Mars is lovely at this time of year: futurists imagine life in 2050

Summary for

  1. By 2050 I suspect we’ll be able to grow many of the vital organs of the body and, rather than allow the organs we’re born with to become old and decrepit, we’ll replace them.
  2. We can already use human cells to grow skin, cartilage, noses, ears, heart valves, bladders… In the future? We’ll grow the liver, the kidney, perhaps the pancreas.
  3. We’re gradually discovering the genes that control the ageing process, and we’ll soon understand how to repair the biological damage inflicted on our bodies over the course of our lives.
  4. The future value of space assets won’t be measured by the amount of hardware that’s orbiting the Earth, but by the amount of commerce that hardware enables.
  5. It’s that work will change so drastically that we’ll need to give what we do an entirely different name.
  6. We’ll catch tumours years or even decades before they form, when they’re just small colonies of several hundred cells circulating in the blood.
  7. By 2050 we’ll be able to send memories, emotions and feelings across the internet.
  8. I don’t think we’ll be immortal by 2050, but we’ll be setting the foundations for immortality.
  9. He has a knack for studying today’s trends in order to hypothesise what might come tomorrow – how we’ll live, where we’ll live, whether or not an almighty AI might soon rule over us.
  10. There will be a class of people able to enhance not only their education, as people have been able to do for decades – you go to a private school, you get a better education – but their own bodies, through other kinds of augmentation.
  11. There’s a lovely phrase, attributed to the futurist Roy Amara, that goes like this: “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.” With this in mind, let’s consider work.
  12. Elon Musk famously said: “How do you build a small fortune in space? Start with a big fortune.” But if we were to manage it, we’d have access to what are essentially unlimited resources.
  13. We’ll grow organs to replace those that wear out.
  14. We’ll still communicate the old-fashioned way, but communicating telepathically will reduce the obstacles between people.
  15. But by 2050 we’ll begin to see paradigmatic changes.

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