What awaits us (our children and grandchildren) in 2095? What if, in addition to universal equality, we are also faced with universal poverty or worse? Of course, one should never discount the urge of humanity to completely self-destruct, but we nevertheless decided to consider less apocalyptic predictions on several vital points.
The danger of depleting fossil resources concerns most of them (in particular, there are certain concerns about gold), but, of course, all are most interested in oil. There are several problems in forecasting in this area at once: firstly, it is not very clear how much the structure of consumption of oil and oil products will change (will we switch to renewable energy sources, will we partially abandon plastics); secondly, the forecast can be made only for explored deposits; thirdly, these forecasts do not always take into account economic factors associated with production costs; fourth, it is not always clear how exactly to take into account changes in the number of the world’s population. However, not even the most pessimistic forecasts suggest that the currently known oil reserves will be fully developed within the next hundred years – if the level of production remains approximately the same. Venezuela, Canada, and Saudi Arabia were the most fortunate – there is the most oil left there.
Life expectancy is perhaps the most understandable marker of quality of life, yet reports of rising prosperity in developed nations rarely pay attention to how much these changes affect society. By the middle of the century, most of the population of Japan and Korea will be over 50; at about the same time, in developed countries, the number of men and women over 65 will exceed the number of adolescents and children under 15. All this leads to tectonic shifts in pop culture and politics, to an increase in the retirement age and the very approach to calculating pensions, as well as to a much higher burden on healthcare.
The ethnic composition
It is no secret that the share of developed countries in the world’s population has been decreasing for a long time and steadily – it is more interesting to know that this role awaits Asia in the future (despite the fact that population growth in India will eventually lead to the fact that the South Asian country will soon become the first this indicator in the world). Huge population growth in Africa will be provided by several countries, first of all – the main country of East Africa Kenya, and the main state of West Africa, Nigeria. It will take Nigeria several decades to overtake the United States in terms of population, and the total share of African countries in the structure of the world population will grow from the current 15% to at least 25% (or rather, to 30-35%).
There is no doubt that global warming caused by anthropogenic factors is a reality, in a wide circle of climatologists and geographers there is no doubt – only talk show hosts on various TV channels who receive money for voicing conspiracy theories can seriously doubt this. The real scientific question on the agenda is: How much will the average atmospheric temperature rise over the coming decades? There are a great many forecast charts, and the most optimistic of them suggests an increase of one degree Celsius, while the most pessimistic ones point to five degrees Celsius – which will lead to catastrophic climate changes across the planet. Be that as it may, Venice, Amsterdam, San Francisco, St. Petersburg, Mumbai, and Tokyo should be seriously worried – just like the entire population of the Maldives and Bangladesh.
In order not to focus on apocalyptic predictions, let’s talk about progress: around 2010, with the widespread use of tablets, explosive growth in the number of devices adapted to access the global network began – now these are not only desktop computers, laptops, and phones, but also devices in cars, and wearable devices, and household appliances. It is predicted that by 2025 the total number of such devices will reach 50 billion and after this figure, the growth will become exponential – while no one has dared to predict the position of the market saturation point. It all sounds like a William Gibson dream come to life – or a Terminator fan’s scary nightmare. Of course, we are still far from Skynet and the Matrix, but important steps towards complete cyborgization and total informational connectivity of humanity have already been taken.