future timeline technology singularity humanity
 
   
future timeline twitter future timeline facebook group future timeline youtube channel account videos future timeline rss feed
 

21st century

22nd century

The Far Future

Beyond

 

2000s | 2010s | 2020s | 2030s | 2040s | 2050s | 2060s | 2070s | 2080s | 2090s

2030 | 2031 | 2032 | 2033 | 2034 | 2035 | 2036 | 2037 | 2038 | 2039

2030 timeline contents

 

 
   
 
     
   
     
 
       
   
 
     
 

2030

Global population is reaching crisis point

Rapid population growth and industrial expansion is having a major impact on food, water and energy supplies. During the early 2000s, there were six billion people on Earth. By 2030, there are an additional two billion, most of them from poor countries. Humanity's footprint is such that it now requires the equivalent of two whole Earths to sustain itself in the long term. Farmland, fresh water and natural resources are becoming scarcer by the day.*

 

2030 earth population globe global crisis

 

The extra one-third of human beings on the planet means that energy requirements have soared, at a time when crude oil supplies are in terminal decline. A series of conflicts has been unfolding in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, at times threatening to spill over into Europe. With America involved too, the world is teetering on the brink of a major global war.

There is the added issue of climate change, with CO2 levels reaching almost 450 parts per million. As a result, natural feedbacks are kicking in on a global scale. This is most apparent in the Arctic, where melting permafrost is now venting almost one gigatonne of carbon annually.** There are signs that a tipping point has been reached, which is manifesting itself in the form of runaway environmental degradation. Nature's ecosystems are changing at a speed and scale rarely witnessed in Earth's history. This is also adding to food shortages, crop yields falling by up to one third in some regions* and prices of some crops more than doubling,* with devastating impacts on the world's poor.

The urban population, which stood at 3.5 billion in 2010, has now surged to almost 5 billion. Resource scarcity, economic and political factors, energy costs and mounting environmental issues are forcing people into ever more crowded and high-density areas. Many cities are merging to form vast sprawling metropolises with hundreds of millions of people. In some nations, those living in urban areas make up over 90% of the population.*

By 2030, urban areas occupy an additional 463,000 sq mi (741,000 sq km) globally, relative to 2012. This is equivalent to more than 20,000 new football fields being added to the global urban area every day for the first three decades of the 21st century. Almost $30 trillion has been spent during the last two decades on transportation, utilities and other infrastructure. Some of the most substantial growth has been in China which boasts an urban population approaching one billion and has spent $100 billion annually just on its own projects. Much of the Chinese coastline has been transformed into what is essentially a giant urban corridor. Turkey is another region that has witnessed phenomenal urban development.

 

2030 urban population
Global forecasts of urban expansion to 2030. Credit: Boston University's Department of Geography and Environment

 

All of this expansion is having a major impact on the surrounding environment. In addition to cities, new networks of road, rail and utilities have been built, crisscrossing the landscape and cutting through major wildlife zones.* What were previously protected areas are now opening up for resource exploitation and food production. Numerous species are reclassified as endangered during this period as a result of human encroachment, pollution and habitat destruction.

The accelerating magnitude of these and other problems is leading to a rapid migration from traditional fossil fuels to renewable energy. Advances in nanotechnology have resulted in greatly improved solar power. In some countries, such as Japan, photovoltaic materials are being added to almost every new building.* Energy supplies in general are becoming more localised and efficient. This transition is putting increasing strain on fossil fuel companies, since the proven reserves of oil, coal and natural gas far exceed the decided "safe" limit for what can be burned. Because most reserves had already been factored into the market value of these organisations, they now face the prospect of huge financial loss. In response, many companies are fighting tooth and nail against further regulation.*

Another issue which governments have to contend with during this time is the aging population, which has seen a doubling of retired persons since the year 2000. People are living longer, healthier lives. With state pension budgets under increasing strain, the overall effect is a decreased income for senior citizens. Retirement ages are increasing: in America, Asia and most European countries, many employees are forced to work into their 70s. Stress levels for the average person have continued to increase, as the world adapts to these various crises.

 

 

Desalination has exploded in use

A combination of increasingly severe droughts, aging infrastructure and the depletion of underground aquifers is now endangering millions of people around the world. The on-going population growth described earlier is only exacerbating this, with global freshwater supplies continually stretched to their limits. This is forcing a rapid expansion of desalination technology.

The idea of removing salt from saline water had been described as early as 320 BC.* In the late 1700s it was used by the U.S. Navy, with solar stills built into shipboard stoves. It was not until the 20th century, however, that industrial-scale desalination began to emerge, with multi-flash distillation and reverse osmosis membranes. Waste heat from fossil fuel or nuclear power plants could be used, but even then, these processes remained prohibitively expensive, inefficient and highly energy-intensive.

