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Technology (general)

CNN -- Here is what some of you predict will happen in the next 10 or 20 years. Got a vision? E-mail it to us at Vision. Please keep your e-mail to 100-150 words, include your first and last name and where you are from, to increase the likelihood of it being published.

Clever computers
I imagine a computer that will act as personal assistant. It would give you a rundown of what it did "for you" today. For example:
"Hello Doug,
-- I routed 32 pieces of spam to your spam folder.
-- Your nephew sent a photo, it is being displayed now on your TV.
-- Your mother sent you a recipe for green chili, I printed it on a 3x5in card.
-- You haven't written to your friend Jim in quite some time, I started an e-mail for you and added a few recent snapshots. Look in "Drafts" folder.
- E-payments for water, gas and electric are pending, if you take no action I will send them out tomorrow.
-- Your mother's birthday is in two weeks -- follow this link to see some suggested gift items. If you select nothing, I'll send her flowers.
-- I have examined your portfolio... and based on the recent surge in crude oil prices, I have reallocations pending. If you take no action I will execute tomorrow.
Bye for now,
Your computer"
Doug Shade, Arizona, United States

Deadly virus
The world will continue at its current pace until around 2050, when a virus will be accidentally let loose either by a lab mistake or an unknown virus in an Amazon or African jungle. This virus will wipe out about two-fifths of the Earth's population and then everything will settle down again.
John K. Bieschke, Virginia, United States

Classless society
Every child will have a computer. Advances in neural interfacing in the cyber world will enable faster learning. Primary and secondary school curricula will be completed by age 10. University education will start at age 11 with bachelor degrees completed in just a year. Multiple disciplines will be mastered this way with most teenagers will get three or four degrees. Such an educated populace will be able to invent solutions to many societal, scientific and environmental problems. This will plant the seeds to a truly classless society, as skill and level of education won't differentiate populations. Ethnic and cultural differences will fade, as equal economic status unite cities, nations and, eventually the world. Long live the Internet.
Reginald Newland, Johannesburg, South Africa

Bombs will explode
Within the next 15 years, an atomic bomb will be used in a war or terrorist attack. After a couple of years, everything will continue as usual -- just as it did following the incidents in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Chernobyl.
Valentin Zaharias, Karlsruhe, Germany

Haves v. have-nots
The separation of social classes in the U.S. will continue to expand. It will become more difficult for Americans from low-income families to move up to middle class status. Inflation will rise faster than minimum wage and the U.S. dollar will not hold the strength that it maintains now. Education levels in the U.S. will continue to fall throughout all social classes but the most extreme will be for those that find themselves on the lower half of the scale. In this time, the U.S. energy policy will become a national priority. U.S. military resources will be diverted into discovering alternative fuels. A new and different cold-war will be waged in the race to discover locations of fossil fuel deposits.
Tom Peterson, California, United States

An easier life
A few years from now, humans, bionics and living machines will live together. Our computers will not be dependent on hard drives anymore, they will boot on the Internet. The discovery of "brain-chips" and "wireless networks" will let humans and machines communicate with their minds through the Internet. Life for humans will be much easier. There will be commercial spacecrafts and space travel will be accessible to ordinary citizens. And the time will come when our brain's thoughts can be stored on a computer and when we die, we can reuse the thoughts and download them to another human body, who will become the person who just died -- in other words, we will be immortal. This is the next phase in the evolution of humans.
Francis Brigoli

Robotic revolution
Three things will shape the 21st century. First, there will be an environmental or "green" movement, which will follow an energy crisis, most likely sparked by rising gas prices. We will move from oil to hydrogen and from coal to solar energy. Secondly, there will be a second industrial revolution, the "robotic revolution," whereby robots will take over most of the manufacturing work currently done by humans. This is already happening in the automotive industry. Finally, the human race as a whole -- not just governments -- will begin to move into the "final frontier." I see, as planned, an international effort to return to the moon by 2020, and by 2030 we will have walked on Mars. By 2050, colonies will be established on the moon and by the end of the century on Mars. With the launch of the terrestrial planet finder, an Earth sized planet with the potential to harbor life will be discovered by the year 2050.
Paul Knightly, Kansas, United States

