Damn that was bad.
Anyway, I was recently asked to write a short story for a science fiction anthology. It had some pretty particular guidelines which focused on near future, near earth events. As part of the project, I started with a timeline – of things which have yet to happen. So I simply gazed into THE FUTURE!
Or Google. Whatever.
I thought I might share my not-so-edited notes which formed the background of my story, One Lake, Three Hills:
General developments by the year 2100
Implants to enhance cognitive function and physical function.
Built-in VR capability.
Not really buying into the consciousness download thingy. (A Mind/Body problem better left for all those academic debates.)
AI will be close to passing the Turing test and be able to take over low complexity social jobs humans now hold.
Most “min wage” jobs will be wiped out in advanced countries. Robots, AI.
Global economic collapse will trigger wars that will remain mostly smaller-scale or conventional. Rich economies will retreat to nurse their wounds. Populations will thin. A Euro-Asian war is a distinct possibility with Russia at the center.
When the economy collapses, misguided policies will be put in place like FDR style stuff which worked in an industrial revolution. What we need though is a technology revolution capable plan and that won’t happen immediately.
2025 – Economic collapse presages global calamity and war. Russia’s economy will force it headlong into this. Propaganda has been blaming everyone else for so long, there won’t be internal targets. The US, hit hard economically and with growing distrust in the establishment, will not respond in force. NATO is incapable of containing the threat.
This second depression also precipitates a loss of physical things. Hoarding and consumerism becomes a thing of the past. Less is more is the mantra and people retreat into virtual spaces. Energy requirements put pressure on a power industry already dealing with severe political issues.
2035 – War draws to a close. Devastating losses in Europe. China comes in late and sweeps Russia to cement their hold on the North Pacific. Warfare has advanced space exploration in both countries because limited engagements have been taking place in high atmosphere / space. US remains isolationist.
2045 – New political lines are drawn. US innovation and entrepreneurship starts to kick into high gear. With new political realities and the disastrous consequences of local resource exploitation stacking up, the US is forced to abandon fossil fuels. Climate change has pushed populations inward. National forests stripped for mining, etc. New energy alternatives are furiously researched, many “clean initiatives” started and fail. Fusion is achieved.
2055 – US auto market is nearly gone, down to two companies (domestic autos mostly collapsed with the economy and imports are gone due to embargoes and inability to trade during the war.) The energy gap is filled with industrial batteries and charging stations from solar and other sources as fusion matures. A private company provides the first regular, non-military access to space using a space elevator.
2065 – Private company prints a space station in space after a giant solar powered industrial printer is launched. Robots assemble alongside humans. These robots are given minimal “personality” traits borrowed from low tech social jobs. Humans working there are common laborers – a market the US can’t fill. Us is mostly aging, virtual reality addicts. Only developing economies have the workers willing and able. South America, Africa, etc. Same labor forces are deployed to asteroids for mining colonies.
2075 – The new printed stations will launch us into a new age of space exploration. Commercial, leisure lead the way. Many will be looking for a promise of something better.
With the Second Great Depression long over, this generation will be the first seeing signs of physical immortality. The growing aging population will be a burden. Will see cybernetic people making appearances. Phones or personal devices do not exist as they are direct interfaces with the visual cortex and brain to simulate reality and provide HUDs / augment reality, etc.
2085 – Off-world colonization begins in earnest. There is now sufficient infrastructure in space to build off-planet and live without resupply. This was mostly tourism before but with all the work going on in space, permanent solutions have long been necessary. Space stations, the moon, Mars are built. Lagrange areas for science outposts and far-tourism (functioning small cities.) A new government is formed from space colonies, detached from earth. A quiet revolution of sorts which nobody has reach to control. A distributed, open source sort of government if you will.
2095 -Human missions into deep space begin.