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Human intelligence is being vastly amplified by AI

Ubiquitous, large-scale automation has led to vast swathes of human employees being replaced by virtual or robotic counterparts. Strong AI now occupies almost every level of business, government, the military, manufacturing and service sectors.

Rather than being separate entities, these AIs are often merged with human minds, greatly extending the latter's capability. For instance, knowledge and skills on any subject can now be downloaded and stored directly within the brain. As well as basic information and data, this includes many physical abilities. A person can learn self-defence, for example, become an expert in any sport, or be taught to operate a new vehicle, all within a matter of seconds.

The world has been transformed by this fusion of people and machines. The vastly greater power of AI means that it has become, simultaneously, both master and servant to the human race.

The benefits of this human-AI merger require the extensive use of implants, however – something which a significant minority of the population still refuses to accept. Compared to transhumans, these non-upgraded humans are becoming like cavemen – thousands of years behind in intellectual development.* Unable to comprehend the latest technology, the world around them appears "fast" and "strange" from their increasingly limited perspective.* This is creating a major division in society.


2100 technology timeline future 22nd century predictions



Nomadic floating cities are roaming the oceans

At the dawn of the 22nd century, many of the world's cities lie partially submerged due to rising sea levels.* Despite some attempts to build flood defences, even famous locations – such as New York, London, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Sydney – have been affected. With over 10% of the world's population living on coastlines, hundreds of millions have been forced to migrate.

While many citizens have abandoned their homelands, a growing number have adopted a new means of living which does away with national boundaries altogether. This comes in the form of floating, artificial islands – entirely self-sufficient and able to cruise around the world indefinitely.*

These ships provide comfort, safety and security, in stark contrast to the upheaval and chaos experienced by many land dwellers. In addition to a continuous supply of food and freshwater, various facilities are available including virtual reality suites, state-of-the-art android servants/companions, swimming pools, landing pads for anti-grav vehicles and much more. Carefully maintained arboretums with real trees can also be found on board (flora which is becoming increasingly rare these days).


floating city 22nd century future timeline technology
Credit: Vincent Callebaut architects


These giant, amphibious ships are especially popular in Southeast Asia, which has been hit hard by the effects of climate change. Some of the largest craft house upwards of 100,000+ residents. Whole new cultures are forming on these "micro nations" – often based around particular themes, lifestyles, ethics or belief systems that appeal to a specific demographic.

Seasteading in general has exploded in recent decades. In addition to city ships, permanent settlements have appeared along the flooded coasts of many regions. This often takes the form of recovered infrastructure rebuilt to accommodate rising sea levels. In the more prosperous nations, cities may be rebuilt using massive anchored pontoons or other hydrostatic devices. More commonly, entirely new cities are devised by governments to accommodate the displaced populations of coastal cities.

New, larger and more advanced versions of the Energy Islands built in earlier decades make up the majority of these settlements. Some consist of huge artificial archipelagos, stretching for tens of kilometres. Units are often covered in natural plant life, in addition to hi-tech systems for carbon sequestration.


future ocean colony 2100 technology timeline
Credit: Shimizu Corporation


As well as CO2 capture, offshore settlements play a role in scrubbing general air and water pollution, acting as giant filters that remove trash and chemicals from the ocean. These materials can then be recycled and put to new use. This is now having a significant impact in reversing the enormous damage that has accumulated over the centuries from ocean acidification, plastic debris, nitrogen and other man-made waste products.**

Needless to say, these settlements, both stationary and roaming, are entirely carbon neutral. Power is produced from a combination of OTEC plants, offshore wind farms, tidal and wave plants, solar arrays, and other means. Some even utilise fusion. Food is grown and water desalinated locally. These ocean settlements are themselves among the earliest adopters of the so-called "post-growth economy". This had emerged out of the converged crises of resource depletion and advanced automation that began during the mid-late 21st century, and seeks to minimise the impact of human economic activity on the environment.