 

2030 desalination future trend

 

By the early 21st century, the world's demand for resources was growing exponentially. The UN estimated that humanity would require over 30 percent more water between 2012 and 2030.* Historical improvements in freshwater production efficiency were no longer able to keep pace with a ballooning population,* made worse by the effects of climate change.

New methods of desalination were seen as a possible solution to this crisis and a number of breakthroughs emerged during the 2000s and 2010s. One such technique – of particular benefit to arid regions – was the use of concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) cells to create hybrid electricity/water production. In the past, these systems had been hampered by excessive temperatures which made the cells inefficient. This issue was overcome by the development of water-filled micro-channels, capable of cooling the cells. In addition to making the cells themselves more efficient, the heated waste water could then be reused in desalination. This combined process could reduce cost and energy use, improving its practicality on a larger scale.*

Breakthroughs like this and others, driven by huge levels of investment, led to a substantial increase in desalination around the world. This trend was especially notable in the Middle East and other equatorial regions; home to both the highest concentration of solar energy and the fastest growing demand for water.

 

2030 global desalination capacity trend

 

However, this exponential progress was dwarfed by the sheer volume of water required by an ever-expanding global economy, which now included the burgeoning middle classes of China and India. The world was adding an extra 80 million people each year – equivalent to the entire population of Germany.* By 2017, Yemen was in a state of emergency, with its capital almost entirely depleted of groundwater.* Significant regional instability began to affect the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, as water resources became weapons of war.*

Amid this turmoil, even greater advances were being made in desalination. It was acknowledged that present trends in capacity – though impressive compared to earlier decades – were insufficient to satisfy global demand and therefore a major, fundamental breakthrough would be needed on a large scale.*

 

2030 desalination technology trend world global freshwater production

 

Nanotechnology offered just such a breakthrough. The use of graphene in the water filtration process had been demonstrated in the early 2010s.** This involved atom-thick sheets of carbon, able to separate salt from water using much lower pressure, and hence, much lower energy. This was due to the extreme precision with which the perforations in each graphene membrane could be manufactured. At only a nanometre across, each hole was the perfect size for a water molecule to fit through. An added benefit was the very high durability of graphene, potentially making desalination plants more reliable and longer-lasting.

Unfortunately, patents were secured by corporations that initially limited its wider use. A number of high-profile international lawsuits were brought, as entrepreneurs and companies attempted to develop their own versions. With a genuine crisis unfolding, this led to an eventual restructuring of intellectual property rights. By 2030, graphene-based filtration systems have closed most of the gap between supply and demand, easing the global water shortage.* However, the delayed introduction of this revolutionary technology has caused problems in many vulnerable parts of the world.

In the 2040s* and beyond, desalination will play an even more crucial role, as humanity adapts to a rapidly changing climate. Ultimately, it will become the world's primary source of freshwater, as non-renewable sources like fossil aquifers are depleted around the globe.

 

graphene desalination filter 2030 technology
Graphene-based nanofiltration technology for removing salt from water. Credit: David Cohen-Tanugi

 

 

"Smart grid" technology is widespread in developed nations

In prior decades, the disruptive effects of crude oil shocks,* alongside ever-increasing demands of a growing and industrialising population, were putting enormous strain on the world's power grids. Frequent blackouts occurred in the worst-hit regions, with consumers everywhere becoming more and more conscious of their energy use and taking measures to either monitor and/or cut back their consumption. This already precarious situation was exacerbated by the relatively ancient infrastructure in many countries. Much of the grid at the beginning of the 21st century was extremely old and inefficient, losing more than half of its available electricity during production, transmission and utilisation. A myriad of converging business, political, social and environmental issues forced governments and regulators to finally address this problem.

By 2030, integrated smart grids are becoming widespread in the developed world,** the main benefit of which is the optimal balancing of demand and production. Traditional power grids had previously relied on a just-in-time delivery system, where supply was manually adjusted constantly in order to match demand. Now, this problem is being eliminated due to a vast array of sensors and automated monitoring devices embedded throughout the grid. This approach had already emerged on a small scale, in the form of smart meters for individual homes and offices. By 2030, it is being scaled up to entire national grids.

 

2030 smart grid map

 

Power plants now maintain constant, real-time communication with all residents and businesses. If capacity is ever strained, appliances instantly self-adjust to consume less power, even turning themselves off completely when idle and not in use. Since balancing demand and production is now achieved on a real-time, automatic basis within the grid itself, this greatly reduces the need for "peaker" plants as supplemental sources. In the event of any remaining gap, algorithms calculate the exact requirements and turn on extra generators automatically.

Computers also help adjust for and level out peaks and troughs in energy demand. Sensors in the grid can detect precisely when and where consumption is highest. Over time, production can be automatically shifted according to the predicted rise and fall in demand. Smart meters can then adjust for any discrepancies. Another benefit of this approach is allowing energy providers to raise the price of electricity during periods of high consumption, helping to flatten out peaks. This makes the grid more reliable overall, since it reduces the number of variables that need to be accounted for.

