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21st century

22nd century

The Far Future

Beyond

 

  2200-2249 | 2250-2299 | 2300-10,000 AD

The Far Future:
2200-2249 timeline contents

 

 
   
 
     
   
     
 
       
   
 
     
 

2200

Traditional employment is becoming obsolete

The average citizen today is likely to spend the vast majority of their time in a virtual reality of some kind. Physical society and culture still exist – but most eschew them, in favour of the Godlike abilities they can experience online. It is very rare to meet a friend or colleague in person now. You are far more likely to encounter a form of artificial intelligence today, than you are a living, breathing human. Urban centres have become eerily deserted, with most people to be found in their homes* – or in digital libraries and entertainment venues – engaged in complex simulations that offer perfect recreations of the real world. To observers from earlier centuries, these virtual environments would appear truly dazzling in their speed and complexity, with an almost unimaginable level of detail, creativity and ingenuity.

A trend which began during the Industrial Revolution has now reached its ultimate conclusion. Working hours had gradually declined over the centuries, thanks to a combination of technology, automation, improvements in working conditions and employee rights, changing labour demands and a shift in the cultural zeitgeist. By 2050, the average person in a developed country was employed for under 30 hours per week and this fell to 20 hours by 2100.* Working hours continued to fall in the 22nd century as machinesincluding life-like androidstook on ever more complex and sophisticated roles.

As humans began to enhance their cognitive abilities, the nature of work itself was changing. More and more people were moving from "drudge" jobs into their own personal, creative and intellectual pursuits. The line between work and play was beginning to blur. Some roles, for example, were now taking the form of extremely challenging "games", based on subjective anomalies and problems resulting from discoveries for which AI programs were unable to offer adequate explanations. Alongside this, average spending on various household items and utilities, when measured as a percentage of disposable income, was steadily declining.*

By 2200, this trend is complete. In most countries, basic items such as food, energy and clothing are now essentially free, with little or no need for the average person to work in order to acquire them. Recent advances in replicator technology provide an abundance of resources – eliminating famine, disease and the need for war. Literally everything has been automated, digitised and made easier. Take the emergency services, for example. Hospital visits are rarely required now, as practically everything a person needs in terms of treatment is available at home, or within their own body. Police forces are dominated by robots and, in any case, physical crimes have been largely eradicated. Firefighters are no longer needed, since they are robotic too, while building regulations and nanotechnology materials can prevent most fires occurring in the first place.

This process of falling employment was, of course, by no means a smooth transition. It caused profound economic and political disruption throughout the 21st and 22nd centuries. By 2200, however, the world has fully adapted to these changes and is entering a period of artistic and cultural splendour the likes of which have never been seen before. Whether as explorers in space, or designers of entire new worlds in cyberspace, humans are free to pursue their greatest dreams and personal aspirations – unshackled from the confines of traditional economic and monetary systems.*

 

trends in working hours 2050 2100 2200 future timeline

 


2210

A global rewilding effort is underway

Human activity in the 19th through 22nd centuries led to catastrophic damage of the natural world. Of the approximately 30 million known species of flora and fauna, more than half were lost as a result of pollution, climate change, deforestation, mining, agriculture, urban sprawl, overfishing and hunting. Extinctions on this scale had occurred only five times previously in Earth's history.

Various wars, nuclear attacks, industrial accidents and nanotechnology experiments also played a role in making large tracts of the world essentially lifeless. Permanent damage was done to countless habitats. The Amazon rainforest, perhaps the most egregious example, shrank to become mostly desert by 2100. Meanwhile, ocean acidification caused by rising CO2 levels resulted in the decimation of coral reefs. The Arctic became devoid of ice during summer months, while melting in Greenland, Iceland, West Antarctica and elsewhere led to sea level rises of nearly two metres by the 22nd century.

All of this occurred despite an in-depth scientific knowledge of the processes underway. Long term sustainability and sensible management of resources were sacrificed in favour of short-term profits, political influence and personal gain. By the time most governments began to enact serious measures, it was already too late.

Biodiversity fell away to such an extent that, for those born in the late 20th century, the planet became unrecognisable. Younger generations growing up in this new world found themselves bitterly resentful at what their predecessors had allowed to happen. Many in Asia, Africa and South America would never get to experience a real forest, or come face to face with animals larger than a domestic dog, or witness the range of colourful and exotic species that were commonplace before – except in zoos, or virtual reality. Older members of society came to be vilified. Some nations even organised "crimes against nature" trials, leading to the conviction of former politicians and fossil fuel executives.

 

toucan future biodiversity jungle forest deforestation 2100 2200 threat
© Astra490 | Dreamstime.com

 

By the 23rd century, however, technology was advancing to a whole new magnitude of power and possibilities. Superintelligent entities were now dominating business and government, formulating policies to benefit everybody rather than the few. Meanwhile, a new and gigantic system of orbital infrastructure was being planned, allowing man to directly control the Earth's climate. Consumer devices were also becoming available that could reproduce food and other items without needing to plunder natural resources.

An idea began to emerge that quickly gained momentum. It would require an international, concerted effort over a number of generations, but it had support from across the political spectrum.

"Pre-Holocene Rewilding" had been discussed in the past and even attempted on a small scale, but global versions lacked the necessary consensus mainly due to the costs, technical challenges and social issues. However, the enormous wealth and prosperity now emerging on Earth – along with perfection of certain biotechnologies – meant that such a megaproject was becoming feasible.

