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The 2020s

2020 2025 2029 2020s

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#1
Yuli Ban

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We're getting close to the start of the new decade, so why not create a decade-wide prediction thread? 

In this case, the only specific year you should focus on is 2029— and only as the end of the decade. Basically, if you have a prediction for what might happen in 2025, a decent recommendation is to run with it to the decade's end. 

For example: 

The first general-purpose utility humanoid robot will be released for commercial sale by 2025.

 

That's good, but not perfectly ideal since there's still some ambiguity. Does it sell well by 2030? Is it still an overpriced, niche product by the end of the decade? Don't meticulously go year by year unless you're willing to put in the time and effort. 


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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#2
tomasth

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I'm waiting to see how much can a BCI capture and how much of this can be decipher , in the next 5 years.


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#3
Raklian

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Spearheaded by the European Space Agency after the successes of the Heavy Falcon and Starship launches, a permanent colony on the moon will be settled in 2025 at the earliest.


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What are you without the sum of your parts?

#4
starspawn0

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I may write something later.  Here is what I wrote 4 years ago what the world of 2025 might look like:

 

https://www.futureti...k-like-in-2025/

 

2025 is about 6 years away.  If you count late 2025, it's closer to 7.  

 

I wrote that before Google Home, and just after Alexa was released, back when it was barely functional.  Since then, it has improved "exponentially".  And remember, we now have Google Duplex, and Alibaba's version, which is even better (by a mile, according to reports).

 

Use of Home and Alexa, and also virtual assistants via voice has been increasing exponentially, particularly among young people.  Most of my Assistant interactions are by voice.

 

Some of what I predicted has already come to pass, such as the news summary feature, which is now possible, though maybe not yet deployed (Salesforce had some research on this that made a splash a year or two ago; Facebook, too).

 

Machine reading has also greatly improved.  It's not yet good enough to read documents to check complicated numerical logic; but it can now answer factoid -- and even more sophisticated -- questions with good accuracy.  This is how Google Home is able to answer so many questions -- it can read Wikipedia and find answers, saying, "Here's what I found... [quotes Wikipedia or gives direct answer]."

 

Probably the tech is good enough now to translate domain-restricted documents to formal representations with good accuracy; and formal reasoning engines can check the logic.  So, the machine-reading part of my prediction is also possible, given that restriction.  But you would need somebody to actually write the domain-specific reading and reasoning system.

 

This is probably a dead-end, though.  The future will be to use a unified reading-reasoning system with a giant neural net.  They will probably either be built by infusing brain data, and/or pretraining on large amounts of text + fine-tuning of some kind.  I don't see a future in external, hard-coded symbolic reasoning systems.

 

The self-driving cars will be here by 2025.  Level 4, not level 5.  And some small percent of the population will be using them -- next-gen TESLAs.

 

The construction robots will be here, too.  They are starting to take over brick-laying, surveying, and other jobs.  Many more will be done by robot by 2025.  They're not general-purpose, though.

 

Digital driver's licenses are starting to appear.  I don't know how many states use them, probably about 10 to 15 right now.  In the past year or two many more have been looking into it.  Maybe most states will allow it in 5 years.  Many now allow you to use digital car insurance cards; and some don't even ask you for it, if you get pulled over -- they have it in their computers, already.

 

China is far ahead of the U.S. in terms of biometric identification.  You really can buy stuff in some stores there, just using your face.  Some European countries, like Sweden, are going cashless.  And more and more restaurants and stores in the U.S. are going cashless, too.  A few of the restaurants I eat at are cashless.  Occasionally, I pull money to pay, and they remind me they are cashless.

 

We now have Apple's FaceID.  The tech will get better and better, and harder and harder to hack or defeat.

 

We also have cashierless stores starting to appear, such as Amazon Go.  Who could have predicted it would arrive so soon?

 

Farmbots are getting better, too.  There are experimental farms managed entirely by robot.  Maybe by 2025 we will see this expand.  Maybe I was too optimistic there.

 

As to people moving out of cities and using VR, I was probably too optimistic.  I was probably also too optimistic about AI prescribing medicine; but I think diagnosis will be pretty good by 2025.  Babylon Health is working on it; and maybe Deepmind will make a big splash on this -- not really the kind of project they tend to focus on, but they have signalled an interest in helping advance automated diagnosis.

 

I was probably too pessimistic about tech unemployment, though it depends on whether there is an economic downturn around 2025, as these tend to cause high unemployment and rapid automation.

 

One thing I didn't predict at all was the coming BCI revolution.  I only first became aware of what is coming late in 2015, early 2016.

 

I'll get back to this with some predictions about 2029.

 

The main things to keep in mind are:  don't focus on a specific company, as companies are fickle; and be mindful of the difference between what's possible in theory, and what will actually be deployed.

 

Addendum:  one thing to keep in mind is that when this future arrives, it won't feel futuristic.  It will seem as though nothing has really changed.  That's just how the mind works.  "We were promised a glorious future.  Sure, we've got supercomputer smartphones thay can talk to us and answer our questions, but that's not really very futuristic."  