Yet another advantage of the smart grid is its capacity for bidirectional flow. In the past, power transmission could only be done in one direction. Today, a proliferation of local power generation, such as photovoltaic panels and fuel cells, means that energy production is much more decentralised. Smart grids now take into account homes and businesses which can add their own surplus electricity to the system, allowing energy to be transmitted in both directions through power lines.

 

smart grid 2030 technology

 

This trend of redistribution and localisation is also making large-scale renewables more viable, since the grid is now adaptable to the intermittent power output of solar and wind. On top of this, smart grids are also designed with multiple full load-bearing transmission routes. This way, if a broken transmission line causes a blackout, sensors instantly locate the damaged area while electricity is rerouted to the affected area. Crews no longer need to investigate multiple transformers to isolate a problem, and blackouts are reduced as a result. This also prevents any kind of domino effect from setting off a rolling blackout.

Overall, this new "internet of energy" is far more sustainable, efficient and reliable. Energy costs are reduced, while paving the way to a post-carbon economy. Countries that quickly adapt smart grids are better protected from oil shocks, while greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by almost 20 per cent in some nations.* As the shift to clean energy continues, this situation will only improve, expanding to even larger scales. Regions begin merging their grids together on a country-to-country, and eventually continent-wide, basis.*

 

 

The USA is declining as a world power

A ballooning national debt, a declining manufacturing base, and an overstretched military, all greatly weakened the US economy in the early 21st century. This caused long term damage to the country's standing. Like all those before it, the American empire managed to overreach itself. Continued industrialisation of China and India has led to substantial growth in these and other Asian countries, with many millions being lifted out of poverty. Shanghai has eclipsed Wall Street as the leading financial centre. Despite these changes, the US still retains its super power status; but it is no longer the only country holding such influence.

 

usa china 2030s usa decline world power china 2030

 

 

The majority of new vehicles are plug-in electric, or hybrids

Dwindling availability of crude oil supplies has led to major economic disruption.* Transport is among the sectors most directly affected, with the cost of travel becoming one of the most important issues in the world today.

As part of the recovery measures being enacted around the globe, a wholesale transition to alternative energy is taking place. Alongside this, a new generation of smaller and more efficient vehicles is emerging. The majority of new cars are now plug-in electric or hybrids, with charging points a common sight in towns and cities.

Intense competition for this new market has produced a number of technological advances. Lithium-ion batteries – the single most expensive car component – have declined considerably in cost, as well as becoming lighter and faster to recharge. Driving ranges have also been extended, making them practical for long journeys.*

Energy-induced consumer flight to electric and hybrid vehicles has occurred at growth rates comparable to the adoption of handheld cell phones.** They have proven especially popular in China, where the government has made sweeping upgrades to transport and infrastructure.

 

electric cars 2030 plugin vehicle charging hybrid hydrogen energy transport infrastructure future 2030s

 

 

AI is widespread

Despite the recent economic disruption, technology is continuing to accelerate exponentially. By 2030, the pace of change is so great that it seems as if an entire century of progress has already occurred in the first three decades of the 21st century.* Scientific breakthroughs appear to be happening with startling frequency now – especially in the fields of computing, nanotechnology, medicine and neuroscience.*

Workplaces are becoming highly automated, with tremendous improvements in speed, productivity and efficiency. Ever-increasing use of portable, wireless devices has led to the evolution of near-paperless offices. Meanwhile, the need for hyperfast exchange of information has created enormous demand for video conferencing. This trend is reinforced by significant reductions in air travel, due to both spiralling fuel costs and environmental concerns.

Many companies are downsizing their administrative departments and replacing them with AI. This is particularly true of call centres and other service-based roles, where customers often deal face-to-face with "virtual employees" based on automated software. Crude versions of these had been utilised as far back as the 1990s – activated by simple voice commands – but many are now being presented onscreen as fully conversant entities.

 

2030 artificial intelligence

 

Though lacking much in the way of personality, these sentient programs talk with "perfect" voices which are pleasant on the ears.* They have a multitude of menu options and can usually deal with almost any query – however specific or unusual – thanks to their advanced voice and facial recognition software, in combination with powerful database systems.

As competition increases, these virtual employees become a powerful marketing tool in the bid to provide the best possible customer service. In addition to mainstream companies, the adult entertainment industry gains a huge advantage from them, with enormous demand for their services. Research and development into artificial intelligence (and related hardware/software) increases greatly during this period. An added benefit of interacting with these virtual people is the elimination of caller queuing, since there is no need for physical staff anymore.

