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The Far Future

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

The Far Future:
2300-10,000 AD
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2300

Superhuman powers are available to common citizenry

The nanotechnology of recent decades has conferred powers to citizens that would be considered superhuman by 21st century standards. These upgraded "transhumans" could perform feats regarded as Godlike to denizens of earlier times.

A suitably upgraded individual - if transported back to the year 2000 - would be impervious to weaponry and nearly impossible to contain. They could morph their body into a seemingly infinite variety of forms depending on the situation encountered.*

If trapped in a maximum security prison, for instance, they could alter their own molecular structure, allowing them to walk through walls.* They could broadcast electromagnetic pulse waves to disable electronic devices, vehicles and other objects. Bullets and other projectiles would pass through them with no effect. Microscopic cameras, distributed throughout their body, would function as an all-round 360° sensor - covering the entire electromagnetic spectrum and making it impossible for an attacker to surprise them.

They could sprint at lightning speed and cross a variety of dangerous terrain types: even molten lava would present no obstacle to them. If necessary, they could levitate from ground level to the roof of a skyscraper in seconds. They could turn themselves invisible, morph into another person entirely, or stretch their limbs like elastic.

In many ways, they would resemble a comic book superhero or video game character.

They could manipulate their environment in various ways, generating enough body heat to light a fire, for example, or turning inanimate objects into advanced nanotechnology tools, or modifying the properties of liquids. They could heal a wounded person just by touching them. They could read thoughts and emotions, or extract recent memories.

If standing near others of their kind, they could link and combine their powers to even greater levels – harnessing the power of local weather, for example, or lifting objects weighing thousands of tons.

Their sensory capabilities would be phenomenal. This 24th century person could view individual atoms with the naked eye; or if they wanted to, use their telescopic vision to see distant astronomical objects. They could hear a whisper from miles away, or filter specific voices from a cacophony of background noise. They could determine a precise chemical composition just by tasting, touching or smelling it.

Due to their various biotechnology aids and physical upgrades, they would never require sleep. They could even survive without food and water - living instead off the energy of their surrounding environment, which would be absorbed into their photosynthetic, piezoelectric skin. This same external layering would keep them at peak levels of physical performance, as well as shielding them from the elements.

In fact, many citizens of today have abandoned their homes altogether and taken to a nomadic lifestyle, for this and other reasons. Often, a "home" of today is little more than a small booth or alcove in the street, where a person can temporarily recharge and recuperate, or utilise the greater powers of the net. Even a person's body is often temporary, as they shift between various real world and digital environments. Much of the Earth is now being transformed into a gigantic computer grid where individuals can physically "plug" themselves in.

Not everyone has opted to make this transition. Even now, there are segments of society which are adamant in maintaining a natural, minimally upgraded human body. These people are now a definite minority, however, given the practical immortality and other benefits offered by transhumanism.

 

future superhuman 2300 transhuman technology timeline far future

 



2310

Voyager I reaches the Oort Cloud

The Voyager I probe has been travelling through space since 1977. It reached a milestone in 2012 when it departed the heliosphere and began to interact with the interstellar medium.* Its next milestone would have to wait another 300 years, however. By 2310, it has reached the inner part of the Oort Cloud – a vast collection of ancient comets and icy planetesimals, forming a gigantic sphere that surrounds our Solar System.* This begins at roughly 2000 astronomical units (AU), extending for another 50,000 AU. Its outer edge marks the end of the Sun's gravitational dominance, beyond which lie stars like Alpha Centauri. The probe has long since been passed by faster spacecraft, which have already explored these neighbouring systems. It remains drifting onward as a historical relic, taking 30,000 years to pass through the Oort Cloud.

 

Click to zoom out

voyager 1 future timeline

 


2350

Progress with Mars terraforming

The first lakes and seas are beginning to form on Mars.

In the lowest altitude regions, a variety of plant life has been introduced. The air pressure and temperature is even high enough for certain arthropods and insects to survive.

Open air exploration for humans is still limited to those with cyborg bodies, however.