 

Some of the things might be here already, that people aren't even aware of.  Digital driver's licenses is one example.  How many know whether their states allow them?


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#5
Yuli Ban

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World News

  • Brexit is a catastrophe in every sense of the word. It's a No-Deal Brexit with nowhere near enough preparation. An initial period of calm (and gloating by the Leavers over the world not immediately ending) descends into panic as food becomes scarcer and scarcer, military police have to patrol the streets, and previously controversial anti-privacy measures are forced through with gusto by the Conservatives as a means of "protecting national security." Scandals rage over news that the wealthy/aristocrats are hoarding or importing food while the common people starve and both sides try to own the rage. It triggers far too much stress for the UK to handle, and the nation enters an economic depression and either turns into an authoritarian socialist soviet-style republic under Jeremy Corbyn or breaks apart altogether. This frames much of the 2020s in Europe as they have to deal with a brand new "white migrant crisis" coming from the UK and Ireland (because there's no chance Ireland escapes this mess). The Troubles flare up again in Northern Ireland, but with renewed ferocity due to economic hardships. The spectacular failure of Brexit casts an extremely negative shadow over other populist/rightist movements in Europe and Euroscepticism changes into a policy of reforming the EU from within.
  • Germany lurches to the left with the rise of the Green Party and collapse of Alternative fur Deutschland.
  • Trump wins re-election in 2020 against either Beto O'Rourke or Kamala Harris, but has to deal with the Democratic House and Senate. The Dems have a majority in the House as well as a majority of governorships on top of grassroots momentum from the progressives and socialists. If Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders emerge victorious in the primary, however, they will have a much better shot against Trump.
  • The USA starts the decade in the middle of a strong economic recession. It would have been mild had it not been for the trade war, which has been prolonged by Trump.
  • China has averted recession at the start of the decade, but their growth remains relatively lethargic.
  • Hong Kong is absorbed into the mainland by 2029.
  • Underneath China's surface of stability and harmony, there is increasing tension out west in Xinjiang. It is likely that it will be proven China is running Holocaust-style concentration camps for Muslims.
  • India undergoes its first economic contraction in the post-GFC era, casting doubt on its ability to overtake China.
  • The Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam become the new Asian Tigers, with Vietnam reaching the level of "high income country" by the end of the decade.
  • Africa continues to industrialize, and this leads to the rise of nationalist sentiments that may transform into home-grown fascism in various countries. However, in others, democratic republicanism will spread and the first place that begins seeing extremely high levels of development is sub-Saharan Africa, particular Namibia.
  • Chinese investment into Africa will also continue, and some nations will be further caught in debt traps as China slowly buys them out.
  • China will also create military bases in Africa.
  • There will likely be another major war in the Congo region, but it won't concern the major Western and Eastern powers at first until either one party gets its hands on WMDs or a fascistic faction emerges victorious and vows to create an expansionist Pan-African superstate.
  • A US-Venezuela war is unlikely, but there will be a civil war that will double as a proxy war of the US vs Russia and China. It will resolve itself with Maduro remaining in power and taking an even more hardline stance against the USA and Brazil, likely coming with the total expropriation of all capitalist assets to end the financial crisis.
  • Brazil survives Bolsonaro relatively unchanged due to a stream of corruption scandals that eviscerates his popularity.
  • Vladimir Putin dies before finishing his term, leading to a new election. Though the West plays up fears of an ultranationalist or communist coming to power (as well as pipe dreams of a pro-Western liberal in the Kremlin), the United Russia party shores up a victorious replacement who lacks Putin's charisma but otherwise will keep the status quo going.
  • Efforts to crush the Kurds early in the decade come to a screeching halt when Erdogan dies while ISIS re-emerges to counter Assad's attempt at restoring rule. An anarcho-socialist Kurdistan eventually takes shape.
  • The death of Erdogan has catastrophic effects in Turkey, where the political climate is polarized between the liberal opponents and conservative supporters, resulting constant strife going forward.
  • The House of Saud collapses sometime this decade. Much of the family escapes overseas, and those left behind are butchered by radicals not unlike the events of the Russian Revolution. What rises in its place is a shaky republic filled with radical liberals and radical traditionalists vying for power. Saudi Arabia will likely descend into a balkanized mess of states where warlords vie for power, with only a few pockets of stability.
  • The war in Yemen, thus, comes to a satisfyingly schadenfreudistic end, though violence continues due to pre-existing issues of water scarcity.
  • The UAE manages to avoid much of the chaos in Saudi Arabia.
  • New Zealand is eventually declared "completely compromised" by the CCP.
  • Australia turns very hard to the left early in the decade and has to play catch up for renewable energy tech.