 

 

Depression is the number one global disease burden

When measured by years of life lost, depression has now overtaken heart disease to become the leading global disease burden.* This includes both years lived in a state of poor health and years lost due to premature death. Principle causes of depression include debt worries, unemployment, crime, violence (especially family violence), war, environmental degradation and disasters. The on-going economic stagnation around the world is a major contributing factor. However, progress is being made with destigmatising mental illness.*

 

depression 2030 global disease burden 2030

 

 

The Muslim population has increased significantly

By 2030, the Muslim share of the global population has reached 26.4%. This compares with 19.1% in 1990.* Countries which have seen the largest growth rates include Ireland (190.7%), Canada (183.1%), Finland (150%), Norway (149.3%), New Zealand (146.3%) the United States (139.5%) and Sweden (120.2%). Those which have experienced the biggest falls include Lithuania (-33.3%), Moldova (-13.3%), Belarus (-10.5%), Japan (-7.6%), Guyana (-7.3%), Poland (-5.0%) and Hungary (-4.0%).

A number of factors have driven this trend. Firstly, Muslims have higher fertility rates (more children per woman) than non-Muslims. Secondly, a larger share of the Muslim population has entered – or is entering – the prime reproductive years (ages 15-29). Thirdly, health and economic gains in Muslim-majority countries have resulted in greater-than-average declines in child and infant mortality rates, with life expectancy improving faster too.

Despite an increasing share of the population, the overall rate of growth for Muslims has begun to slow when compared with earlier decades. Later this century, both Muslim and non-Muslim numbers will approach a plateau as the global population stabilises.* The spread of democracy* and improved access to education* are emerging as major factors in the slowing fertility rates (though Islam has yet to undergo the sort of renaissance and reformation that Christianity went through).

Sunni Muslims continue to make up the overwhelming majority (90%) of Muslims in 2030. The portion of the world's Muslims who are Shia has declined slightly, mainly because of relatively low fertility in Iran, where more than a third of the world's Shia Muslims live.

 

2030 muslim population

 

 

 

 

India becomes the most populous country on Earth

India is now overtaking China to become the most populous country in the world. By the mid-2030s it will be home to over 1.5 billion people. The gap between these two countries will continue to widen, with China's population actually declining from this point onwards.

As part of a climate change deal, foreign investment within India has enabled the country to build more than a hundred gigawatts of solar power facilities: enough to supply over 200 million people with renewable energy.* Together with its growth as a major IT centre, this has further improved its socio-economic standing. At the same time, however, the effects of climate change are beginning to take hold. Droughts are posing serious challenges to food and water production.

 

india china population 2030 2050

 

 

Full weather modeling is perfected

Zettaflop-scale computing is now available which is a thousand times more powerful than computers of 2020 and a million times more powerful than those of 2010. One field seeing particular benefit during this time is meteorology. Weather forecasts can be generated with 99% accuracy over a two week period.* Satellites can map wind and rain patterns in real time at phenomenal resolution – from square kilometres in previous decades, down to square metres with today's technology. Climate and sea level predictions can also be achieved with greater detail than ever before, offering greater certainty about the long-term outlook for the planet.

 

full weather modeling future forecasting 2020 2030

 

 

Orbital space junk is becoming a major problem for space flight

Space junk – debris left in orbit from human activities – has been steadily building in low-Earth orbit for more than 70 years. It is made up of everything from spent rocket stages, to defunct satellites, to debris left over from accidental collisions. The size of space junk can reach up to several metres, but is most often miniscule particles such as metal shavings and paint flecks. Despite their small size, such pieces of debris often sustain speeds of over 17,000 mph – easily fast enough to deal significant damage to a spacecraft. Satellites, rockets and space stations, as well as astronauts conducting spacewalks, have all had to cope with the increasing damage caused by collisions with these particles.

 

space junk future 2030

 

One of the biggest issues with space junk is the fact that it grows exponentially. This trend, along with the increasing number of countries entering space, has made orbital collisions happen almost regularly in recent years. The newest space-faring nations have been particularly affected.

Events similar to the 2009 collision of the US Iridium and Russian Kosmos satellites have raised fears of the so-called Kessler Syndrome. This scenario is where space junk reaches a critical mass, triggering a chain reaction of collisions until virtually every satellite and man-made object in an orbital band has been reduced to debris. Such an event could destroy the global economy and render future space travel almost impossible.

By 2030, the amount of space junk in orbit has tripled, compared to 2011.* Countless millions of fragments can now be found at various levels of orbit. A new generation of shielding for spacecraft and rockets is being developed, along with tougher and more durable space suits for astronauts. This includes the use of "self-healing" nanotechnology materials, though expenses are too high to outfit everything.

Larger chunks of debris have also been impacting on Earth itself more frequently. Though most land in the ocean (since the planet's surface is 70% covered by water), a few crash on land, necessitating early warning systems for people in the affected areas.