Up in the air
People will have small, white, private planes that are available for everybody to use. They will fly at altitudes of two, five and 20 meters. Roads will never be used again for cars. Instead, they will serve as runways for these small airplanes. The Internet will be a "global brain." Children will not have to go to school, they will just switch on their computers.
Jolana BulkovŠ, Slovakia

Are people obsolete?
Everything will become more automated, from check-out lines in stores to electronic ordering without waitresses at restaurants. Cameras will continue to spread out across the USA, especially in cities where the cost of hiring new police will rise because of budget cuts. Telephones, computers and televisions will eventually merge for easy access.
Robert Levy, NY

Three predictions
1. Following an energy crisis, most likely sparked by rising gas prices, we will move from oil to hydrogen and from coal to solar energy. 2. There will be a second industrial revolution, when robots take over most of the manufacturing work which only humans can do now. 3. There will be an international effort to return to the Moon by 2020 and by 2030 we will have walked on Mars. By 2050, colonies will be established on the Moon and by the end of the century on Mars.
Paul Knightly, Kansas

Population fears
The single biggest threat is population growth. If we could reduce the number of people on Earth to half of current numbers over the next 100 years and tackle the current known pollution issues alongside, the world will be a better place for our children and grandchildren.
Henrik Buchleitner

Deeper fission
The day when the atom will be made to fission in not two pieces, as now, but in hundreds of pieces. Each fission liberates heat, so a 50-fold increase in the number of fissions will obtain 50 times more energy from the atom. Of course, a break-up that efficient eliminates nuclear waste. Not only will the reaction be used to produce electricity, but it'll also provide high-speed particles for interstellar space flight.
Ron Bourgoin, North Carolina

Peak oil
A rather neglected subject and potentially the greatest defining event of this century. There is a significant chance that the population of the world in 2100 will be only a fourth (or less) of what it is now, and those still alive will live as we did 100 years ago.

New economies
China and India, representing almost one third of the world population, aspire to consumerist ideals. How is it possible to bring these countries to the standard of living the US and Europe enjoy without significant difficulties in resource allocation and global waste management? Our planet is already stretched to the limit from an ecological viewpoint. Further mismanagement of our resources can only lead to further deterioration of the quality of life worldwide.
Chris Kobsa, Georgia

It would be nice to see more solar energy and wind uses. If I had the money I would use solar energy in my house. Now I am renting but if I had my own house I would try to use wind and solar energy to do my part in preserving our lands. If there was a way for us to push our governments to use more of this energy if certainly would be beneficial for everyone.
Jane Drake Lalonde, Canada

New energies
Oil will be used to make plastics. Most electricity will be generated from sunlight, tidal action and wind. Nukes will be outlawed. Climate change will change back.
Dave Anderson

No enemies
I have a vision of a world in which the word 'enemy' would be erased from the human vocabulary; where "us" vs "them" does not have any real import and where the powerful nations would think less of using their military might to bully smaller nations to submission than of using their power to genuinely lift them up.
Kayode Nuga, Michigan

Powerful friends
I dream that in two decades from now USA and India, the two great democracies, would be strong partners for the world peace and technological betterment of humanity. It's about time that the US administration and the American people do their bit to discover the land which was the raison d'Ítre for Columbus setting out to eventually discover America itself.
Sanjay Mishra

As were the first years of the 21st century, I can easily see the first half of this century as being one of fighting: for natural resources, land, religion, or simply for survival. US vs Iran; US vs Saudi Arabia; US vs North Korea; US vs China; US vs Russia, Germany, France, India, Pakistan. And Canada vs Sweden... in hockey.