 

mars terraforming future timeline 24th century
Credit: Daein Ballard

 


2500 AD

Mars has been terraformed

By the middle of this millenium, the Red Planet has turned from a cold, dead world into a lush, Eden-like paradise. This monumental achievement has been the result of human collaboration on a planet-wide scale. It has created whole new industries, countless millions of jobs and undreamed of technologies.

The project was initiated in the early 22nd century. From the outset, it faced major hurdles. Aside from the sheer scale of geo-engineering an entire world, there were political, social and cultural issues too. Many of the early settlers on Mars actually wished for it to remain in its raw, primeval state. Some of them had an almost spiritual connection to the planet. Like certain environments on Earth, they believed it held an intrinsic worth and unique value that should never be replaced. To better it with manmade artificial processes would somehow make it less natural, less real.

These "Reds", as they came to be known, were a potent force during the early Martian government.* They were a thorn in the side of planning authorities, who faced not only protests and demonstrations, but direct sabotaging of industrial activity from some of the more extreme individuals.

On the opposing side of this debate were the "Greens", initially consisting of mostly corporate interests. They included a greater proportion of cyborgs and transhumans, who became adapted to the environment of Mars at an earlier stage and were thus able to survive in the lower air pressures.

Over time, the power and influence of the Greens began to dominate. Improved security measures were introduced, guarding much of the infrastructure and terraforming equipment from attack.

Giant solar mirrors were placed in orbit. Measuring tens of kilometres across, these reflected and focussed the Sun's rays onto the poles.

 

mars terraforming solar mirror reflector future
© Luca Oleastri | Dreamstime.com

 

Other projects included the seeding of artificial extremophile bacteria. These began converting CO2 into oxygen. Vast swarms of nanobots were later introduced, accelerating this process and offering a greater degree of control, since they were fully programmable. They also helped to produce nitrogen, as well as regulating the overall composition of the atmosphere.

A series of enormous "heat factories" were constructed. These belched out huge amounts of CO2 - which was converted by the bacteria and nanobots - but also had the effect of raising air pressure.

To increase the volume of water on Mars, comets and ice-rich asteroids were manoeuvred into orbit. These were made to slowly burn up as they descended, without impacting on the ground and causing damage.

This still left the problem of Mars' lack of a magnetosphere, which exposed the surface to harsh ultraviolet radiation. Giant superconducting rings were placed around the latitude lines - focussed mainly on the equator - and buried deep below ground. These were thousands of miles in length and took many decades to construct, but were sufficient to create an artificial magnetic field.

By the 23rd century, frozen lakes and ponds were beginning to form in some regions. This was followed by successful growing of the first lichen and mosses, genetically adapted to withstand a harsher environment. Entire seas and oceans began to appear in the 24th century, along with the first trees and other flora, plus certain arthropods and insects.

A series of chain reactions and positive feedback loops began to accelerate the process, fueled by even greater technological advancements. By the 2400s, a panoply of animals were being introduced including fish, birds, reptiles and mammals. Eventually, it was declared safe for unaided, fully biological humans to walk on the surface of Mars. Humanity had created a second Earth.

 


Flash animation by Will Fox, using images produced by Daein Ballard.

 


2600 AD

Plastics and other waste products are disappearing from Earth's biosphere

Most of the plastics, tin cans and other waste products from the 20th-21st centuries have decomposed by now. They caused significant harm to the environment during their time on Earth - injuring countless birds, fish and other animals.* Subsequent generations of these materials were produced in ways that minimised their impact.*

 

environment timeline future plastic waste
© Marpalusz | Dreamstime.com

 

 

2700 AD

Venus has been terraformed

By now, Venus has been transformed into a habitable, Earthlike world. The planet's entire orbit was shifted, bringing it closer to the "Goldilocks Zone", while its day-night cycle was accelerated from 117 days to 24 hours.

Comets were redirected from the Oort Cloud and Kuiper Belt. These were guided through the solar system and into the upper atmosphere of Venus, releasing vast quantities of water.

Other techniques involved the capture and removal of CO2, achieved by the seeding of nanobots, which absorbed this and other toxic gases and replaced them with breathable oxygen.

