Some humans are becoming more non-biological than biological
Today, the average citizen has access to a wide array of biotechnology implants and personal medical devices. These include fully artificial organs that never fail, bionic eyes and ears providing Superman-like senses, nanoscale brain interfaces to augment the wearer's intelligence, synthetic blood and bodily fluids that can filter deadly toxins and provide hours' worth of oxygen in a single breath.
Some of the more adventurous citizens are undergoing voluntary amputations to gain prosthetic arms and legs, boosting strength and endurance by orders of magnitude. There is even artificial skin based on nanotechnology, which can be used to give the appearance of natural skin when applied to metallic limbs.
These various upgrades have become available in a series of gradual, incremental steps over preceding decades, such that today, they are pretty much taken for granted. They are now utilised by a wide sector of society – with even those in developing countries now having access to some of the available upgrades due to exponential trends in price performance.
Were a fully upgraded person of the 2080s to travel back in time a century and be integrated into the population, they would be superior in almost every way imaginable. They could run faster and for longer distances than the greatest athletes of the time; they could survive multiple gunshot wounds; they could cope with some of the most hostile environments on Earth without too much trouble. Intellectually, they would be considered geniuses – thanks to various devices merged directly with their brain.
Construction of a transatlantic tunnel is underway
Built from advanced automation and robots – and controlled by AI – this is among the largest, most ambitious engineering projects ever undertaken. With hyperfast Maglev up to 4,000mph, passengers using the tunnel can be delivered from Europe to America in under an hour.
Carbon nanotubes, along with powerful geo-sensing devices, have been paramount in the structure's design – these can self-adjust in the event of undersea earthquakes, for example. Also noteworthy is that the train cars operate in a complete vacuum. This eliminates air friction, allowing hypersonic speeds to be reached. The cost of this project is in the region of $88-175bn.*
Many former Winter Olympics venues no longer provide snow
Rising temperatures have rendered many former Winter Olympic sites "climatically unreliable" – that is to say, unable to provide snow on a regular basis.* Although geoengineering efforts have been underway for some time, these have not yet managed to stabilise the global climate.* Former locations that are now either unsuitable or forced to rely on artificial snow include Sochi (Russia), Grenoble (France), Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany), Chamonix (France), Vancouver (Canada) and Squaw Valley (US), with a number of others remaining at high risk. Aside from the Olympics, winter sports in general are increasingly being moved indoors, or are taking place in simulated environments.
Polar bears face extinction
Between 2000 and 2050, polar bear numbers dropped by 70 percent, due to shrinking ice sheets caused by global warming. By 2080, they have disappeared from Greenland entirely – and from the northern Canadian coast – leaving only dwindling numbers in the interior Arctic archipelago.*
Of the few which remain, ice breaking up earlier in the year means they are forced ashore before they have time to build up sufficient fat stores. Others are forced to swim huge distances, which exhausts them, leading to drowning. The effects of global warming have led to thinner, stressed bears, decreased reproduction, and lower juvenile survival rates.
One in five lizard species are extinct
The ongoing mass extinction has claimed many exotic and well-known lizards.* One in five species are now extinct as a result of global warming. Lizards are forced to spend more and more time resting and regulating their body temperature, which leaves them unable to spend sufficient time foraging for food.
Deadly heatwaves plague Europe
Heatwaves greater than that seen in 2003 have become annual occurrences by this time.* In the peak of summer, temperatures in major cities such as London and Paris reach over 40°C. In some of the more southerly parts of the continent, temperatures of over 50°C are reported. Thousands are dying of heat exhaustion. Forest mega-fires rage in many places* while prolonged, ongoing droughts are causing many rivers to run permanently dry. Spain, Italy and the Balkans are turning into desert nations, with climates similar to North Africa.
Due to Moore's Law, $1000 of computing power is now equivalent to a billion Earth's worth of human brains.* Laptop-sized computers of today can perform the equivalent of all human thought over the last ten thousand years in less than ten microseconds. Technology is progressing so fast that – in order for people to comprehend it – neural upgrades have become necessary on a regular basis.
Credit: Ray Kurzweil
Hinkley Point C and other nuclear plants are decommissioned
Hinkley Point C was part of a "nuclear renaissance" that emerged in the UK during the 2020s. This power station supplied nearly six million households with electricity. After 60 years of operation, the aging plant (along with several others in the country) is finally being shut down.* Fusion has supplanted fission by now.*
Androids are widespread in law enforcement
Fully autonomous, mobile robots with human-like features and expressions are deployed in many cities now.* These androids are highly intelligent, able to operate in almost any environment and dealing with various duties. As well as their powerful sensory and communication abilities, they have access to bank accounts, tax, travel, shopping and criminal records, allowing them to instantly identify people on the street.
The presence of these machines is freeing-up a tremendous amount of time for human officers. They are also being used in crowd control and riot situations. With inhuman strength and speed, a single android can be highly intimidating and easily take on dozens of people if needed. Special controls are embedded in their programming, however, to prevent the use of excessive force.
Five-year survival rates for brain tumours are reaching 100%
Because of their invasive and infiltrative nature in the limited space of the intracranial cavity, brain tumours were once considered a death sentence. Detection usually occurred in advanced stages when the presence of the tumor had caused unexplained symptoms. Glioblastoma multiforme – the most common and most aggressive malignant primary brain tumor in humans – had a median survival period of only 12 months from diagnosis, even with aggressive radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgical excision.
In the 21st century, however, detection and treatment methods improved greatly with nano-robotics, gene therapy and technologies able to scan, analyse and run emulations of complete brains in astonishing detail. Alongside this was the gradual emergence of "transhumans", who began utilising permanent implants in their brains and bodies, alerting them to the first signs of danger. Towards the end of this century, five-year survival rates for brain cancer are approaching 100% in many countries, the US being among the first.**
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Accessed 15th Jan 2009.
2 Climate change threatens Winter Olympics, University of Waterloo:
Accessed 6th February 2014.
3 See 2060-2100.
4 Polar bears are unlikely to survive the 21st century, Future Timeline Blog:
Accessed 25th August 2018.
5 Climate change link to lizard extinction, BBC:
Accessed 15th May 2010.
6 "By the 2080s, it is predicted that an event similar to that experienced in England in 2003 will happen every year."
See Background: Britain's heatwave plan, guardian.co.uk:
Accessed 16th August 2009.
7 2003 European heatwave, Wikipedia:
Accessed 16th August 2009.
8 Based on current rates of technological progress, desktop PCs will reach the computational power of the human brain in 2020 – and continue to double in power every year after that. By 2053, they will be equivalent to the entire human race. By 2057, they will be equivalent to all brains in history. By 2083, a single desktop computer will match the raw intelligence of 9,223,372,037,000,000,000 human brains – or the same as a billion Earth civilisations.
9 See 2023.
10 See 2070.
11 Robots on the beat by 2084, ZDNet:
Accessed 12th November 2012.
12 Browse the SEER Cancer Statistics Review 1975-2009 (Vintage 2009 Populations), National Cancer Institute:
Accessed 11th October 2012.
13 Brain cancer survival statistics, Cancer Research UK:
Accessed 11th October 2012.