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21st century

22nd century

The Far Future



  2100-2149 | 2150-2199

2150-2199 timeline contents




Interstellar travel is becoming possible

By the mid-22nd century, various spacecraft are being sent to Alpha Centauri, Barnard's Star, Wolf 359 and other neighbouring star systems. The fastest of these are capable of achieving 0.08-0.1c (8-10% lightspeed), requiring around 40 years to reach their destination.* A variety of propulsion systems are being utilised – from nuclear pulse propulsion, to solar sail technology, to other more experimental methods.

Most of these ships are crewless. However, each craft is equipped with powerful AI, automated systems and robots which do a better job than any human could, in any case. Protection from incoming meteors is provided by cone-shaped force fields, projected from the front of each craft. This streamlined shape allows such debris to simply drift by without causing any damage.

After several decades of interstellar travel, the majority of probes successfully rendezvous with their destinations. They return a treasure trove of data and visual information on extrasolar planets.


interstellar travel 22nd century future timeline



Androids physically indistinguishable from real humans

Androids have been appearing amongst the general populace for many decades already. However, it is by the middle of this century that they achieve a truly lifelike appearance, mobility and interaction, making them indistinguishable from real people. Millions are now employed in service-based roles.

The typical android of today would appear somewhat calm and subdued, however. They would rarely (if ever) express any strong emotions. Their cognitive abilities would be geared towards hard facts and objective data, rather than subjective views or emotional reasoning.

For this reason, most are still regarded as servants at this point in history. However, advances will be made in the coming decades enabling them to replicate even the subtlest of human traits. With androids playing an increasingly prominent role in society, a civil rights movement begins to develop, mirroring that which dominated America nearly 200 years earlier.*




Hi-tech, automated cities

An observer from the previous century – walking through a newly developed city of today – would be struck by the sense of cleanliness and order. The air would smell fresh and pure, as if they were in 20th century countryside. Roads and pavements would be immaculate: made of special materials that cleaned themselves, absorbed garbage and could self-repair in the event of damage. Building surfaces, windows and roofs would be completely resistant to dirt, bacteria, weather, graffiti and vandalism. These same coatings would be applied to public transport, cars and other vehicles. Everything would appear brand new, shiny and in perfect condition at all times. Greenery would feature heavily in this city, along with spectacular fountains, sculptures and other beautification.

Lamp posts, telegraph poles, signs, bollards and other "clutter" that once festooned the streets have disappeared. Lighting is now achieved more discretely, using a combination of self-illuminating walls and surfaces, antigravity and other features designed to hide these eyesores, maximising pedestrian space and aesthetics. Electricity is passed wirelessly from building to building. Room temperature superconductors – implanted in the ground – allow the rapid movement of vehicles without the need for tracks, wheels, overhead cables or other bulky components. Cars and trains simply drift along silently, riding on electromagnetic currents.

Sign posts are obsolete – all information is beamed electronically into a person's visual cortex. They merely have to "think" of a particular building, street or route to be given information about it.

This observer would also notice their increased personal space, and the relative quiet of areas that, in earlier times, would have bustled with cars, people and movement. In some places, robots tending to manual duties might outnumber humans. This is partly as a result of the drastic reduction in the world's population. However, it is also because citizens of today spend the majority of their time in virtual environments. These wholly convincing, simulated realities offer practically everything a person needs in terms of knowledge, communication and interaction – often at speeds vastly greater than real time. Limited only by a person's imagination, they can provide richer and more stimulating experiences than just about anything in the physical world.

On those rare occasions when a person ventures outside, they are likely to spend little time on foot. Almost all services and material needs can be obtained within the home, or practically on their doorstep – whether it be food, medical assistance, or even replacement body parts and physical upgrades. A "shop" in the developed world is likely to be run entirely by AI. It will know exactly what you need before you even set foot in it, and will have everything ready upon your arrival (if you even arrive at all, since robots can deliver most goods and services). The same goes for hospitals and other amenities.

Social gatherings in the real world tend to be infrequent – usually reserved for "special" occasions such as funerals, for novelty value, or the small number of situations where VR is impractical.

