century began with the United States as the sole superpower in the absence
of the Soviet Union, with China becoming a potential superpower.
over what should be done about global warming, fossil fuel pollution
and alternative energy raged in the new century after most of the 20th
century was marked by industrial expansion. As the Cold War was over
and Islamic fundamentalist-related terrorism on the rise, the United
States and its allies turned their attention to the Middle East.
technology – in its early stages of mainstream use in the 1980s and
1990s – became widely accepted by most of the world, though concerns
about stress and antisociality from the overuse of mobile phones, the
Internet and related technologies remained controversial.
end of the first decade, over 1.5 billion people worldwide used the
Internet, and over 4 billion (more than half the world's population)
used cell phones.
financial downturn from 2007 – triggered by a sub-prime mortgage crisis in the US – resulted in soaring debt levels.
This led to a wrenching restructuring of many social and political systems,
but failed to address the growing divides between rich and poor.
A new set
of crises would emerge in the 2020s. As oil demand began to exceed supply,
full-scale conflict erupted in the Middle East. At the same time, the
effects of climate change were beginning to have a major impact on worldwide
food and water supplies. Growing instability led to a number of resource
wars. Even the Arctic became a battleground as nations sought to claim
the last remaining oil deposits.
and 40s were marked by a massive shift towards algae biofuel and renewable
energy sources - aided by startling breakthroughs in nanotechnology.
Widespread adoption of sustainable development practices greatly aided
this transition. This was followed by the birth of fusion power and
other technologies. Despite this, conflict was brewing around much of
the world. Africa, Asia and other regions were suffering mightily due
to food shortages and a growing influx of refugees affected by climate
change, resource wars and political instability.
began to escape the confines of its crowded home planet, with the first
settlement on Mars in the 2050s. This colony would be greatly expanded
over the following decades.
in computing power - which had seen exponential growth for over a century
- saw AI beginning to play a major role in government and business.
Reality, in parallel with developments in neuroscience, began to profoundly
change the day-to-day lives of citizens; in the developed world at least.
the world's population had begun to level off and plateau. This was
partly due to improved education and birth control - but also due to
the vast numbers of deaths from starvation, drought and other adverse
conditions. Entire nations were being devastated by the effects of climate
change. Over half of the world's rainforests had been turned to wasteland,
much farmland worldwide had been rendered useless, and freak weather
events were now commonplace. Arctic sea ice in summer was non-existent.
A huge amount of biodiversity had been lost, with the oceans largely
devoid of life.
this time, the USA was finally eclipsed by China as a world power, with
India close behind.
saw major growth in the use of fusion power. Accelerated space development
also marked this time, with mining operations on the Moon, along with
breakthroughs in propulsion allowing manned exploration of the outer
Solar System. At the same time, an environmental catastrophe was unfolding
on Earth, with sea levels forcing the large-scale evacuation of many
advances in AI, the 2080s saw an explosion in scientific discoveries.
The average citizen found themselves increasingly reliant on brain-computer
interfaces, and other on-person technologies, which were becoming essential
for purposes of practical communication and information retrieval. Androids
were now commonplace in society, with many employed in support and care
end of the century, it became clear that Homo Sapiens were
no longer the dominant species on the planet. Much of the day-to-day
running of world affairs was now being carried out by upgraded "transhumans"
- along with ultra-fast, ultra-intelligent machines, robots and digital