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2058

A billion human brains can be simulated in real time

The late 20th and early 21st centuries witnessed orders of magnitude increases in computer power and data storage. Each new generation of chips was smaller and more energy efficient than the last, resulting in ever larger and more complex applications. This trend was known as Moore's Law and it led to the gradual emergence of artificial intelligence, combined with brain simulations down to the level of single neurons.

Despite occasional setbacks, the exponential progress in computational power continued in subsequent decades,** driven by further innovations in the miniaturisation of components, new system architectures, new materials and new cooling methods. By 2058, a billion human brains can be modelled in real time on a single machine, at the level of individual neurons. In recent years, however, a physical bottom limit for transistor size has been reached,* meaning that computers can only be made more powerful by becoming larger in size. This decade sees a profound change in the role of supercomputers – the very largest and most powerful computers – as they seem to take on a life of their own, expanding their infrastructure and software in ways that significantly influence local, regional and world affairs. This is raising major concerns regarding possible existential risks and unforeseen consequences.

Until recently, global politics and economics were determined largely or entirely by human thought and emotion. However, it is becoming clear that new forms of machine super-intelligence and hybrid human-AI mergers are beginning to reshape the cultural zeitgeist. Computers are now so powerful that many high-level tasks in business and government are being delegated to them. Large-scale brain models can be used to gauge the likely response of a nation's entire population to new ideas, products, or hypothetical events, for example, or to test new biotechnology implants – often designed by the supercomputers themselves. While a truly accurate brain simulation (i.e. at the subatomic level) has yet to be perfected, the states of protein complexes can now be incorporated into the model of a single brain.** Other applications of these supercomputers include measures to comprehensively deal with climate change,* which finally starts to be reversed over the next several decades.*

At the consumer level, gaming devices now provide fantastically lifelike experiences. Full immersion VR is now a mainstream phenomenon, after seeing rapid development over the last two decades. Advances in procedural generation* have led to Matrix-style worlds* of breathtaking scale and ingenuity. Entire new societies have formed in cyberspace, with many people spending their whole leisure time engaged in them. When encountering a player or character online, it is practically impossible to distinguish between human and machine intelligence.

 

future timeline technology singularity

 

 

The Beatles' music catalogue enters the public domain

Copyright law has remained largely unchanged since 2019. Accordingly, the Beatles' songs from 1962 are entered into the public domain, 96 years after the band's first single.*

 

beatles 2058 public domain

 

 

A radio telescope is built on the Moon*

The telescope is 100m wide and located on the Moon's far side, giving it a stable platform with slow rotation rate (0.5 arcsec/sec), beyond the interference of Earth's atmosphere and cluttered radio background. This provides astronomical images with a clarity unmatched by any observatory on Earth or in space. Individual stars, billions of light years away, can be seen assembling into the first galaxies.

The telescope is situated within an impact crater. Both it and the surrounding infrastructure are built using a mixture of epoxy, self-assembling carbon nanotubes and material from the Moon itself – drastically reducing costs.*

 

moon telescope observatory radio future lunar outpost
Credit: NASA

 

 

 

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References

1 See 2041.

2 The Singularity is Near, by Ray Kurzweil:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Singularity-Is-Near-Transcend/dp/0143037889
Accessed 12th January 2016.

3 Predictions made by Ray Kurzweil, Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predictions_made_by_Ray_Kurzweil
Accessed 12th January 2016.

4 Whole Brain Emulation: A Roadmap, Nick Bostrom, Oxford University:
http://www.philosophy.ox.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/3853/brain-emulation-roadmap-report.pdf
Accessed 12th January 2016.

5 Mind uploading: Computational complexity, Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_uploading#Computational_complexity
Accessed 12th January 2016.

6 Net-negative global emissions are possible in a range of scenarios from ~2060 onwards (lower part of the graph).
See Humanity on track for worst-case emissions scenario, Future Timeline Blog:
http://www.futuretimeline.net/blog/2014/09/28.htm
Accessed 12th January 2016.

7 See 2060-2100.

8 Procedural generation, Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Procedural_generation
Accessed 12th January 2016.

9 The Matrix, Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Matrix
Accessed 12th January 2016.

10 Love Me Do, Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Me_Do
Accessed 17th May 2012.

11 50 Years in Space: NASA's Roadmap to 2058, Space.com:
http://www.space.com/news/081001-nasa50-road-ahead.html
Accessed 13th May 2010.

12 NASA Envisions Huge Lunar Telescope, Space.com:
http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/080716-tw-lunar-telescope.html
Accessed 13th May 2010.

 

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