future ocean technology timeline 2100
Credit: Shimizu Corporation



Emperor Penguins face extinction

For centuries, Emperor Penguins were the best-loved and most recognised symbol of Antarctica. By the middle of this decade, their numbers have dwindled to almost nothing because of melting sea ice, depletion of krill and industrial activity.* Small populations continue to exist for several more years, by adapting their breeding habits, but even they will eventually disappear. Emperor Penguins aren't the only birds vanishing during this time: thousands of other species are disappearing too, as ecosystems around the world face collapse.*


emperor penguins endangered extinct 2100 global warming climate change threat
© Bernard Breton | Dreamstime.com




Terraforming of Mars is underway

Although no physical processes have been introduced yet, the first serious plans are being drawn up for the planet's gradual transformation, with the ultimate goal of making it habitable for humans. Exactly who will be given control of Mars and its resources – or if the planet should have complete independence – is the subject of much debate and speculation around this time.


mars terraforming timeline future space exploration colonization earth



Force fields are in military use

A combination of several unique technologies, stacked together in layers, has led to a radical new form of protective shielding.* To observers from the previous century, this would resemble the "force fields" depicted in science fiction movies. When activated, it provides an instant, near-impenetrable field withstanding hits from all but the most powerful weaponry.

The outer layer consists of a supercharged plasma window, shaped into a dome or sphere by electromagnetic fields. This is hot enough to vaporize most incoming metals.

A secondary layer underneath contains millions of curved laser beams, producing a high-energy web that captures projectiles fast or powerful enough to bypass the plasma window.

A third layer consists of a "lattice" made from trillions of carbon nanotubes. These microscopic structures are woven together in an instant, forming a diamond-hard shell repelling objects missed by the other two layers. If necessary, this can be extended to cover a larger perimeter, at the cost of decreased strength. Conversely, it can be reduced in size to provide an even denser and more durable barrier.

The layers described above can protect against the majority of bullets, bombs and projectiles. However, they are almost useless against lasers. A fourth and final layer takes care of this problem. This uses photochromatic particles, which change their properties when exposed to laser light, effectively neutralising most directed-energy weapons. An early form of this technology was seen a century previously, with sunglasses that changed colour when exposed to sunlight.

In addition to warzones, these multilayered force fields are used in a range of other situations. National borders, for example, are being made more secure – as are many sources of food and water production. Corporate spaces and luxury dwellings owned by the rich are also utilising them. A number of satellites are being fitted with this technology too.


force field technology 22nd century



Large-scale arcologies are emerging as an alternative to traditional cities

The global convergence of environmental issues and resource depletion has forced humanity to drastically readdress the way urban areas are designed. The refugee crisis that emerged in the mid-21st century has now largely subsided, with much of civilization having been relocated to the polar regions of Northern Europe, Russia, Canada and Western Antarctica. In order to accommodate so many people in such a smaller area, cities have become increasingly dense and self-contained.

However, decades of concerted geoengineering efforts have led to success in stabilising global temperatures. Combined with ongoing population pressures, this has prompted governments to begin repopulating some of the abandoned regions in more central latitudes. Despite this progress, most countries still face the problems of resettling hyper-arid, ecologically-ravaged environments. As such, long-hypothesised "arcologies" have begun to emerge as a radical departure from traditional urbanism, condensing an entire city into one massive structure.*

A precedent for these mega-structures could be seen as far back as the 2020s, with construction of the first centrally-planned, truly sustainable cities.** Later in the 21st century, these principles were adapted for the development of single structures – resulting in supertall skyscrapers that combined vertical farming with residential and commercial space, recycling and production systems for energy, water and other resources.*

By the 22nd century, these towers have evolved into some of the mightiest structures ever built: of such immense volume that some cover several kilometres in girth, typically rise over 1.5 kilometres in height* and accommodate millions of people.** Some are partially or fully merged into mountainsides and other landscapes – resembling enormous ant colonies, and living up to their portmanteau of "architecture" and "ecology". This scale of engineering has been made possible through advances in materials science, with carbon nanotubes utilised to cope with the massive forces involved. The sheer size and strength of arcologies makes them virtually immune to earthquakes, hurricanes and other disasters.

