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21st century

22nd century

The Far Future



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

The Far Future:
2200-2249 timeline contents




The World in 2200

The average person of today is likely to spend the vast majority of their time in a virtual reality of some kind. Physical society and culture still exists - but most now eschew it, in favour of the Godlike capabilities they can experience online.

It is becoming very rare to encounter a friend or colleague in person now. In fact, you are more likely to encounter a form of artificial intelligence today, than you are to encounter a living, breathing human. Urban centres are becoming eerily deserted, with most citizens to be found in their homes, or in digital libraries and entertainment venues, engaged in complex simulations wired directly to their brains. Manufacturing industries have been entirely automated now - as well as most workplaces - with almost everyone now working from home. The Internet has evolved into what is, essentially, a gigantic global mind: transparently embedded in everything from clothing to fields of corn, from cars to space stations.

Literally everything has been automated, controlled and made easier. Take peoples' hair, for example. This no longer requires cutting by human hands: it can simply be grown according to a program of your choice. Genetic information is beamed to receivers in your neural interface, instructing the nanobots in the body to apply the appropriate style, colour or length. Precision and control is achieved on a molecular level, with the treatment completed in seconds.

Often, styles are designed by ordinary citizens, or AI, then promoted via online communities, with the best ones rated and made popular, in a manner similar to the commercial music charts of previous centuries. This same process is used for a whole host of other goods and services - from domestic pets, to gardening, to body tatoos, to gourmet food. In this way, a person can become relatively famous by modifying the genetic coding or molecular structure of different items, using the knowledge available to them online.

Technology is changing everything. It is eliminating famine, disease and the need for war, with only a handful of the most backwater nations remaining unaffected by the Singularity. These are closely monitored by the developed states, with severe penalties for any which threaten the technological progress of the rest of the world.

For the majority of the world's citizens, practically any desired resource can be synthesised instantly and automatically, via the technologies available in the home today. These are divided between needs and wants, however - so a citizen will be unable to request a large supply of gold (for example), but will have an immediate and unlimited supply of food, water, clean clothes and other essential needs. "Points" have to be earned in order to access the more sophisticated products and services, and these can be earned by contributing knowledge or innovative ideas to the web.

This development of ideas and information is essentially the main function of the world's economy today. Physical items can be manufactured and distributed so easily that they are no longer a significant part of GDP. What matters today is the information behind items, rather than items themselves.


23rd century science technology future timeline
© Krishnacreations | Dreamstime.com



A global rewilding effort is underway

Human activity in the 19th through 22nd centuries led to the catastrophic decline and wholesale collapse of the natural world. Of the approximately 30 million known species of flora and fauna, more than 90% 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 the whole of Earth's 3 billion year natural 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 the 22nd century. Meanwhile, ocean acidification caused by rising CO2 levels resulted in the total 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 four metres by 2200.

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 during the late 20th century - the planet became almost 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 simulations.


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


Older members of society came to be vilified. Some nations even organised "crimes against nature" trials, leading to the conviction of former politicians and oil barons.

By the 23rd century, however, technology was advancing to a whole new magnitude of power and sophistication. Worldwide, 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 resources from elsewhere in the world.

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 the 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 through 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. The staggering power of AI, the web and other technologies would ensure this system worked.

This rewilding effort became the largest single environmental project in history. Entire deserts were transformed back into lush edens, fed by artificial rain generated by orbital infrastructure. Vast areas of abandoned wasteland became rich ecosystems teaming with life - including 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 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.



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



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.



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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1This Easter, Smaller Percentage of Americans Are Christian - Americans more likely now than in previous decades to say they have no religious identity, Gallup:
Accessed 11th February 2009.




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