Crime is almost non-existent in these hi-tech cities. Surveillance is everywhere: recording every footstep of your journey in perfect detail and identifying who you are, from the moment you enter a public area. Even your internal biological state can be monitored – such as neural activity and pulse – giving clues as to your immediate intentions. Police can be summoned instantly, with robotic officers appearing to 'grow' out of the ground through the use of blended claytronics and nanobots, embedded into the buildings and roads. This is so much faster and more efficient that in most cities, having law enforcement drive or fly to a crime area (in physical vehicles) has become obsolete.


future city cars 2150 22nd century transport technology timeline
© Luca Oleastri | Dreamstime.com


Although safe and clean, some of these hi-tech districts might appear rather sterile to an observer from the previous century. They would lack the grit, noise and character which defined cities in past times. One way that urban designers are overcoming this problem is through the use of dynamic surfaces. These create physical environments that are interactive. Certain building façades, for instance, can change their appearance to match the tastes of the observer. This can be achieved via augmented reality (which only the individual is aware of), claytronic surfaces and holographic projections (which everybody can see), or a combination of the two. A bland glass and steel building could suddenly morph into a classical style, with Corinthian columns and marble floors; or it could change to a red brick texture, depending on the mood or situation.



Total solar eclipse in London

A rare total eclipse takes place in Britain this year, with parts of London experiencing totality.* The last time this occurred was in 1715; the next will be in 2600 AD.


2151 solar eclipse london
Credit: NASA



Mass extinctions are levelling off

A century has passed since the peak in global extinction rates.* Biodiversity has declined to such a low level that there are now few species left to go extinct. With food chains having collapsed, only the hardiest and most adaptable lifeforms survive today. The world's fauna is therefore dominated by rats, flies, cockroaches and canines, while plant life is composed largely of weeds, cacti and other wild desert plants.

Throughout the world lie abandoned cities and decaying infrastructure surrounded by vast, polluted wastelands. Small pockets of "rich" biodiversity can still be found – but most of these are contained within artificial environments protected and sealed from the hellish conditions outside. What remains of humanity has fled to the high latitudes, where climates are favourable enough to sustain the hi-tech cities described earlier.


mass extinctions timeline cockroaches nuclear survival biodiversity species



The world's first bicentenarians

Certain people who were born in the 1960s are still alive and well in today's world. Life expectancy had been increasing at a rate of 0.2 years, per year, at the turn of the 21st century. This incremental progress meant that by the time they were 80, these people could expect to live an additional decade on top of their original lifespan.

However, the rate of increase itself had been accelerating, due to major breakthroughs in medicine and healthcare, combined with better education and lifestyle choices. This created a "stepping stone", allowing people to buy time for the treatments available later in the century – which included being able to halt the aging process altogether.*



Antimatter power plants are coming online

A century after the global deployment of fusion, new forms of power production are becoming necessary in order to cope with the exponential rise in energy demands on Earth and elsewhere.

A new generation of power plants is becoming available, capable of harnessing the energy released in matter/antimatter collisions. The reactions involved are 1,000 times more powerful than the fission produced in nuclear power plants and over 300 times more powerful than nuclear fusion energy.*


antimatter matter power plant future energy
© Oleg Osharov | Dreamstime.com


Asteroid terrorism

Rapid civilian expansion into the solar system – and the increasing ease of access to space technology – has led to the emergence of a new and deadly form of terrorism. This involves the sabotage or hijacking of spacecraft, for use in the purposeful redirection of asteroids towards Earth, Mars and the Moon.*

Various colonies in the outer solar system are also being targetted. These are particularly vulnerable, since they tend to lack the orbital infrastructure and defences necessary to deflect these huge incoming objects. At least one major colony around Jupiter is devastated during this time.

In addition to religious extremists, there is a growing anarcho-primitivist movement. This consists of small underground cults opposed to the increasing dominance of AI in the running of world affairs. They deplore what they see as forced, unnatural changes and technologies sweeping humanity – instead favouring a return to more traditional lifestyles and cultures. They are prepared to resort to whatever means necessary to achieve this.*


asteroid terrorism anarchists future criminal terror war
© Sebastian Kaulitzki | Dreamstime.com



Matter replication devices are available for the home

Towards the end of this century, home appliances are becoming available which can instantly reproduce almost any known substance, at quantum fidelity.* This is achieved using a combination of femtoengineered components and exceedingly complex fractalised software, capable of handling the stupendous number of calculations involved. These devices are just one of many spinoff technologies resulting from the development of macro-scale teleportation in previous decades.

