Top 10 Visions Of The World In 1000 years

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“What will the world will be like in 1,000 years” seems like an absurd question to even ask, especially since the degree to which the world changes in 100 years is overly ambitious enough to consider.  Yet curious people do wonder, and certain people like Ray Kurzweil (thought by many to be the Thomas Edison of today) spend all their time working to find the answers.

In honor of our 1,000th Toptenz article, Ray is going to take the podium to share with us some of his ideas about the future.  According to Ray, some of the same people living today will still be around in 1,000 years!  Technological visionary, leading inventor of our time, the recipient of the National Medal of Technology, inductee into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame, and the recipient of 19 Doctorates and Honors from 3 U.S. Presidents, Ray gives us the top ten reasons to look ahead.

10.  A Future With Aliens?

alien-contact

Contact with other species, other civilizations?  With technological advancements looming large in the distance, a future with aliens may in fact be on the horizon.  Ray believes that advancements in technology will soon enable us to travel farther and longer into space, where we may encounter other planets and other life.

According to Arthur C. Clarke, another futurist, inventor, and science-fiction writer, technology is advanced enough already for us to make contact with aliens.  To our good humor, some people already believe they have come in contact with alien life, and television shows like “Alien Hunters” and the like are around to prove it.  Ray, more of a humanist than an alien hunter, focuses more on technology and of the progress of humankind and our current world, which takes us to our next topic – the future of the Earth itself.

9.  The Future Of The Earth?

future-earth

When people think of the future, they tend to think of the planet Earth, and the mark we are leaving on its oceans and forests, and the havoc we have brought to it.  Which lands will be swallowed up by rising sea levels?  About climate changes: how to support a rapidly growing population in respect to food, fuel and natural resources?

Many pessimists foresee the worst (many doubt we will even survive another 1,000 years).  Material greed is swallowing up the Earth’s resources faster than it can replenish itself.  The future, in this vein, sounds rather dark, but Ray believes technology is going to help solve many environmental problems.

Still, who can stop asteroids and comets from colliding with the Earth?  Who can keep it from spinning off its axis like a marble shot out of bounds on the play yard?  And what about exploding stars in space shooting out bursts of gamma-rays stronger than millions of atomic bombs in far-away galaxies, with power strong enough to obliterate everything within millions of light years?  What kind of future exists for the Earth then?  According to Ray, much more interesting things, and less destructive possibilities, are on the horizon.

8.  Solutions To Energy And Environmental Concerns?

nanotechnology

Ray believes that environmental and energy concerns can, and will, be solved with technological solutions in the future.  He claims that that the Earth will not turn into a polluted, over-crowded, tumultuous wasteland, but instead believes that nanotechnology will be capable of cleaning up environmental damage, meet our energy needs, purify water and air, and capture the energy of the Sun through solar panels and more.

He believes that we will meet our projected energy needs by 2030, with the development of these new technologies.  Will his overly-positive predictions win out to restore the planet Earth, or will the technology only be more waste to add to the heap?  Certainly the next 1,000 years will reveal the correct answers to Ray’s claims, either about our resourcefulness or about our inability to solve the problems we have created.

7.  Population Growth Problems Solved?

population-overload

1,000 years from now, the world population is estimated to be roughly 14 billion.  Although such predictions are unlikely to be accurate, the concern is real, and more and more people are working fast and hard for solutions.  Will engineered food solve hunger and meet with growing food needs, or will it prove to be harmful to our health and environment in the end?

According to Ray, one day we will take in our nutrition like plants take in the sun, and as technology grows more advanced, our dependence on the Earth’s resources with become less and less.  Sounds like something straight out of a science fiction book, only better, if it proves to be true.

6.  Technology Of The Future

merge-with-technology

Ray calls it “the singularity,” a time when technology itself will merge with those creating it.  From devices in our eyeglasses and contact lenses, to displays being written directly into our retinas, emergent technology will not only change us, but will change everything.  There will be a time when we can use space itself to generate energy.

By changing our DNA, Ray believes that farther and farther space travel will be possible.  Sound like a technological utopia?  Certainly.  Taking it a step further, the technology we are currently creating will soon grow more intelligent than we are.  What to do then?  Simple: merge with that technology in order to compete.  Due to our slower evolutionary processes, only by doing this will we be able to survive against the uprising of future intelligent machines.  One day soon, Ray says, you will not be able to tell the difference between human and artificial intelligence.  This brings us to the next section on our list: intelligent machines.