Wild Cards

  • A major world leader will be assassinated.
  • A radical, new tech-centric political philosophy takes root in colleges and online and becomes the most explosively controversial ideology since the publication of the Communist Manifesto.
  • Over the course of 100 days of social strife, the CCP falls and China is either partitioned or becomes a secular republic.
  • Following the collapse of Deutsche Bank and other institutions, Europe suffers a massive economic depression.
  • ISIS returns and takes Syria or Iraq.
  • Radical Islam begins to fade.
  • Another nuclear arms race begins, this time with China joining in. By 2029, at least four nations (USA, Russia, China, and France) have more than 1,000 nuclear weapons.
  • Last but not least, the AI arms race bears fruit by 2029, leading to...

Sci-Tech

  • Brain-computer interface technology matures this decade, and BCIs accelerate the development of artificial intelligence as well as powered cybernetics.
  • The first proto-artificial general intelligence will be created by 2024. It will constantly be an item in pop-science news articles claiming that it has achieved human-level general intelligence for the rest of the decade whenever it gets upgraded or does something incredible. It will almost certainly be a product of Google DeepMind.
  • DeepMind will be sold to SoftBank.
  • Media synthesis technology will mature early in the decade and rapidly improve, leading to "bedroom multimedia franchises" beginning to become a thing later in the decade.
  • Sometime before 2025, a 20+ minute animated short will be uploaded to YouTube and will go viral due to the fact it was at least mostly generated by an AI, with a human team having very little involvement in its creation. It will be a coherent, fully voice-acted endeavor with music pieces and won't be surreal, and each aspect except the narrative structure will be the result of algorithm-generation.
  • Also due to media synthesis, it will be a popular trend to take your own face and/or body and put it into a movie or video game as the decade goes on thanks to deepfake technology. The first major example might be someone replacing Keanu Reeves' face with their own and essentially 'starring' in the Matrix. It will also be possible to do this with voice.
  • A decentralized alternative web will take root early in the decade and become a sizable alternative later in the decade. However, due to the major search engines having superior capabilities, it will never become dominant at least this decade.
  • Global internet population surpasses 7 billion, and the remainder will theoretically have access via global internet schemes, meaning the only way they'll lack access is due to a lack of terminals (e.g. computers, smartphones, etc.) rather than a lack of availability.
  • The James Webb Space Telescope will detect some exoplanet into which scientists put serious credence the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
  • Autonomous weapons systems (the "formal" name for killer/combat robots) spread despite a UN ban.
  • Scientists achieve the creation of a room-temperature superconductor. What's more, they can even push the temperatures at which it can superconduct up to boiling temperatures. However, it will still require high pressure to create, leading to a new rush to create ambient-pressure RTSCs.
  • AI acceleration of scientific progress begins soon, and most likely is used to achieve ambient-pressure RTSCs as well as stable fusion reactors.
  • A manned lunar landing occurs by 2029.
  • Global solar capacity reaches 4 terawatts by 2029.
  • If the Middle East recovers from its strife by then, it will become a major hub of solar power. Baghdad in particular may become a "solar city."
  • Marijuana, hallucinogens, and empathogens will be decriminalized/legalized in most major Western countries by 2029 and used for medical research, especially to assist with he aforementioned BCIs.
  • 5G will bring the Internet of Things into the mainstream, especially if a global internet scheme comes about that will be able to provide 24/7 internet service without data caps.
  • Exascale computing is achieved very early in the decade
  • The first general-purpose quantum computers are finally created
  • Automation begins visibly stinging the job market in Western countries. This may begin leading to a Luddite backlash.
  • Electromagnetic orbs similar to Project MARAUDER are proven as possible to be created from high electric fields, but they seem to have little use.
  • Next generation beyond CRISPR used to create genetically-enhanced animals.
  • The first artificial intelligence "person" is created, though it's extremely controversial and seen as not different from the spectacle of Sophia the Robot's Saudi citizenship.
  • The Turing Test is passed before 2025. This will likely lead to a revised/modified Turing Test that will be passed by 2029.
  • The spread of BCIs makes augmented reality commercially viable as "texting by thinking" becomes possible.

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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#6
kendall1287

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  •  turns into an authoritarian socialist soviet-style republic under Jeremy Corbyn 

Huh? Is this real? A social democrat is going to turn the UK into an "authoritarian socialist soviet style republic"? What even is this?


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#7
Erowind

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  •  turns into an authoritarian socialist soviet-style republic under Jeremy Corbyn 

Huh? Is this real? A social democrat is going to turn the UK into an "authoritarian socialist soviet style republic"? What even is this?

 

 

Welcome to forum. Yuli is known for some outlandish predictions. If his trend holds a good third of the things up in that thread might actually happen. 


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#8
kendall1287

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Lol, I guess I got hit by Poe's Law. And the rest of them were super interesting and thought provoking, too, so that first one really threw me for a loop!


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#9
Zaphod

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Lol, I guess I got hit by Poe's Law. And the rest of them were super interesting and thought provoking, too, so that first one really threw me for a loop!

 

The terrifying thing is, I can't think of a good argument to say how that prediction definitely wont happen. 


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