Increased regulation has begun to mitigate the growth of space debris, while better shielding and repair technology has reduced the frequency of damage. Increased computing power and tracking systems are also helping to predict the path of debris and instruct spacecraft to avoid the most dangerous areas. Options to physically move debris are also now becoming feasible – including ground-based lasers that can push junk into decaying orbits so it burns up in the atmosphere. Despite this, space junk will remain an expensive problem for now. Real, permanent solutions will likely not be seen for a few more decades.

 

 

 

Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer (JUICE) reaches the Jovian system

Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer (JUICE) is a mission by the European Space Agency (ESA) to explore the Jovian system, focussing on the moons Ganymede, Callisto and Europa.* Launched in 2022, the craft goes through an Earth-Venus-Earth-Earth gravity assist, before finally arriving at Jupiter in 2030. JUICE initially studies Jupiter's atmosphere and magnetosphere, gaining valuable insight into how the gas giant might have originally formed.

For its primary objective, the probe performs a series of flybys around some of the largest Galilean moons. Ganymede, Callisto and Europa are focussed on, since all are believed to hold subsurface liquid water oceans. JUICE records detailed images of Callisto (which has the most heavily cratered surface in the Solar System), while also taking the first complete measurements of Europa's icy crust and scanning for organic molecules that are essential to life.

 

jupiter 2030 mission JUICE
Credit: ESA

 

In 2033, the probe enters orbit around Ganymede for the final phase of the mission. The detailed study includes:

  • Characterisation of the different ocean layers, and detection of sub-surface water reservoirs
  • Topographical, geological and compositional mapping of the surface
  • Confirmation of the physical properties within the icy crust
  • Characterisation of internal mass distribution
  • Investigation of the exosphere (a tenuous outer atmosphere)
  • Study of Ganymede's intrinsic magnetic field and its interactions with the Jovian magnetosphere
  • Determining the moon's potential to support life

This final stage of the mission provides a vast wealth of empirical data.* When combined with new information from Callisto and Europa, it generates an extremely detailed picture of the Galilean moons. JUICE also studies possible locations for future surface landings. Indeed, various plans are now underway to further explore the Jovian system, with mission capabilities being greatly enhanced by the Space Launch System and other vessels. This includes sample return missions and the first lander to drill down and explore the subsurface liquid oceans.*

 

jupiter 2030 mission juice
Two possible models of Europa. Credit: NASA

 

 

The UK space industry has quadrupled in size

In 2010, the UK government established the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA). This replaced the British National Space Centre and took over responsibility for key budgets and policies on space exploration – representing the country in all negotiations on space matters and bringing together all civil space activities under one single management.

By 2014, the UK's thriving space sector was contributing over £9 billion ($15.2 billion) to the economy each year and directly employing 29,000 people, with an average growth rate of almost 7.5%. Recognising its strong potential, the government backed plans for a fourfold expansion of the industry.* Legal frameworks were created to allow the first spaceport to be established in the UK – spurring the growth of space tourism, launch services and other hi-tech companies. UKSA would also prove instrumental in making use of real-time data from Europe's new Galileo satellite navigation system.

By 2030, the UK has become a major player in the space industry, with a global market share of 10%. Having quadrupled in size, its space industry now contributes £40 billion ($67 billion) a year to the economy and has generated over 100,000 new high-skilled jobs.* The UK has significantly increased its leadership and influence in crucial areas like satellite communications, Earth observation, disaster relief and climate change monitoring. The growth of space-based products and services means the UK is now among the first 100% broadband-enabled countries in the world.* This has also reduced the costs of delivering Government services to all citizens, regardless of their location.

 

uk future space industry 2030 technology timeline

 

 

 

 

The Lockheed Martin SR-72 enters service

The SR-72 is an unmanned, hypersonic aircraft intended for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Developed by Lockheed Martin, it is the long-awaited successor to the SR-71 Blackbird that was retired in 1998. The plane combines both a traditional turbine and a scramjet to achieve speeds of Mach 6.0, making it twice as fast as the SR-71 and capable of crossing the Atlantic Ocean in under an hour. A scaled demonstrator was built and tested in 2018. This was followed by a full-size demonstrator in 2023 and then entry into service by 2030.* The SR-72 is similar in size to the SR-71, at approximately 100 ft (30 m) long. With an operational altitude of 80,000 feet (24,300 metres), combined with its speed, the SR-72 is almost impossible to shoot down.

 

SR 72 2030 technology timeline
Credit: Lockheed Martin

 

 

A new generation of military helicopters

For many years, the helicopters used by the US Air force had been essentially anachronistic. Though continually upgraded with new technology, the underlying design of helicopters in the 2000s and 2010s was the same as it had been for decades.