5.  Visions Of Intelligent Machines

man-and-robot

The emergence of intelligent machines, Ray believes, will quantify in the future as another species, regardless of whether we encounter life outside of our solar system or not.  He believes we will be sharing our planet with robots, who will soon surpass our own intelligence, and only by becoming like the technology we create, will we be able to compete with those intelligent machines.  Ray says “the result will be an intimate merger between the technology-creating species and the technological evolutionary process it spawned.”

Ray explains extensively the exponential growth of technology versus the growth of evolutionary processes.  Intelligent machines will make it imperative to change ourselves and, in the process, we will be changing the evolution of life through intelligent machines.

4.  Space Exploration In 1,000 Years

galaxies

Humanity has not kept its feet on the ground and, whether it be to the limits of the Earth or our own biology, we are always on a quest to discover and explore our world, and the space beyond it.  In 1,000 years, just how far will we have gone?  According to Ray, we will have mapped out much more of the the cosmos.  We will be able to foretell future cosmological occurrences that can affect the Earth, and the repercussions that any those events could incur for humankind.

The biggest reason for space exploration, however, is not only to discover how the universe works, but to scout out new and interesting planets that have the potential to support human life, should unfavorable conditions appear.  So far, possible planets to live on that we have discovered are too far out of our reach, which brings us to our next section on the list.

3.  The Future Of Space Travel

Astronaut-in-space

Futurist Arthur C. Clarke, considered a visionary about space travel, believes it is only a matter of time before we have safe and economical space propulsion systems.  The questions, however, are not just in building that technology and making it affordable, but to change ourselves to withstand the negative effects that space travel has on the human body.  Ray believes that we will soon be able to alter our own DNA with emerging technology in order to withstand space travel, as DNA does not fare well in space. By doing so, we will be able to take farther and farther journeys out into space.

2.  Progress With Extending Human Life?

nanobot-dna

Of all that has been listed, number two probably has the most evidence to support it, specifically in recent years. Gerontologists and scientists are finding more and more evidence that the aging process can be slowed down.  Ray speaks extensively on how nanotechnology and nano-bots will slow the aging process, by travelling into the bloodstream to destroy pathogens, reverse the aging process, and correct DNA errors.  To add to that, Ray even talks about downloading the mind into another carrier, which is easily the most unlikely, but most thought-provoking, idea that Ray has introduced yet.

1.  Future Visions Of The Obliteration Of Death

immortal-man

If stopping the aging process wasn’t enough to shock you, try taking it even farther by saying that future technologies will stop aging completely, one day making death obsolete.  Ray believes that, one day, humans will live forever.  He refutes the idea that “the purpose of life is to accept death,” that “death always means a profound loss in relationships, talent and potential, but that up until now we have had no choice but to rationalize it.”

In Ray’s earlier book, “Fantastic Voyage:  Live Long Enough to Live Forever,” Ray writes about how people can start taking steps now to extend their lives, until the advancements in medical technology have a chance to catch up.  Nanotechnology will develop over time, becoming more capable to repair and restore our body parts.  Biotechnology is advancing and will soon make it possible to turn on and off enzymes, the workhorses of biology.  Current medical technology is taking its first steps in using these techniques to destroy HDL in the blood to stop atherosclerosis, as well as many other diseases.  By creating ever-increasingly powerful technology, the future means extending human life.  Life expectancy grows longer and longer every year: where life expectancy was 37 years in the 1800’s, a thousand years from now, according to Ray, it may just be infinite!

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Technology merging with biology? There is no doubt you will peruse our Top Ten list with all kinds of skepticism, and you certainly should be; these are perhaps some of the most radical ideas about the future yet.  Still, for someone like Ray Kurzweil, who has accomplished great feats within his lifetime, is there some value in even considering it?  Whether you are a believer in science, futurists, in prophets or Gods, or merely in the “little things,” certainly these visions of the future are big enough to color your imagination, and light up a place where space, time and possibility surrounds us all on every side.