With lush tropical oceans, Venus now has two large, dominant landmasses - Aphrodite and Ishtar - along with a number of smaller subcontinents and islands. The average surface temperature has stabilised at around 25°C.

 

venus map terraformed

 


2880 AD

The asteroid 1950 DA is passing very close to the Earth, possibly on a collision course

This kilometre-sized asteroid was first discovered in 1950. It was observed for 17 days, then lost until 2000 due to uncertainties in the orbit. In 2001, new radar and optical measurements confirmed a mean diameter of 1.1 km with a very fast rotation period (2 hours), an orbital velocity of 21.3 km/s and a dense composition of nickel-iron.

It was also found to have a potentially very close approach to the Earth, on 16th March 2880. Scientists estimated a 1 in 300 chance that the asteroid would strike the planet on this date - the highest probability of any known asteroid at the time. Were such an impact to occur, it would be catastrophic to civilization, given the size and velocity of 1950 DA. If landing in the ocean, coastlines would be hit by 200 ft tsunamis, running inland over 4 km. There would be major effects on the climate and biosphere.

However, technology is so advanced by 2880 that the asteroid can easily be moved to a safe orbit, if required.

 

asteroid 1950 da 2880
Credit: NASA

 


3000 AD

Purely biological humans are typically 7ft tall now, with lifespans of 120+*

For centuries now, the technological singularity has produced enormous wealth and prosperity throughout the solar system. Across-the-board improvements in healthcare, education and living standards have led to humans evolving into a race of giants - 7ft tall, muscular and highly athletic, with lifespans of 120+. Note that this lifespan refers to purely biological (non-cyborg) humans, who comprise a small minority by now. The vast majority of citizens have opted for genetic engineering and biotechnology upgrades which offer practical immortality.

 


3100 AD

Humanity is becoming a Type 2 civilisation on the Kardashev scale

The exponential growth of AI is allowing the manipulation of matter on scales barely dreamed of before. The largest structure now being built in space is a "Dyson Sphere".* This hollow shell is of such gargantuan proportions that its radius stretches from the Sun to beyond the orbit of Jupiter.

 

dyson sphere future

 

Under the direction of a Godlike superintelligence, vast swarms of automated, self-replicating ships are building it - using material from the asteroid field, Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud.

The sphere's primary purpose is to harvest literally all of the energy output from the Sun: some 386 yottajoules (YJ) per second.* However, it also serves the function of shielding our inner solar system from gamma rays and other incoming hazards. Even the potential possibility of alien invasion has been taken into consideration during the sphere's design.

The interior walls have a gravitational field of 1G and are made from wholly new states of matter that were unknown to science in previous centuries. These can withstand the colossal tensile forces required to maintain structural integrity. This curved, impossibly large surface - equivalent to billions of Earths - is becoming a habitat for many sentient lifeforms, with portions being terraformed and given a stable atmosphere, oceans and landmass. A sizeable percentage of citizens are now migrating to these strange artificial worlds. This includes a diverse mix of biological humans, as well as transhumans, synthetics, clones, androids, sentient animals and other communities.

A series of additional Dyson Spheres are being constructed around neighbouring star systems - some even larger.

Having begun its journey to the stars in the 22nd century, humanity is reaching a landmark in its colonisation of space. A region nearly 1,000 light years in radius has now been explored (or about 2 percent of the total length of our galaxy). The light speed barrier has yet to be exceeded, however.

 

kardashev scale type 2 civilisation civilization solar system future 3000ad 4th millenium dyson sphere shell swarm

 


3500 AD

Polar reversal of the Earth

Polar reversals have occurred many times before in Earth's history - typically every 300,000 years. The last time was around 780,000 BC. This means the planet is long overdue for such an event.