In America's modern wars, helicopters primarily served in transport, reconnaissance and supply roles. This remains true today. However, the Air Force is now finally implementing a new fleet, taking over from the aging Blackhawk and Chinook.**

While aircraft are fielded from a variety of size classes, the most prominent additions are the Joint Multi-Role (JMR) rotorcraft and the Joint Heavy Lift (JHL) rotorcraft. The JMR rotorcraft is designed with a propulsion method similar to that of the V-22 Osprey of earlier decades. The tilt-rotor design allows for both vertical take-offs and forward thrust flight. It can sustain speeds of over 200mph, with a combat range of about 1,000 miles and maximum altitude of 6,000 feet.* Along with traditional combat operations, the JMR rotorcraft is used in a wide variety of roles including reconnaissance, search-and-rescue, medevac, transport, anti-submarine warfare and others. Production of the craft will continue throughout the 2030s, fully replacing the Black Hawk when it retires in 2038.

future helicopters military 2030 2040 2050

Joint Multi-Role (JMR) rotorcraft,
circa 2030. Image courtesy of U.S. Army

 

Alongside the JMR rotorcraft is the Joint Heavy Lift (JHL) rotorcraft, a major addition to the fleet. Utilising a similar tilt-rotor design, it is capable of speeds up to 290mph (when the engines are in the horizontal turboprop position), with a range of 600 miles, and is able to carry a payload of 25 tons. This makes it a viable alternative for the airforce's C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft.

 

future helicopters military 2030 2040 2050


Joint Heavy Lift (JHL) rotorcraft, circa 2030. Image courtesy of U.S. Army

 

Both aircraft, along with the other models now entering service, are optionally-manned. The JMR in particular makes use of this – able to work in large, semi-autonomous squadrons. Onboard computers manage the data gathered from a myriad of sensors, keeping the aircraft in formation at safe distances while monitoring altitude and weather.

For combat roles, the JMR may still use human pilots, but remote control is becoming more popular. In less complex missions, such as for transport, general flight instructions are usually entered into the flight-computer, allowing for essentially autonomous flight. The same is true for the Joint Heavy Lift rotorcraft. Internal sensors monitor for even the slightest damage. Repairs are regularly made in flight, often with self-healing materials. Ground repair is usually done with robots, making human intervention largely unnecessary.

 

 

Hyper-fast crime scene analysis

Crime scene analysis and forensic science have become extraordinarily rapid and sophisticated, thanks to the convergence of a bewildering array of technologies. Investigations that might have taken hours, days or weeks in earlier decades can now be completed in a matter of seconds.

On-person technology has turned the average FBI agent into a walking laboratory. Advanced augmented reality and powerful AI, combined with ultra-fast broadband and cloud networks, allow crime scenes to be viewed in unprecedented new ways. Details can be picked out of surroundings simply by looking around. This may include biological evidence – such as blood, hair or fingerprints, footprints, tire tracks, and even particulates in the air. Massive online databases can be accessed in the field, to compare any relevant findings.* Facial recognition, combined with online criminal records, allows full instant profiles to be generated on a suspect through an officer's augmented field of vision. New AI programs can identify any suspicious behaviour or familiar faces.*

DNA scanning in particular has seen major breakthroughs in recent years. The rate of genome sequencing has grown so rapidly that the equivalent of the entire Human Genome Project can be performed almost instantly,** using special touch-sensitive gloves. Plant and animal DNA from millions of different species can also be identified in addition to that of humans. New algorithms have been introduced to analyse the vast amount of genomic data and pick out specific genomes.

Near-instant sequencing of genomes on industrial-sized machines had already begun to emerge in the latter half of the 2010s. However, there remained the problem of accuracy (machines still had error rates) and portability. Successive generations of nanotechnology gradually reduced the cost, time and equipment required.** By 2030, sequencing is available with negligible cost, very high accuracy, hand-held portability and vast online databases for comparing victim and suspect information in precise detail. When combing a crime scene, it is even possible to identify a face using DNA evidence alone.*

 

 

 

Emerging job titles of today

Some of the new job titles becoming widespread in 2030 include the following.*

  • Alternative Vehicle Developer
  • Avatar Manager / Devotee
  • Body Part Maker
  • Climate Change Reversal Specialist
  • Memory Augmentation Surgeon
  • Nano Medic
  • Narrowcaster
  • 'New Science' Ethicist
  • Old Age Wellness Manager / Consultant Specialist
  • Quarantine Enforcer
  • Social 'Networking' Officer
  • Space Pilot / Orbital Tour Guide
  • Vertical Farmer
  • Virtual Clutter Organizer
  • Virtual Lawyer
  • Virtual Teacher
  • Waste Data Handler

 

2030 jobs

 

 

 
   
« 2029 2031 »
   
     
 
 
                  Share Share
 
 
     
     
   
     
     
 

References

1 Averting a perfect storm of shortages, BBC:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8213884.stm
Accessed 22nd November 2009.

2 Amount and timing of permafrost carbon release in response to climate warming, Wiley:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1600-0889.2011.00527.x/full
Accessed 25th October 2012.

