And you … Do you dare to predict what will happen in 2091?

An interesting article (in spanish) about how great minds of the time thought things will be in 2011 80 years ago finishes with an open question which is the title of this post: And you … Do you dare to predict what will happen in 2091?

I can’t resist to try, and here is why. The future is a sea of posibilities, and our mind is developed precisely to predict it. We are machines that are always classifying, archiving information and making relations between the data. Using this knowledge we can find out things about the world. Childs are bad understanding the speed of moving things, and that’s one of the reasons you should be careful letting a child cross the street. The other of course is that childs don’t understand that they need to focus on the important task of crossing the street, and even if they do, they don’t know what data should they be looking for and how to mine that data. With time and experience, we grow, and we can predict this kind of events much better and it also stops being something important.

Such a thing happens all the time. We learn something, and it becomes trivial, and suddently it’s boring stuff. But it’s much more difficult to learn anything if you didn’t experience it. That’s why learning history is so important. And even if you know history, you’ll probably not internalize it. Errors of the past will come over and over again by new people. And trial and error is often a very convenient and powerful way of learning with computers that everyone uses, but it’s not much so covenient in other matters.

Bottom line is, it’s very interesting to see how the predictions of these prominent people of the past failed. Sometimes reality surpassed their predictions, some others it came short. For example, Doctor Mayopredicted correctly that most infectius ailments would be minimized and controlled and most deaths would be due to heart issues, cancer, etc. He predicted 70 years of life expectancy in USA, and it’s now 77. However, these greats minds of the past predicted poverty will have ended, and that we would have an equitative wealth distribution, and it’s clear that it’s not the case.

When doing a prediction for the distant future, it’s difficult not fall into wishful thinking. Things changes faster than ever, and currently technology is indistinguishable from magic. Because of that, and that my field of expertise is that one related to Computers, that’s where I will make (most) predictions for: I have a better insight on it. However that will be more difficult for me, because as you know 80 in computers might be comparable to 5 centuries in other fields.

My predictions for 2091:

Privacy will be at the same time a very important legislated issue, and futile. Governments and private companies will have found unimaginable ways of cooperating for invading citiziens’ privacy, and still most people will think/find that it is for the good of them and cooperate with this task every single day at all hours. There will be some countries like Iceland that will have put a limit to this, but people will still be so dependent on technology that it won’t matter that much.

Most people won’t call themselves cyborgs, but they will be: they’ll have some kind of alien tecnology in their bodies to gather information and communicate, or perhaps they might wear fancy stylish hats that read their minds. Silent people walking on the street will be able to talk with each other using this technology.

Computers will have changed a lot, but then again not that much. We will still be using very similar devices as some that we use today: screens and keyboards – or at least computer programers will. Non-trivial software will still be created in a written computer language. Of course, trivial will have a different meaning in the future.

Cars will still be a very important means of transport. But they will be electric cars, in most cases public taxis in big important cities, and no person will drive them, they will drive themselves and thus roads will be much more secure than today.

Genetic advances will still be happening and feel like the field has just started to emerge. It will be like it was computer intelligence for us: it will feel like it never quite started, but it did indeed. We the people born before year ~2030 will be old and very ugy in the eyes of the new youth generation that will all be tall, in good health, beautiful and have perfect bodies. Life expectancy will have reached 100 years, so I might still be alive but I’ll probably have forgotten this post.

11 Responses to “And you … Do you dare to predict what will happen in 2091?”


  1. 1 jacobian diciembre 18, 2010 a las 6:36 pm

    nice predictions.let’s just hope that world war 3 never happened at that time.🙂

  2. 2 Fri13 diciembre 19, 2010 a las 11:38 am

    I would predict something mixed from movies “Judge Dredd”, “The Running Man” and “The Fifth Element”.

    The world where few big international corporations rules the world, all people are gathered to big cities and crime rate is high. There is no good privacy for citizens. Entertainment and ads are everywhere. Small group of rich people (like today) and lots of poor people (>90%).

    No, not flying cars (who knows!) and other really fancy things.

    Or who knows if the world is more like a “The Postman” or “The Waterworld” kinda… In the end, the international corporations and media are the ones what will brake the whole world. Small family companies (like 5-10 workers) is the only good way to actually go. Spread people to countries and not gather them to one small places (cities).

  3. 3 g diciembre 19, 2010 a las 7:09 pm

    I have the same vision like you (the writer of this blog). But I am afraid that the movie “Minority Report” will also be true. Of course there won’t be the three “precogs” connected to the machine who “see” the crimes before they happen, but the machines themselves will be smart enough to predict crimes. Social networks like Facebook and Google (gmail, …) and fidelity cards from shops and supermarkets will acquire knowledge about everything we do, write, think, buy, … and all this information will be shared between these companies and the government so that they will perfectly know our profile (even better than we know ourselves) and if one day our habits match those of a criminal too closely, we will be removed from society before we can do any harm. And the criminals will be jailed on the moon or Mars and be forced to extract the natural resources from these celestial bodies because they will have dried up on Earth.

    This will happen if we (the people) do not in the meantime organize the world revolution against the dictatorship of the financial markets and the multinationals (who are now letting us pay for their mistakes caused by their greed).

  4. 4 g diciembre 19, 2010 a las 7:38 pm

    Forgot to say: nowadays it is popular to criticize how little democratic the USA sometimes is, but when China will be the superpower, it will be way worse. So I still prefer to live in the Western world.