From 1900 onwards, the intensity of Earth's magnetic field was known to be declining by six percent each century. By 3500, the poles are beginning to completely reverse.*

Charged particles from the Sun affect satellites and other near-Earth vessels which lack adequate protection. However, plants and animals on Earth are unaffected. During the reversal, the solar wind induces a sufficient magnetic field in the ionosphere, temporarily shielding the surface in the absence of the normal magnetic field.*

 

polar reversal 3500 earth magnetic field magnetosphere charged particles effects 2012

 

 

The Grand Unification Energy is witnessed

The first particle accelerators were small, terrestrial-based devices. In the early 21st century, they resulted in energies of only a few tera-electronvolts. By the middle of the 4th millenium, however, an accelerator covering the entire perimeter of our Solar System has been built. This becomes the single largest experiment in history – powerful enough to accelerate particles to a state known as the Grand Unification Energy, allowing the very earliest moments of the Universe to be simulated. The electromagnetic, weak and strong nuclear force (three of the four fundamental forces) are viewed for the first time at precisely the same strength: becoming effectively different aspects of a single force. Quarks and electrons, too, become the same, achieving another unification.*

 

grand unification energy

 


4000 AD

Computer science is reaching its ultimate potential

The biological and technological descendants of humanity are attaining the perfection of computer science. Hardware and software are becoming the absolute fastest, most efficient they can ever possibly be, within the known laws of physics. All of the knowledge to do so has now been largely achieved. From this point onwards, computer science becomes obsolete as a field of study – the only "unknowns" left for researchers to discover will be in other areas of science.*

 

computer science ultimate future potential 4000 AD

 

 

 
   
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References

1 In the future, it may be possible for the human body to rearrange itself at will, using "foglets" or a similar technology.
See The Singularity is Near, by Ray Kurzweil (2005)
http://www.amazon.com/Singularity-Near-Humans-Transcend-Biology/dp/0143037889/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254172463&sr=1-1
Accessed 29th October 2009.

2 Physics of the Impossible, by Michio Kaku:
http://www.amazon.com/Physics-Impossible-Scientific-Exploration-Teleportation/dp/0307278824/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1250029787&sr=1-1

Accessed 29th October 2009.

3 See 2012.

4 It's Official: Voyager 1 Is Now In Interstellar Space, Universe Today:
http://www.universetoday.com/104717/its-official-voyager-1-is-now-in-interstellar-space/
Accessed 30th December 2013.

5 The Mars trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson, is arguably the most detailed story ever written about the terraforming of Mars. Note: the timescale in these books is slightly more optimistic than that presented in FutureTimeline.net
http://www.amazon.com/Red-Mars-Trilogy-Stanley-Robinson/dp/0553560735/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1255822415&sr=1-1

6 Drowning in plastic: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is twice the size of France, Telegraph.co.uk:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/5208645/Drowning-in-plastic-The-Great-Pacific-Garbage-Patch-is-twice-the-size-of-France.html
Accessed 25th April 2008.

7Sun Chips Compostable Chip Bag Earth Day 2010, YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yu5J5HQk6VY
Accessed 20th October 2010.

8Human species 'may split in two', BBC.co.uk:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6057734.stm
Accessed 28th Dec 2008.

9Dyson Sphere , Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyson_sphere
Accessed 25th November 2009.

10Orders of magnitude (energy), Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orders_of_magnitude_%28energy%29#1024_and_above
Accessed 25th November 2009.

11Extrapolating the current trend to the future suggests that the field intensity will reach zero in approximately 1500 years (ie. the poles will reverse).
See Geomagnetism (page 15), Brock University, Canada:
http://spartan.ac.brocku.ca/~rcheel/teaching/1F90/Fall-Winter2009-10/PDF/Geomagnetism.pdf
Accessed 8th May 2010.

12Solar wind induced magnetic field around the unmagnetized Earth, Astronomy & Astrophysics:
http://www.aanda.org/index.php?option=article&access=standard&Itemid=129&url=/articles/aa/abs/2004/23/aagb091/aagb091.html
Accessed 8th May 2010.

13A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking
http://www.hawking.org.uk/a-brief-history-of-time.html
Accessed 9th Dec 2008.

14 While some computer industry observers might assume that computer science has already reached its pinnacle, Tennenhouse said he calculated that only 2 percent of the potential of computer science has been realized to date.
"At the current rate of progress it will take another 2000 years to figure out the rest."
See DOD Scientist: Lose the Humans, Wired:
http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/1999/08/21354
Accessed 12th February 2010.

 

 
     
 
 
 
 

 


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