Each of these self-contained structures holds everything it needs for human survival. Automation is ubiquitous with intelligent robots managing almost all construction and maintenance.* Highly efficient transport systems are located throughout to move travellers horizontally, vertically or diagonally. Advancements in elevator technology have made lifts capable of whisking riders up in a single trip – no matter what height – as opposed to changing halfway up.* This has been accomplished through improved cable design and, more recently, the use of electromagnetic propulsion.* This kind of hyper-dense urban environment allows movement around a city at speeds unheard of in previous centuries.

These radical new designs exemplify an overall trend in recent human development: low environmental impact. Globally, cities and their connecting infrastructure are slowly being retracted, giving over more land to nature. Advances in transportation and civil engineering, combined with nano-scale manufacturing, are enabling humans to operate with little or no impact on the environment. Though classically designed cities still exist, the arcology represents a fundamental shift in the balance between humans and nature.


22nd century arcology technology 2100



Femtoengineering is practical

Technology on the scale of quadrillionths of a metre (10-15) has recently emerged.* This is three orders of magnitude smaller than picotechnology and six orders of magnitude smaller than nanotechnology.

Engineering at this scale involves working directly with the finest known structures of matter – such as quarks and strings – to manipulate the properties of atoms. This development is a further step towards macro-scale teleportation, i.e. transportation of objects visible to the naked eye. Significant breakthroughs in anti-gravity and force field generation will also result from this.

Another area that will see major progress is in materials technology. For example, metals will be produced which are capable of withstanding truly enormous pressures and tensile forces. The applications for this will be endless, but perhaps one of the most exciting areas will be in the exploration of hostile environments – such as probes capable of travelling within the Sun itself, and tunnelling machines that can penetrate the Earth's crust into the layers of magma beneath. Longer term, this development will pave the way for interstellar ships and the massive forces involved in lightspeed travel.

Other more exotic materials are becoming possible – including wholly transparent metals, highly luminous metals, frictionless surfaces, and ultradense but extremely lightweight structures. As with many areas of science, femtoengineering is being guided by advanced AI, which is now trillions of times more powerful than unaided human intelligence.


femtoengineering picoengineering femtotechnology picotechnology future materials 22nd century 2100 ray kurzweil



Man-made control of earthquakes and tsunamis

By now, geophysicists have mapped the entirety of the Earth's crust and its faults, extending some 50 km (30 mi) below the surface. Computer simulations can forecast exactly when and where an earthquake will occur and its precise magnitude. With a "scheduling" system now in place, comprehensive preventative measures can be taken against these disasters.

For instance, people know when to stay out of the weakest buildings, away from the bridges most likely to collapse and otherwise away from anything that might harm them. Rescue and repair workers can be on duty, with vacations cancelled and extra workers brought in from other areas. Workers can be geared up with extra equipment ordered in advance to fix key structures that may fail in an earthquake. Freeways can be emptied. Dangerous chemical freight can be prevented from passing through populated areas during the quake. Aircraft can be stopped from approaching a potentially damaged runway. Weak water reservoirs can have their water levels lowered in advance. Tourists can be made to stay away. All of these measures can substantially reduce casualties and economic disruption.

However, some nations are going one step further and creating additional systems, in the form of gigantic engineering projects. To protect the most earthquake-prone regions, a network of "lubrication wells" is being established. These man-made channels penetrate deep underground, to the very edge of the mantle. They work by injecting nanotechnology-based fluid or gel into fault lines, making it easier for rock layers to slide past each other. Explosive charges can also be dropped at strategic points, in zones where the lubrication might be less effective. Instead of sudden, huge earthquakes, the network induces a series of much smaller earthquakes. Using this method, an earthquake of magnitude 8.0 can be buffered down to magnitude 4.0 or lower, causing little or no damage to structures on the surface. In coastal locations, tsunamis can also be prevented.

This is a carefully controlled process – requiring heavy use of AI – and is by no means perfect. There are complex legal and liability issues in the event of accidents. For instance, damage from human-induced earthquakes cannot be excused as an "act of God."

Despite these technical and legal hurdles, it would seem that mankind is gaining the power to control even the most destructive aspects of nature.*


22nd century future earthquake control



Our solar system is passing through a million degree cloud of gas

The Sun is approaching a boundary between the Local Cloud of interstellar gas and another cloud of extremely turbulent gas – the latter is the remnants of supernova explosions that occurred millions of years ago.

