Here it is. Hope you like it.
Let me know if you think I should add/change anything. I decided to focus almost entirely on AI and robots. I may add the other suggestions as separate predictions following this.
An inflection point for human-AI interactions
By 2045, artificial intelligence (AI) has reached a level of development that is beginning to reshape human society and culture in profound ways. This year marks the date of the so-called technological singularity postulated by futurist Ray Kurzweil.* Although Kurzweil tended to be overly optimistic in a number of specific future predictions,** his basic premise of exponential growth in technology proved to be accurate.
Speculation abounds during this time, much like the build up to Y2K in 1999, the Mayan calendar predictions in 2012, and other such dates. The Internet is abuzz with rumours and singularity-related memes. While most of this talk is unfounded hype – with life carrying on as normal for most people – the "normal" of 2045 is changing at a pace that would seem alarmingly rapid to observers from earlier decades. The leaps in technology from 2020 to 2045 have been much more noticeable than those during the same timespan from 1995 to 2020.
Robots, for example, are now widespread in everyday society, their numbers having expanded by orders of magnitude in preceding decades.** They are ubiquitous in factories, farms and industrial environments, eliminating much of the traditional manual work of humans.** Additionally, these machines have gained visibility in more public settings, giving a futuristic look and feel to many cities, towns and suburbs. Similar to how touchscreen smartphones moved from science fiction to reality some 40 years earlier, these robots are quickly becoming accepted as a routine part of life. This includes fully automated waste collection in streets and parks, robotic cleaners in offices and hotels, robot security patrols, robots for grocery and other deliveries. Such applications had begun to emerge during the 2010s. Following exponential growth, they are a common sight by 2045. Furthermore, bipedal humanoid form factors account for a growing percentage of newly deployed units, particularly in homes and other indoor settings.
With a ten-thousand-fold improvement in computing power compared to 25 years previously,* robots in 2045 can perform a multitude of tasks independently and without human supervision.
Many years previously, advances in deep learning and natural language processing had made it possible to generate portions of text indistinguishable from a human writer, which led to chatbots passing the Turing test, a major landmark in the field. Alongside this natural language processing, AI gained the ability to master real world environments and an increasingly diverse range of 3D objects. Whereas earlier robots had been limited to "fixed" movements, the generation now emerging had more dynamism and flexibility – adapting to new situations and solving more and more problems. These capabilities received a boost from 5G and then 6G wireless communication and the exponentially growing amounts of data being gathered from sensors, allowing robots to learn from their experiences and disseminate knowledge to each other.
In the past, limited processing power meant that robots would often spend minutes identifying an object or situation and the interaction required. By 2045, however, these calculations can be performed in near real-time, enabling a much more human-like response. Although a few technological hurdles remain, this is close to what many would consider to be artificial general intelligence (AGI).*
In addition to their cognitive abilities, some of the latest robots have gained extremely lifelike appearances. The most advanced models are now crossing the 'Uncanny Valley', with faces and bodies that appear almost
– but not quite entirely
– like a real person.* This bizarre and disturbing phenomenon is fuelling demand for more natural-looking facial expressions and limb movements. The problem is solved by user feedback (the robots can auto-detect a person's emotional response – good or bad), combined with techniques such as motion capture, in a process that is somewhat similar to generative adversarial networks. These subtle iterations of data are used to determine the "best" appearance and movement, allowing gradual optimisation in successive generations of machines. 3D printed bones, amounting to all 206 in the human anatomy, along with new materials developed for more flexible skin and muscles, as well as more realistic eyes and teeth, help to iron out the remaining issues.
These cutting-edge prototypes are rarely seen by average members of the public, being mostly restricted to government, corporate, and research institutions, households of the rich and famous, TED talks and so on. Less advanced models are now relatively common in society, however. They are popular for those in upper-middle income brackets and are comparable in cost to a second car or similar major purchase. Their roles include household chores such as cleaning, cooking and tidying, as well as looking after children and elderly family members.*
Although typically geofenced within the owner's property and/or local neighbourhood, these androids can also be seen further afield. They serve as excellent training partners on sports grounds, running tracks, parks and other leisure settings. Being able to replicate movements, it is possible to play against the recreation of a tennis champion, for example – or fight against a famous boxer. With the right motion capture, an owner can even play against a version of themselves if they desire.
Androids had emerged in the sex industry some decades earlier, though in rudimentary forms with limited functionality. The sex robots of 2045 are incomparably more sophisticated and engaging, to the point that many customers (mostly men) are forming long-term relationships with machines. Human-robot marriages are legalised in some jurisdictions in the latter half of this decade.**
There are many moral, ethical, legal, economic and philosophical issues around the proliferation of robots in society – all of which contribute to a growing sense of "future shock" around this time.
Other singularity-like effects are emerging in 2045. This includes the ever more rapid progress of brain-computer interfaces, enabling deeper integration of AI and human intelligence, going beyond medicine and into consumer uses such as gaming and VR, as well as education. On-person technology in general is becoming exquisitely compact and miniaturised – such as bionic eyes nearing human levels of visual acuity* and single-chip devices now approaching the size of individual blood cells.* Meanwhile, the option to extend one's lifespan appears to be a realistic prospect, thanks to recent success in human rejuvenation trials.
The rapid growth of AI and robotics, alongside many other disruptive technologies, is occurring at a time of geopolitical turmoil, as the world grapples with a convergence of social, economic and environmental issues the likes of which have never been seen before. This volatility and the sheer pace of change is creating a "mental blur" for many people in 2045 – a sense that humanity is reaching a pivotal moment in history.
1. The Singularity is Near, by Ray Kurzweil
2. Kurzweil's 2009 was our 2019:
3. Timing the Singularity, Part 1
Kartik Gada, YouTube
4. Industrial robot population, 1990-2040:
5. Personal service robot population, 2000-2050:
6. 2025-2050 – Technological unemployment is rising rapidly:
https://www.futuretimeline.net/21stcent ... #2025-2050
7. 2039 – Manufacturing jobs have largely disappeared in the West:
https://www.futuretimeline.net/21stcent ... uring-jobs
8. Moore’s Law 1970-2100:
9. Viewpoint: When Will AI Exceed Human Performance? Evidence from AI Experts
10. Uncanny valley
11. Strategic Trends Programme: Global Strategic Trends - Out to 2045, Ministry of Defence:
https://espas.secure.europarl.europa.eu ... 202045.pdf
12. Humans will be marrying robots by 2045
https://canoe.com/news/world/humans-wil ... ts-by-2045
13. A.I. expert David Levy says a human will marry a robot by 2050
https://www.cbc.ca/radio/day6/episode-3 ... -1.3921101
14. See 2048:
https://www.futuretimeline.net/21stcent ... ionic-eyes
15. World's smallest single-chip system is <0.1 mm³
https://www.futuretimeline.net/blog/202 ... me-mm3.htm