databases are publicly accessible and (synthetic) biology is advancing rapidly.
  8. 8. Health, Medicine and Biotechnology Nano-machines – repairing damage within the body Today simple versions of artificial nanomachines with crude molecular gears do exist. Currently nanoparticles are used for targeted drug delivery, cancer treatment and therapeutic imaging. Simple versions of molecular machines do already exist in laboratories. Picture: Foresight Institute 2020s Nanomachines would fulfill a combination of regenerative medicine and diagnostics by detecting and repairing damaged cells and DNA. 2030s 2040s 2050s By “MJSL-2050” In the future, really tiny nanomachines will reside in our bodies and run diagnostics, deliver medications, enhance biological functions and repair injuries, cells and DNA. In principle, proteins and viruses are natural nano-machines and the merging of biotechnology and nanotechnology as well as synthetic biology are likely to bring about further advances for creating artificial nanomachines.
  9. 9. Environment and Energy Artificial Trees – more efficient than their natural equivalents Plants are remarkable at photosynthesis , but technology could yield even better sunlight utilization and higher efficiency. Artificial trees that combine artificial photosynthesis and CO2 absorption will solve two major challenges in an optimal way. Picture: Treehugger 2020s R&D is conducted to mimic both aspects of photosynthesis – direct fuel production with sunlight and CO2 reduction – artificially. Both technologies are already working, but still with relatively low efficiency and high costs. When the technology is mature, artificial trees would have even higher sunlight utilization and absorb more CO2 than their natural counterparts. 2030s 2040s 2050s By “MJSL-2050” Today renewable energy and CO2 reduction are seen as solutions to global challenges. Trees have the remarkable capability to obtain their energy from sunlight, CO2 and water via complex chemical reactions, bearing the solution.
  10. 10. Space and Deep Sea Hibernating During Space Flights – benefits of hypothermia It takes 6 to 9 months to get to Mars. Such long journeys would pose a lot of health hazards, stress and need for equipment. NASA thinks that hypothermia-induced hibernation could minimize the risks and medicine could also benefit from the R&D. Picture: Digital Authors Wallpaper 2020s Therapeutic hypothermia, i.e. lowering the body’s core temperature and slowing metabolism, has proven beneficial in medical treatment. Researchers are also exploring biostasis to bridge the time until a certain medical treatment becomes available. Further R&D could be valuable for space flight and medicine. 2030s 2040s 2050s By “MJSL-2050” Today astronauts are exposed to considerable health risks like radiation, bone loss and muscle atrophy. A 6 to 9 month space flight would increase the risks. If astronauts would hibernate during the trip, they would need far less food and room and can be better protected.
  11. 11. Society, Politics and Law Rights for Cyborgs, Robots /AI – rethinking laws for the future As the number humans with cybernetic components increases and robots and AI are becoming more intelligent, questions about their legal status will arise. Will cyborgs be treated like humans with full human rights? And if so, what about robots? Picture: Stock Exchange 2020s What defines human beings and will be the basis for human rights? Will advanced cyborgs be granted the same human rights although they are part machine? Will intelligent robots/AI also be granted some rights as it is already the case with animals? Who will be held legally responsible in humantechnical hybrid systems? 2030s 2040s 2050s By “MJSL-2050” Today technological implants like pacemakers, defibrillators and cochlear implants are already quite common. Advances in prosthetics and medical technology will increase the numbers. Real cyborgs will emerge who will use such technologies in non-medical contexts.
  12. 12. Health, Medicine and Biotechnology Human Life Extension – do you want to live forever? Today in face of the ageing population, healthy ageing and preventative medicine are already on the political agenda. Biotech, neurotech and medical R&D are funded by governments around the world to find cures for e.g. cancer, disabilities, cardiovascular and age-related diseases. Recently google also announced its support for funding life extension research. Picture: Maria Konovalenko 2020s Some researchers go even further and want to understand the ageing process in order to counter it. Google, the Russian government and tech-savvy billionaires as well as advocates around the world are supporting R&D for life extension and even immortality. 2030s 2040s 2050s By “MJSL-2050” With further advances in medicine, biotechnology and nanotechnology, humans will improve their health, live longer and eventually conquer disease and even death.