That's what I see in the future. A world where morality is subjective rather than objective. A matter of individual taste rather than subject to a uniform code of conduct by which everybody must treat his fellow man. Accountability has no meaning.
Eddie Hancock

Back to Earth
We have spent all the time and money in space we need to. We know there is no life within millions of light years of Earth. We need to do more here on Earth; new kinds of power and fuels, more food, clean water, more jobs for people who have no skill.
Frank B. Hall

The perfect date
Perfect dating, coupling, pairing and marriage for those who seek and desire it. Technology should and must, allow us to meet, go to movies with, have dinner with, socialize with, pair off with the right people without impediment (i.e., no serial killers, persons already married). Meaning the quirks of values, personal habits, tastes and background have been pre-screened by technology. Compatibility has already been factored in before meeting people. There is no shock or disappointment, that "oh you take this issue more seriously" and "I cannot deal with it," whether that means pets, parents, morals, public behavior, driving habits, etc.
Kimberly Edwards

Longer, healthier lives
In a not so distant future, we will be able to live for as long as we want to for the most part -- the only thing that will kill a human is basically if they are in a explosion. Self healing, the ability to grown new body parts as needed, nanobots that roam our bodies in search of viruses and other ailments that need to be repaired. A time where robots will be doing many tasks that are done by humans today. The future is on the verge of all these things, I would figure that many of them will become a reality within the next five to 20 years.
Iowa Chapman

Business heads east
Business will move from the present U.S. hands to Europe and Asia. The compact technology emerging from the east had always been a headache for the west and that's going to make the Asian economies stronger. The red dragon in the east, China along with India will join hands with the European Union to make international decisions.
Thomas Thankachan, Kuwait

The Ice age cometh
In the course of a 100,000-year cycle, we've been re-entering the arc of a new ice age. Global warming may have delayed that and prevented the world from being overtaken by a long-duration cold spell. Perhaps the discomforting thought should be that when we've used up all the oil and petrochemicals and revert to something less polluting, what will we be able to do to keep temperatures livable for the next 60,000 years? We may have a good thing going in global warming until we're smart enough to rationalize and act on what is actually needed.
Larry McFarland, East Moline, IL

Everyone who has written their Visions all have something in common. Their hopes for a better future lies with technology. That is scary when one sees the low rate of math and reading skills in our schools today, let alone, God forbid, encourage critical thinking!
Robert M. Healey

Beyond the Earth
I see a future where the events on Earth are overshadowed by the accomplishments of private enterprise in space. I see a future society that becomes forward-looking, seeing the potential in our will to advance rather than focusing on the many traditional ideologies that currently divide us. Right now, I'm young, ambitious and stubborn, and I'm going to do everything I can to help my vision become a reality.
Ben McGee

Work-life balance
I see a lot of changes going on in 21st century -- mainly changes happening in heads and hearts of people, who have enough of time-consuming, material-wasting, technology-dominated society. I see people gaining controls over their lives, not working to make a profit to build machines but to fulfill their dreams; people having enough time to talk to each other, enough time to play and raise children; people having chances to relax in nature which is clean and to eat food and drink water that is healthy, and to not have to pay for it.
Marko Kovac, Slovenia

Bleak vision
As life expectancy increases the human population will explode, requiring adjustment by nature. Fortunately, we have the bomb. Nuclear war may become commonplace as older people with less reason to live accept holocausts in a more casual fashion. The young will be victims, as is customary.
William Bergmann, Los Angeles

Warming warning
I feel that in the next 10-20 years there will be a law to make electric cars the only method of transportation (with exceptions to certain vehicles and owners). Global warming is now starting to show its warning signs. This year alone I have never seen so much unusual activity in California. The record rainfalls, all the tornadoes, not to mention the earthquakes we have been having daily. I feel like it's a sign of something major about to happen to our world.
Jennifer Hansen

Green machines
I am an American living in the Rheinland. I have become interested in biodiesel, an alternative fuel that is heavily promoted in Germany. The projections for 2006 are that some 2,000,000+ tonnes of this stuff will be produced. Of course, biodiesel does have its problems as to its effect on a diesel engine. But, the German automakers no doubt are working diligently on making their diesel products more biodiesel-friendly.
James, Rheinland, Germany

Read earlier predictions from Vision users here.

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