  5. 5 arnomane diciembre 19, 2010 a las 9:36 pm

    I don’t share your dystopia of “Governments and private companies will have found unimaginable ways of cooperating for invading citiziens’ privacy […]” and other variants of 1984 dystopias. Why?

    a) The biggest thread on privacy today (not in the past!) are not governments but private companies (as these are more or less out of direct democratic control).
    b) At best such a dystopic view creates anger. But in general it just will result in depression and resignation instead of action.

    Democracies and thus their elected local (town), regional (country), national (nation) and transnational (up to now just the European Union) governments are designed to be influenced in every decission by their citizens in contrast to (international) corporations. In (non-ideal) democracies as we live in, we all know that in practice this influence can be quite limited. But the right is on your side.

    So it is up to YOU and everyone of US to empower oneself and build a better government. Democracy is Do-It-Yourself. This is time-consuming and you will have to fight against restistance, but that is the fair price of freedom.

    Now to your second part, which is a Brave New World dystopia: “[…] and still most people will think/find that it is for the good of them and cooperate with this task every single day at all hours”.

    Everyones laziness is the real threat. This is the dangerous triviality. I really would hope if people stop looking out for the latest and greatest conspiracy (like EVIL GOVERNMENT IS WATCHING YOU) and actually start doing something against the own laziness.

    Immanuel Kant said:

    “Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity.”

    This was true 1784, is true today and will still be true in 100 years.

    You technological predictions also are quite unlikely. Sure technology has advanced in the past and it will do so in future, but our future will not give us the time to play around a lot with cyborg stuff. Furthermore true artificial intelligence escapes more and more into distant future with every new discovery in brain sciences.

    Our direct future has three challenges:
    * Save and extend humanity
    * Respect the limits of our planet and change our life style according to it.
    * And thus: Save human civilisation from vanishing.

    How 2091 will be like solely depends from our answers actions to these very non-virtual down-to-earth challenges.

  6. 6 Eduardo Robles Elvira diciembre 20, 2010 a las 2:12 am

    Hi Arnomane:

    > I don’t share your dystopia of “Governments and private companies will have found unimaginable ways of cooperating for invading citiziens’ privacy […]” and other variants of 1984 dystopias. Why?
    >
    > a) The biggest thread on privacy today (not in the past!) are not governments but private companies (as these are more or less out of direct democratic control).
    > b) At best such a dystopic view creates anger. But in general it just will result in depression and resignation instead of action.
    >
    > Democracies and thus their elected local (town), regional (country), national (nation) and transnational (up to now just the European Union) governments are designed to be influenced in every decission by their citizens in contrast to (international) corporations. In (non-ideal) democracies as we live in, we all know that in practice this influence can be quite limited. But the right is on your side.
    >
    > So it is up to YOU and everyone of US to empower oneself and build a better government. Democracy is Do-It-Yourself. This is time-consuming and you will have to fight against restistance, but that is the fair price of freedom.
    >
    > Now to your second part, which is a Brave New World dystopia: “[…] and still most people will think/find that it is for the good of them and cooperate with this task every single day at all hours”.
    >
    > Everyones laziness is the real threat. This is the dangerous triviality. I really would hope if people stop looking out for the latest and greatest conspiracy (like EVIL GOVERNMENT IS WATCHING YOU) and actually start doing something against the own laziness.

    I think we agree. When I say “governments and private companies alike”, I know governments will lag behind private initiative in the “erode privacy” field. I don’t think George Orwell was right in his vision, but Huxley was. And what I talk is not just a distant dystopian world: current world is pretty much dystopian in the privacy sense if you think about it: we wear voice recorder and geolocalization tracking devices with us all day and night (mobile phones), for example. The Stasi had one spy per 66 citizens of East Germany according to Wikipedia. We probably have a similar ratio of twitter accounts today in the developed world.

    And I know very well that laziness is a threat, that’s why I say people will be happy to give away privacy. That much is already happening anyway. I don’t think government is reading my boring email. They are not. They are data mining however everyones data, as much as private companies are doing it. And if they aren’t, they will in the future. Both of them, governments and companies. There’s no clear separation between public and private when talking about our governors.

    > Immanuel Kant said:
    >
    > “Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity.”
    >
    > This was true 1784, is true today and will still be true in 100 years.
    >
    > You technological predictions also are quite unlikely. Sure technology has advanced in the past and it will do so in future, but our future will not give us the time to play around a lot with cyborg stuff. Furthermore true artificial intelligence escapes more and more into distant future with every new discovery in brain sciences.

    Cyborgs? There are lots of them among us already, and especially among the elderly: many of them already have pacemakers. As I say, they don’t call themselves cyborgs, but they certainly are.

    > Our direct future has three challenges:
    > * Save and extend humanity
    > * Respect the limits of our planet and change our life style according to it.
    > * And thus: Save human civilisation from vanishing.
    >
    > How 2091 will be like solely depends from our answers actions to these very non-virtual down-to-earth challenges.

    • 7 arnomane diciembre 22, 2010 a las 12:32 pm

      I totally agree with you, that Huxley did a much better prediction with Brave New World than Orwell did with 1984. However Orwell is more “interesting” to most of us, because people can “nicely” integrate their personal private conspiration theories into a 1984 dystopia. I am highly sceptical of any kind of conspiration theory. Most evil things are causeed by trivial banalities. No conspiration needed.

      For instance Hungary yesterday has approved a law in parliament, that massively restricts the rights of the media. But still it is not the almighty evil government that is to blame in the first place: It is the vast majority of people in Hungary themselves, that elected the Fidez party (and even more totalitarian parties). And everyone knew what this party wanted.

  7. 8 frapell diciembre 20, 2010 a las 4:47 pm

    Hi, nice article, can you provide a link with the predictions done 80 years ago for 2011 ?


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