3 Thawing permafrost feedback will turn Arctic from carbon sink to source in the 2020s, releasing 100 billion tons of carbon by 2100, Think Progress:
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/02/17/207552/
Accessed 25th October 2012.

4 Warming May Cause Crop Failures, Food Shortages by 2030, National Geographic:
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/01/080131-warming-crops.html
Accessed 25th October 2012.

5 Food price spikes will get worse as extreme weather caused by climate change devastates food production, Future Timeline Blog:
http://www.futuretimeline.net/blog/2012/09/28.htm
Accessed 25th October 2012.

6 UNICEF Urban Population Map, UNICEF:
http://www.unicef.org/sowc2012/urbanmap/
Accessed 25th October 2012.

7 The Serengeti Highway, Future Timeline Blog:
http://www.futuretimeline.net/blog/2012/09/9-2.htm
Accessed 25th October 2012.

8 Japan May Require Solar Panels on All New Buildings by 2030, Clean Technica:
http://cleantechnica.com/2011/05/23/japan-may-require-solar-panels-on-all-new-buildings-by-2030/
Accessed 25th October 2012.

9 Global Warming's Terrifying New Math, Rolling Stone:
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719
Accessed 27th October 2012.

10 Desalination timeline, IDA Desalination Yearbook:
http://www.desalyearbook.com/desalination-timeline
Accessed 5th August 2013.

11 World lacks enough food, fuel as population soars: U.N., Reuters:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/30/us-un-development-idUSTRE80T10520120130
Accessed 5th August 2013.

12 Charting Our Water Future, 2030 Water Resources Group:
http://www.2030wrg.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Charting_Our_Water_Future_Final.pdf
Accessed 5th August 2013.

13 Hot solar cells are the cool way to water and power, New Scientist:
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21028075.400-hot-solar-cells-are-the-cool-way-to-water-and-power.html
Accessed 5th August 2013.

14 Worldometers:
http://www.worldometers.info/
Accessed 5th August 2013.

15 See 2017.

16 See 2022.

17 There are various data sources for this graph. We have taken a combined average:
• The Pacific Institute
DesalData.com
Global Water Intelligence
International Desalination Association
The Regional Centre on Urban Water Management
World Energy Outlook
World Nuclear Association
SBI Energy
GBI Research
Lux Research

18 A new approach to water desalination, MIT:
http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2012/graphene-water-desalination-0702.html
Accessed 5th August 2013.

19 A step closer to affordable water desalination, Future Timeline Blog:
http://www.futuretimeline.net/blog/2013/03/22-2.htm
Accessed 5th August 2013.

20 10 mindblowingly futuristic technologies that will appear by the 2030s, io9:
http://io9.com/10-mindblowingly-futuristic-technologies-that-will-appe-673136756
Accessed 5th August 2013.

21 See 2040.

22 See 2020-2035.

23 "GRID 2030" A NATIONAL VISION FOR ELECTRICITY'S SECOND 100 YEARS, U.S. Department of Energy:
http://energy.gov/oe/downloads/grid-2030-national-vision-electricity-s-second-100-years
Accessed 26th December 2012.

24 "'We'll learn an awful lot from those projects,' said DeBlasio. 'This is the first big investment in smart grid, but it will take 20 years to deploy the technology and along the way we will create a body of standards for it,' he added."
See IEEE kicks off smart grid effort in June, EE Times:
http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4082845/IEEE-kicks-off-smart-grid-effort-in-June
Accessed 26th December 2012.

25 Smart Grid Could Shave U.S. Emissions by 2030, Scientific American:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=smar-meter-grid-electricity-sensor-energy-savings
Accessed 26th December 2012.

26 See 2050.

27 Peak Oil – are we heading for collapse?, FutureTimeline blog:
http://futuretimeline.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/peak-oil-are-we-heading-for-collapse/
Accessed 13th February 2011.

28 "The lithium battery market is going to grow exponentially."
See Research into batteries will give electric cars the same range as petrol cars, Alpha Galileo:
http://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=100121&CultureCode=en&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
Accessed 9th April 2011.

29 The electric car age just got a little closer, Foreign Policy:
http://oilandglory.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/12/29/the_electric_car_age_just_got_a_little_closer
Accessed 13th February 2011.

30 Electric Cars Could Dominate Market by 2030, Marketing Charts:
http://www.marketingcharts.com/topics/electric-cars-could-dominate-market-by-2030-9943/
Accessed 13th February 2011.

31 The Singularity is Near, by Ray Kurzweil:
http://www.amazon.com/Singularity-Near-Humans-Transcend-Biology/dp/0143037889/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1250947600&sr=1-1 .
Accessed 22nd August 2009.

32 Various exponential trends can be seen here, clearly showing the phenomenal rate of technological progress taking place. These charts are taken from The Singularity is Near, by Ray Kurzweil:
http://singularity.com/charts/page17.html.
Accessed 22nd August 2009.