The density of this medium is sufficiently low to pose no threat to Earth or any other planets. The heliosphere is reformed slightly, and the level of cosmic radiation entering the magnetosphere increases, but nothing more.

However, spacecraft and satellites may be damaged by these high energy particles unless they are upgraded.*


future solar system 2100 22nd century timeline
Credit: SRC/Tentaris,ACh/Maciej Frolow




Mind uploading enters mainstream society

Adequate hardware to support human-level intelligence was available as far back as the 2020s, thanks to the exponential progress of Moore's Law.* This made it possible to form simulations of neural processes.*

However, the underlying software foundation required for mind uploading proved to be a vastly greater challenge. Full transfer of human consciousness into artificial substrates posed enormous technical difficulties, in addition to raising ethical and philosophical issues.

The sheer complexity of the brain, and its inherent fragility – along with the many legislative barriers that stood in the way – meant that it was nearly a century before such technology reached the mainstream.

Some breakthroughs occurred in the latter decades of the 21st century, with partial transfer of memories and thought patterns, allowing some limited experience of the mind uploading process. However, it was only through the emergence of picotechnology and strong AI that sufficiently detailed scanning methods became available. This new generation of machines, being orders of magnitude faster and more robust, finally bridged the gap between organic human brains and their synthetic equivalents.

Initially tested on monkeys, the procedure was eventually offered to certain marginalised people including death row inmates and terminally ill patients. Once it could be demonstrated as being safe and reversible, the project garnered a steady stream of free and healthy volunteers, tempted by this new form of computerised immortality.

Years of red tape and legislation followed, including some of the strictest regulations ever enacted into law. Religious and conservative groups voiced their objections to what they saw as a fundamental violation of God's will. At times, this threatened to postpone the technology indefinitely. Eventually though, like so many other breakthroughs in science, the zeitgeist moved on. The level of demand for mind uploading proved to be enormous, and the treatment was made commercially available in the 2120s.

Today, citizens have access to special clinics in which their biological brains can be literally discarded in favour of artificial ones. Rather than simply "duplicating" a mind, the machine physically shifts the consciousness, like a sponge soaking up water. The brain is gradually replaced – piece by piece – so the original personality remains intact during the transition. This vital aspect of the procedure assuages the fear which many have of losing their identity.

For the wealthiest individuals, entire new bodies can be grown, into which the synthetic brains can be transplanted. These bodies may themselves be artificial, with options for partially cyborg or fully robotic replacements. Externally, they are often indistinguishable from real human bodies, but include many hi-tech add-ons and internal features boosting physical and mental abilities.

Not everyone is opting for these types of treatments, however. A significant percentage view them with extreme suspicion, as though somehow immoral and dehumanising. With each passing year, society is becoming increasingly fractured, with an ever-widening divide between those who seek to enhance themselves, and those who prefer to eschew such technology.


mind uploading software humans artificial brain computer 22nd century future technology singularity immortality
© Kts | Dreamstime.com



Large-scale civilian settlement of the Moon is underway

As a result of various new space elevators, huge numbers of Earth's citizens now have rapid, affordable and safe access to space. Dozens of permanent Moon colonies have been established. Nanotechnology self-assemblers enable these habitats to be constructed in a matter of hours or days.* Most are concentrated in the southern polar region, which has greater access to water.*

Advances in genetic engineering mean that humans can be fully adapted to the gravity of the Moon. In any case, scientists are developing a form of artificial gravity that will soon become available.

In addition to basic exploration and surveying, the main occupations for colonists at the moment are scientific and technological research. Almost all manual/physical tasks are handled by robots, giving more leisure time for the human residents.

Tourism is now a booming industry, with many thousands of people arriving on the Moon's surface each year for guided tours, even though VR simulations can recreate the Moon's environment in perfect detail. The most popular destinations are Mons Huygens (the highest mountain), Tycho (a prominent crater visible from Earth) and the Apollo landing sites.