Originally used in factories, science labs and corporate environments, the machines were big enough to fill entire rooms, and often required huge amounts of power. They worked well for large enterprises but were completely impractical for the consumer market.

However, much like the IT industry, exponential progress in this field led to a rapidly shrinking form-factor. Combined with power conservation and heat dissipation techniques, a new generation of replicators began to evolve that were ultra-compact. Eventually they became small enough to fit on kitchen worktops.

Today, these devices are as cheap and commonplace as microwave ovens were in the late 20th century. They are most commonly used as food synthesisers, but a variety of other household items can be reproduced.

Raw mass resources – in the form of sterilised organic particulates – are stored in compartments within the machine. To save energy and computational power, these have been specially formulated to statistically require the least quantum manipulation. The user inputs their choice either via mind control, or voice activation. Molecular analysers then scan each and every subatomic particle, while trillions of Heisenberg compensators maintain cohesion as the object begins to materialise, held in place by micro force-fields. The process takes a matter of seconds and can be repeated indefinitely – resources are beamed in from an external supplier, like tap water.

A vast database containing information on food, clothing and other objects is constantly maintained online. This is automatically downloaded into each machine, and contains many freely available programs.

These devices will play a major role in eliminating poverty, disease and hunger throughout the world. Traditional agriculture, manufacturing and distribution will become obsolete, replaced by purely information-driven systems that are completely decentralised.


matter replication food synthesisers  future timeline technology 22nd century star trek


Global languages are becoming few in number now; education has been vastly accelerated

The world has become so homogenised as a result of globalisation that only a handful of languages remain in existence.* This compares with over 7,000 languages in the year 2000.*

The spoken word has been relegated to a secondary function. Mind interfaces have become the preferred method for in-person communication. These are transparently embedded in clothing, or directly in the body. This form of digital telepathy has been available for over a century – but has now been perfected, so that colossal streams of audio-visual data can be sent and received in addition to basic thoughts and feelings.

Practically all education and training is now achieved in this way. Schools have become obsolete, with teaching instead taking place in a home environment. The learning process has been accelerated to such an extent that a child of today could learn the entire curricula of a 20th century classroom in a microsecond – just by connecting to the "global brain" of the Internet.

This process is facilitated by a combination of genetic engineering and neural upgrades – applied before birth – which extend the brain's capacity and throughput by many orders of magnitude. To an observer from the year 2000, a typical child of the late 22nd century would appear like a miniature Einstein: an expert on virtually any subject, capable of conversing fluently on everything from quantum mechanics to the inner workings of a spacecraft.



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1 This compares with around 40 thousand years for space probes of the early 21st century.

2 The Star Trek: TNG episode, The Measure of a Man, is an excellent portrayal of how this scenario may unfold. It features a trial involving the android Commander Data, in which his sentience is challenged. His status as the "property" of Star Fleet is brought into the debate.

3 Total Solar Eclipse of 2151 June 14, NASA:
Accessed 28th February 2010.

4 See 2060.

5 Aubrey de Grey – In Pursuit of Longevity, YouTube:
Accessed 21st March 2010.

6 How Antimatter Spacecraft Will Work, HowStuffWorks:
Accessed 14th November 2009.

7 Cosmic golf game could smash cities, Rumour Mill News (originally posted in The Times):
Accessed 14th November 2009.

8 Anarcho-primitivism, Wikipedia:
Accessed 14th November 2009.

9 "Within this century it might be possible to use a thought-driven apparatus to manipulate room-temperature superconductors and perform feats that woud be indistinguishable from magic. And by the next century it might be possible to rearrange the molecules in a macroscopic object."
See Physics of the Impossible, by Michio Kaku:

Accessed 31st October 2009.

10 The cost of losing too many tongues, Times Higher Education:
Accessed 22nd October 2009.

11 See 2095.




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