33 Formula 'secret of perfect voice', BBC:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7426923.stm
Accessed 16th December 2009.

34 DEPRESSION: A Global Crisis, World Health Organisation:
http://www.who.int/mental_health/management/depression/wfmh_paper_depression_wmhd_2012.pdf
Accessed 13th May 2013.

35 Landmark study shows drop in discrimination against people with mental health problems, Time to change:
http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/news/landmark-study-shows-drop-discrimination-against-people-mental-health-problems
Accessed 13th May 2013.

36 The Future of the Global Muslim Population, Pew Research:
http://www.pewforum.org/2011/01/27/the-future-of-the-global-muslim-population/
Accessed 11th October 2013.

37 See 2055.

38 See 2055.

39 See 2060.

40 India urged on climate change, BBC:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8232958.stm.
Accessed 2nd September 2009.

41 "NASA theorizes that a Zettaflop centric computer is required to accomplish full weather modeling, which could cover a two week time span accurately. Such systems won't see the light of day until 2030."
See IDF Shanghai 2008: The Era of Visual Computing Draws Nigh, Patently Apple:
http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2008/04/idf-shanghai-2008-the-era-of-visual-computing-draws-nigh.html
Accessed 17th March 2010.

42 Ugly Truth of Space Junk: Orbital Debris Problem to Triple by 2030, Space.com:
http://www.space.com/11607-space-junk-rising-orbital-debris-levels-2030.html
Accessed 22nd December 2011.

43 Europe to Explore Jupiter's Icy Moons with JUICE Spacecraft, Space.com:
http://www.space.com/15532-jupiter-icy-moons-space-mission.html
Accessed 25th October 2012.

44 JUICE Science Objectives, ESA:
http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=50068
Accessed 25th October 2012.

45 "The SLS could potentially enable sample return from Jupiter's moon Europa, because it would have the payload capacity to provide shielding for a lander on the surface, and sufficient fuel for propulsive maneuvers out of the gravitational well of Jupiter."
See SLS capability touted for Europa Lander capability, Enceladus sample return, NASASpaceFlight.com:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/01/sls-capability-europa-lander-capability-enceladus-sample-return/
Accessed 25th October 2012.

46 Government backs UK launch site plan for space tourism, BBC:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-27222077
Accessed 2nd May 2014.

47 Space Innovation and Growth Strategy 2014-2030, Space IGS:
http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/ukspaceagency/docs-2013/igs-action-plan.pdf
Accessed
2nd May 2014.

48 A UK Space Innovation and Growth Strategy 2010 to 2030, Space IGS:
http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/ukspaceagency/docs/igs/space-igs-exec-summary-and-recomm.pdf
Accessed
2nd May 2014.

49 Hypersonic Successor to Legendary SR-71 Blackbird Spy Plane Unveiled, Wired:
http://www.wired.com/autopia/2013/11/lockheed-martin-sr-72/
Accessed 6th November 2013.

50 Existing and Planned Helicopters in the Army's Fleet, Congressional Budget Office:
http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/88xx/doc8865/Chapter1.5.1.shtml
Accessed 21st December 2011.

51 U.S. Army Moves On Next-Gen Helo, Aviation Week:
http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?channel=awst&id=news/awst/2011/04/18/AW_04_18_2011_p43-310432.xml
Accessed 21st December 2011.

52 U.S. Army envisions the helicopter of the future, CNET:
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13639_3-57343105-42/u.s-army-envisions-the-helicopter-of-the-future/
Accessed 21st December 2011.

53 New NIST Biometric Data Standard Adds DNA, Footmarks and Enhanced Fingerprint Descriptions, NIST:
http://www.nist.gov/itl/iad/biometric-120611.cfm
Accessed 24th January 2013.

54 The questionable observer detector, KurzweilAI:
http://www.kurzweilai.net/the-questionable-observer-detector
Accessed 24th January 2013.

55 Searching genomic data faster, MIT:
http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2012/genetic-searching-algorithm-0710.html
Accessed 24th January 2013.

56 See 2015-2019.

57 Tiny reader makes fast, cheap DNA sequencing feasible, University of Washington:
http://www.washington.edu/news/2012/03/26/tiny-reader-makes-fast-cheap-dna-sequencing-feasible/
Accessed 24th January 2013.

58 New Patent Improves Speed of DNA Analysis Researcher uses nanoparticles to make DNA Analysis 1,000 times faster, Next Big Future:
http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/10/new-patent-improves-speed-of-dna.html
Accessed 24th January 2013.

59 Face Genes Identified, Future Timeline Blog:
http://www.futuretimeline.net/blog/2012/09/16.htm
Accessed 24th January 2013.

60 Source: The Foresight Network
From an online survey conducted in August 2009.

 

 
     
 
 
 
 

 


future timeline twitter future timeline facebook group future timeline youtube channel account videos future timeline rss feed