In essence, it would involve the recreation of extinct animals and plants, brought back to life by a combination of fossil records, DNA samples, computer models and molecular engineering. Once grown or reproduced in sufficient numbers, these would be distributed back to their original native environments: as close as possible to how they lived prior to human industry. They would then be managed in such a way that people could cause them no harm – and vice versa.

This rewilding effort became the single largest environmental project in history. Entire deserts were transformed back into lush edens, fed by artificial rain and other forms of weather control. Vast areas of abandoned wasteland became rich ecosystems teaming with life; even ancient megafauna such as mammoths. Toxic lakes and rivers were made clean. The oceans were de-acidified, cooled and made habitable once again to countless fish, molluscs, crustaceans, and other aquatic invertebrates. Urban sprawl in cities was dramatically reversed and scaled back, with a focus instead on highly compact vertical structures.

Slowly, the Earth recovered. Humanity had reached an equilibrium with its surroundings. Though it would take another few decades, the final elements were falling into place to ensure the future preservation of biodiversity.

 


2220

Mind uploading is available to a multitude of platforms

The mind uploading process of a century earlier has been perfected by now, giving citizens access to a dizzying array of options.

A person of today can choose from a plethora of artificial bodies into which they can "sleeve" themselves depending on their mood or the situation. These might be human, or robotic, or some other more exotic design. The most extreme examples can even take the form of animals, or mythological creations. An individual may upload themselves into the body of an eagle, for instance, and go flying for a few days. Or they could travel to an underwater locale and utilise a mermaid-like body, complete with gills and a tail.

This process is being used extensively in the global rewilding efforts, to improve the monitoring of animal populations and ensure their successful integration back into the environment. Some of the more committed environmentalists are choosing to abandon their human bodies altogether, devoting their consciousness entirely to the natural world.

Humanity is fracturing into all sorts of bizarre and surreal forms during this time, due to the genetic enhancements and cybernetic upgrades now available.

Mind transfer is now possible almost anywhere, at any time, thanks to the miniaturisation and portability of the technology, together with the supporting infrastructure which has developed on Earth and elsewhere. The space industry routinely has people uploading to massive robots, in order to carry out large-scale engineering work. This is especially true of asteroid mining stations.

 

 

The Light Year Array is operational

At the edge of the solar system - beyond the shroud of comets known as the Oort Cloud - a vast spherical network of telescopes is operational. This has a total collecting area measuring one light year in diameter. By comparison, the largest network of the early 21st century was the ground-based Square Kilometre Array.

The Light Year Array is composed of millions of automated radio telescopes, constructed using self-replicating nanotechnology. Together, these provide astronomers with an almost Godlike view of the cosmos. Under the direction of AI, the network identifies and catalogues nearly every galaxy within 13.7 billion light years - including most of the stars and planets in each - to produce a detailed, 3-dimensional map of the Universe.

Furthermore, the motion vector of each star makes it possible to form a gigantic simulation, capable of being run backwards to the birth of the Universe, or forwards to billions of years in the future. This allows scientists to view a highly accurate model of the aftermath of the Big Bang, as well as the likely ultimate fate of the Universe.

 

23rd century astronomy
Credit: NASA

 


2230

Antimatter-fueled starships

One of the many benefits resulting from the growth of AI has been the rapid design and prototyping of interstellar space vehicles. The fastest of today's spacecraft are now capable of sustained travel at between 0.9 and 0.99c (90-99% lightspeed). This is fast enough to reach nearby stars within relatively short timeframes.

One of the more common ship designs is a "ring" containing matter-antimatter fuel, purposefully collided to release vast amounts of energy for thrust. This energy is also used to maintain stability and create fields around the craft, protecting it from meteoroids and other hazards.

Huge numbers of deep-space missions are now underway, including trips to Earth-like planets within 100 light years. Most of these ships are unmanned, but a small percentage contain human pilots. These are invariably transhumans with heavily modified bodies and minds, better able to cope with journeys than natural, unaided humans.

 

antimatter fueled starships 23rd century future space travel
A typical private commercial space vessel of the early 23rd century.

 


2240

Christianity is fading from American culture

After centuries of decline, Christianity is on the verge of disappearing from American culture. The vast majority of the US population is now atheist, or agnostic.* This same trend was witnessed in Europe at a far earlier date. However, religion was so deeply embedded in the American psyche that it took substantially longer to reach this stage.

 

Click to enlarge.

christianity future trend 2100 2200 2250

 

 

 
   
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References

1 Worldwide decline in physical activity, Future Timeline Blog:
http://www.futuretimeline.net/blog/2012/06/16-2.htm
Accessed 27th April 2014.

2 See 2099.

3 Spending on food at home, cars, clothing, household furnishings and housing and utilities, as a share of disposable functional income, 1950-2012, US Bureau of Economic Analysis:
http://www.futuretimeline.net/23rdcentury/images/spending.jpg
Accessed 27th April 2014.

4 The Neutral Zone, Star Trek TNG:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzqW0YaN2ho
Accessed 27th April 2014.

5 This Easter, Smaller Percentage of Americans Are Christian - Americans more likely now than in previous decades to say they have no religious identity, Gallup:
http://www.gallup.com/poll/117409/easter-smaller-percentage-americans-christian.aspx
Accessed 11th February 2009.

 

 
     
 
 
 
 

 


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