Ever since film first became a medium of storytelling, people have been looking to the future and wondering if their own futures will be as filled with exciting new technologies as the images seen in film. Futurists have taken the long-term and shortened the time-scale and made a few predictions (not promises, mind you) about the next 365 days and what we can expect to happen in them.
The first prediction relates to the observation by several scientists that the sun has been decreasing in its activity for quite some time. Solar flares are few and far between, and in the past year they were down to an almost thirty year minimum. With the solar cycle moving to this new low, it’s expected to continue to decrease with time.
In addition, due to reports that the polar ice caps are melting (which is strange since temperatures have actually dropped globally in the past few years in spite of global warming) and an increase in the rainy season in south-east Asia, many are suggesting a massive flood will erupt and cover the land.
The birth rate in Europe, which has been steadily decreasing, will continue to drop, creating a decline in the population. Such an event has already been seen in Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, as well as Greenland. The decrease in population is happening due to health concerns mixed with low population replacement. Eastern Europe and Russia at the fall of the Soviet Union saw a fall in natality around this time. However, due to population trends, it’s expected Europe may follow these trends as well, and in future years the trend may even move to the United States.
Futurists have also said that the existence of the soul will be scientifically proven. Contrary to the predictions of philosophers who say the soul is an ethereal rather than a physical object, some neurophysiologists are certain they are mere week, perhaps months from finding the exact location of the soul. To find the physical location of the soul, however, may prove to be bad. If it’s physical and can be discovered it can be altered and removed. How long would it take for a philosophical or political mindset to arise that demanded its removal? Of course it has to be found first.
Households, it is predicted, will finally find themselves aided by physical androids that will assist with cleaning, cooking, and maintenance. Of course anyone who has been closely following the field of robotics will already know that robotics has jumped what appears to be several decades in the past two years. Already a robot exists that can walk with all the skill of a living creature. And a few months ago a robot was unveiled that has a roughly anthropomorphic figure and is able to play ping-pong with ease. Other robots have been created that are able to recognize facial expressions, play the violin, repair themselves if damaged, and work with others to form larger robots. Of course any that are put in households in the year 2010 will still likely be fairly primitive in comparison to those that would come twenty years later, but they will (it is predicted) finally be cheap and effective enough to make household products.
Only time will tell if any of these predictions will actually come true or not. Futurists have been riding the coattails of science fiction writers who are limited only by the boundaries of their imaginations. But if this trend continues, science fiction it seems, will soon be categorized as merely Fiction.