A very large telescope is also operational, for long-distance astronomical observations. The lack of atmosphere and other conditions gives it a tremendous advantage over Earth-based telescopes.*


future moon colonies 2100 civilian settlement space travel technology 22nd century
© Luca Oleastri | Dreamstime.com




A North American Union is taking shape

The 21st century witnessed a dramatic rebalancing of America's power, with much of its influence being lost to China and India. However, there were also developments closer to home, with a remodelling of the relationship to her neighbours.

A gradual stagnation of the white population, and simultaneous growth of Hispanics, offered the first hints of what lay ahead. This trend would continue long into the future, with Latin American immigrants eventually dominating the southwestern states and Mexico becoming a fully developed nation.*

Alongside this, Canada began to experience a population and economic surge almost unparalleled in its history. Soaring global temperatures were providing access to a treasure trove of natural resources, previously locked up in the frozen north – even as the US was being ravaged by drought, flooding, wildfires and other adverse conditions. With Canada's environment now vastly more favourable, newcomers flocked in their millions to its cheap, wide, green lands.*

After decades of further homogenisation and cultural interchange between each of the three nations, US power has continued to wane, both at home and abroad. Meanwhile, national borders are becoming increasingly irrelevant in the world at large. Ongoing globalisation, the birth of a single world currency, the dominance of AI in government, a defection of citizens to online "virtual states" (making physical territories less important), and other technological advances have all contributed to this. Europe has already formed its own superstate, while parts of Asia are now converging too.

In light of all this, the USA begins talks with Canada regarding a North American Union. With a more globalised, supranational sentiment emerging, they are gradually unified under a single political system – strengthening the power and influence of both.

Mexico eventually joins too. In later decades, further expansion of the union occurs with even Cuba, the Dominican Republic and other parts of the Caribbean seeing integration. By the end of the 22nd century, the whole of North and South America has joined to become the "American Union", paving the way for a truly united world government in the 23rd century.


north american union future map
Credit: El_bart089



"Perfect" simulations of one cubic metre

In the early 21st century, supercomputers used a simulation technique called lattice quantum chromodynamics, performing calculations by essentially dividing space-time into a four-dimensional grid. With a resolution based on the fundamental physical laws, they could simulate only a tiny portion of the universe accurately – on the scale of one 100-trillionth of a metre, slightly larger than the nucleus of an atom.*

At best, algorithms were able to demonstrate the strong nuclear force among protons and neutrons and its effect on nuclei and their interactions. This was achieved in femto-sized universes where the space-time continuum was replaced by a lattice, with spatial and temporal sizes on the order of several femto-metres or fermis and whose lattice spacings (pixelations) were fractions of fermis. Lattice gauge theory revealed new insights into the nature of matter, but was still fairly limited in scope.


22nd century technology future 2100 2150 timeline simulation grid quantum


However, computer power and information technology in general were growing exponentially. In fact, they had followed a remarkably smooth and predictable trend throughout the 20th century.* This growth rate continued its consistent path in the 21st and 22nd centuries.*

By 2140, a region of space measuring 1 cubic metre can be simulated in near-perfect detail, down to the smallest quantum unit.* This landmark in physics has profound applications. It soon paves the way for larger simulations of two metres, providing absolutely accurate representations of the entire human body. Scientific experiments on these and similar-sized objects can now be literally as controlled as they can be – with data obtained far more reliably and much faster than in real-world and real-time settings.

Holodeck-style environments become possible in the latter half of this century, as these simulations continue to increase in detail and spatial extent, reaching tens of metres and greater. This offers a level of realism that was unavailable with full-immersion virtual reality. To an observer placed in these miniature universes, it would be almost impossible to distinguish reality from fantasy.


quantum simulation sizes 22nd century technology timeline




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1 "An analysis of the history of technology shows that technological change is exponential, contrary to the common-sense 'intuitive linear' view. So we won't experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century — it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today's rate). The 'returns,' such as chip speed and cost-effectiveness, also increase exponentially. There's even exponential growth in the rate of exponential growth. Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to the Singularity — technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history. The implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence..."
The Singularity is Near
, by Ray Kurzweil (2005)