  13. 13. Environment and Energy Space-based Solar Energy – more than enough 24/7/365 Today solar energy is already a widespread solution for humanity’s growing energy need in face of sustainability challenges and dwindling resources. But night time and bad weather are negatively affecting solar technology. This ambitious vision has already been considered by NASA, ESA, Space X, Shimizu corporation and other entities. But problems remain: maintenance, protection, high costs and the power transmission should not interfere with other systems. Picture: NASA/Lifeboat Foundation 2020s 2030s 2040s 2050s By “MJSL-2050” We will be able to harness solar energy with higher intensity, efficiency − 24/7/365 from outer space, beamed down to earth. Solar energy collection in outer space with no interferences and availability 24/7/365 can be the solution. To avoid cables the energy could be transmitted to earth wirelessly via microwaves or Laser.
  14. 14. AI and ICT Mind Uploading – your mind on a computer chip Brain computer interfacing, neuro- and computer science and R&D like the “Human Brain Project” will eventually let you copy your mind from your brain to a computer. A Russian billionaire aims to achieve this by 2045 and seeks support from world leaders. Picture: Foresight Institute 2020s The most ambitious one is the “2045 Human Avatar” funded by the Russian millionaire Dmitry Itskov who calls for support from world leaders. The aim: transfer of an individual’s personality to an advanced non-biological carrier to achieve (digital) immortality. 2030s 2040s 2050s By “MJSL-2050” Today it is already possible to establish a communication link between a brain and a computer. Other research projects aim to simulate the human brain with supercomputers, e.g. the 1 billion Euro FET-Flagship “Human Brain Project” funded by the European Commission or privately funded R&D like “Carbon Copies”.
  15. 15. AI and ICT Artificial General Intelligence – far superior to human minds Worldwide, researchers are working interdisciplinary to achieve human-level AI. Picture: Massimo Barbato 2020s The ambition is to create computers that have greater cognitive abilities than humans plus the advantages computers already have today. The point this happens is called “technological singularity”. 2030s 2040s 2050s By “MJSL-2050” Further progress in computer technology, data analysis software, robotics, neuro- and cognitive science and AI will eventually lead to AI that is superior to human beings. Today computers do still fall into the category of weak AI, despite the fact that they can do some things like calculations far better than humans. However, things are changing: The CAPTCHAS are getting increasingly difficult for humans to solve because computers are getting much better in pattern recognition. Recently the “Watson” super computer won at the Jeopardy quiz against humans.
  16. 16. Building , Construction and Production Molecular nanotechnology - bottom-up production Today rapid prototyping is getting increasingly popular. The applications range from “printing houses” to printing live cells for tissue engineering. Self assembling micro-structures and artificial molecular gears already exist. Picture: Zyvex 2020s Biology is providing us the proof of concept. So the first artificial products of molecular nanotechnology may be of bio-material. 2030s 2040s 2050s By “MJSL-2050” In the future we will manufacture products in a generative manner bottom-up on the molecular level in the same way biological organisms are built. Biotechnology, synthetic biology, nanotechnology, DNA programming for controlled shape selfassembly and advanced chemistry will bring about possibilities to go even further and manufacture a wide range of products bottom-up on a molecular level.
  17. 17. Building , Construction and Production Super Skyscrapers – accommodating 1 million people As the world population will reach 8.4 billion in 2030 and 9.6 billion in 2050, we need to provide adequate housing. Mega skyscrapers like the ones proposed by Shimizu Corporation would be 2 km high and accommodate up to 1 million people. Picture: Shimizu via Wikipedia 2020s The Japanese Shimizu corporation has proposed the design of a mega pyramid 14 times higher than the Great Pyramid at Giza, accommodating up to 1 million people . The construction would require totally new materials not yet available. Construction would not start before 2030 and could take 70 years to complete with conventional technology . But maybe we are all digital uploads by then. 2030s 2040s 2050s By “MJSL-2050” Today there are 7 billion people on earth and 1.6 billion are without adequate housing. As the population will grow to 9.6 billion in 2050 and space may become scarce we need to think of new ways.