2 Lanier’s Singularity, H+ Magazine:
Accessed 1st September 2010.

3 See Sea Levels.

4 Lilypad, a floating ecopolis for climate refugees, vincent.callebaut.org:
Accessed 16th July 2009.

5 Green Float, Shimizu Corporation:
Accessed 8th January 2014.

6 Marine pollution, Wikipedia:
Accessed 8th January 2014.

7 Emperor penguins could be virtually extinct by 2100, scientists say, Telegraph.co.uk:
Accessed 19th September 2009.

8 Warming May Cause 30% of Land Birds to Go Extinct, Study Says , Bloomberg.com:
Accessed 19th September 2009.

9 "Force fields" are more than just science fiction. They are perfectly possible within the laws of physics, according to Michio Kaku – one of the world's leading futurists. He predicts use of this technology "within a century or so".
See Physics of the Impossible, by Michio Kaku:

Accessed 9th September 2009.

10 "According to Discovery Channel's documentary on the pyramid it would be complete within the year 2110."
See New Mega-City Challenge – Concept, Geekwidget:
Accessed 1st December 2013.

11 Masdar City, Wikipedia:
Accessed 9th June 2016.

12 Five real-world arcologies under construction, Wired:
Accessed 1st December 2013.

13 See 2050.

14 New skyscraper technology allows lifts to reach over 1 km, Future Timeline Blog:
Accessed 1st December 2013.

15 "One of the most radical ideas is to build vast numbers of "superskyscrapers". Far taller than conventional skyscrapers, these buildings will gradually come to dominate cities, from London to Moscow, and house millions of people who currently live in the countryside or the suburbs."
The way we'll live next
, The Telegraph:
Accessed 3rd January 2018.

16 The Tallest 20 in 2020: Entering the Era of the Megatall, Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat:
Accessed 1st December 2013.

17 See 2100.

18 New skyscraper technology allows lifts to reach over 1 km, Future Timeline Blog:
Accessed 1st December 2013.

19 "A smart though far-off solution, Wood says, would be to replace cabled elevators with electromagnetically propelled cars. Occupants could be strapped in, rather like on theme park rides, and whisked to their in-building destinations through shafts running horizontally as well as vertically. 'That would be the single biggest breakthrough in tall buildings,' Wood says. 'The minute you have elevators go horizontal, you can reduce the number of shafts in the building. You could design one with just two shafts and have 80 cars working in a system where they pass each other.'"
Taller: How Future Skyscrapers Will Beat the Burj Khalifa, Popular Mechanics:
Accessed 1st December 2013.

20 The Age of Spiritual Machines, by Ray Kurzweil (1999).
Accessed 20th June 2009.

21 "... Perhaps a hundred years from now, geophysics will have mapped the faults in Earth's crust and geological engineers will have installed lubrication wells to modulate the tectonic-induced slippage so as to reduce sudden, large shocks."
See Can earthquakes be tamed?, MSNBC:
Accessed 11th June 2010.

22 Ribbon at Edge of Our Solar System: Will the Sun Enter a Million-Degree Cloud of Interstellar Gas?, Science Daily:
Accessed 15th July 2010.

23 The Singularity is Near, by Ray Kurzweil (2005)
Accessed 19th July 2009.

24 See 2025.

25 3-D Printing Device Could Build Moon Base from Lunar Dust, Space.com:

Accessed 18th April 2010.

26 Now It's Official: There Is Water on the Moon, TIME:
Accessed 18th April 2010.

27 Giant Telescope Mirrors For The Moon Could Be Made With Carbon, Epoxy And Lunar Dust, Science Daily:
Accessed 18th April 2010.

28 The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century, George Friedman:
Accessed 25th October 2009.

29 Could global warming turn Canada into a superpower?, CTV News:
Accessed 3rd January 2018.

30 Do we live in a computer simulation? Researchers say idea can be tested, Future Timeline Blog:
Accessed 10th January 2013.

31 Exponential Growth of Computing, Singularity.com:
Accessed 10th January 2013.

32 The Singularity is Near, by Ray Kurzweil:
Accessed 10th January 2013.

33 Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation, Silias R. Beane. et al., University of Washington:
Accessed 10th January 2013.


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