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40 Comments

    • Diogenes Mota on

      Well, in my humble opinion, space exploration demands means of knowing about different places over our Universe, being possible to be implemented through different means, not only tripulated missions. On the other hand, space travel is, to the most semantic meaning of traveling, to travel through the Cosmos.

  1. Space exploration is a very perplexing concept. Many people seem to have the same belief that time and technological innovation/expansion are proportional, and as more years pass – more technological advancements will come to fruition. Historically, this has been accurate. But, we are rapidly approaching the apex of this trend. At a certain point, things will level off because there will be no more room for improvement.

    Bringing me to my point of future space exploration. To make any significant progress or travel, it seems almost 100% necessary to accomplish faster-than-light (FTL) speed. This is something long thought to be impossible, a stance which has been tested and still upheld by research at the large haldron collider, Even if physical outer space FTL travel were possible with some new kind of fusion power or propulsion system, it would be rendered impractical & useless without guidance. How can you safely travel faster than the speed of light without the ability to steer? This process couldn’t be manually done – humans can’t operate and react quick enough. It also couldn’t be automated – computers and processing (although I can’t speak to quantum computing) can only process and transfer data as fast as the speed of light (an issue we’re realizing now with demand for faster internet and computing speeds, there’s not much room for improvement).. Traveling at near or beyond light speed would be too dangerous because there would be no way to detect or avoid a collision. We can barely even detect objects that will impact the earth – a relatively stationary object!

    This is the only reason I doubt that significant gains are possible in the realm of manned space exploration. Voyager 1 currently travels at about 36,000 miles per hour. The speed of light is about 671 million miles per hour. That is an incredibly large gap to make up. Anything even remotely close or beyond 1 light year away from Earth will likely never be visited while humans still exist. Even nuclear pulse propulsion would take about 360 years to reach Proxima Centauri.

    • I think it is fair to make a couple of points on this:
      Firstly, We have not yet had the technological leap in energy management that we have had in information. The last 100 years is a measure of the potential for very large leaps in technology. taking the numbers above for the speed of light relative to the speed of the Voyager 1 as an example, Voyager 1 uses the same understanding of energy that we had 100 years ago. No great leap was utilised to get it to space or to accelerate it to 36K/mph. In contrast the difference between the rate of data processing 100 years ago and today is truly staggering. If one BIT of data was instead 1km/h well then we would have achieved speed of light travel. The downside to this is that we don’t know when if if such a breakthrough will occur – we can only keep trying.
      On a second point – Christopher Columbus did not know when he set out across the Atlantic, that he would not simply sail of the edge of the world – many thought he could. He had no destination, no map and ever posibility of grounding, hitting sea ice, or for anybody at that time knew – sailing of the edge.
      I don’t expect to see light speed travel in my lifetime – but I do expect to see heroic and slightly nuts humans sailing into the black-yonder without a map or compass, never to return.

  2. The world won’t be here in a thousand years. I doubt it lasts another 10 years. I hope I’m wrong but I don’t believe I am.And no,I’m not one of those predictors.But you would have to be blind to not see how fast this world is decaying,morally and otherwise. And it’s demise is accelerating at a faster pace everyday.

    • Information communication technology is increasing accountibality. I bet the world is a lot more moral than you would think. As the world becomes more and more informed, enlightened, and overall wise, people will develope a beautiful understanding of community and morality that will be embraced and practiced throughout an ageless society. Or it won’t, I haven’t seen the future. I have, however, seen the past, and it would appear that what people put their energy into anticipating is what occurs… So don’t jinx us Dennis! The glass isn’t just half full, it is overflowing with reasons to be optimistic.

      • I completely agree with you Cory.
        Most people don’t really do their research well enough, or as I read recently- “History is written by the top 1% while everyone else is doing the work”. At no other time in history would humans leave their homestead unsecure for days at a time in the sure knowledge that everything will be there when they return. Increasingly petty crime rates around the world are dropping. I cannot speculate as to why but I choose to believe that it is as you suggest.
        The other refreshing thing I read lately was to this effect;
        “Stop worrying about unsustainable systems, whether that is capitalism, oil consumption or anything else, unsustainable systems by their very nature, eradicate themselves.”
        Stop thinking that there is an overarching innate morality to existance – there is not. Make your own morality – if it is sustainable, then you will at some point find yourself among like-minded people. You need not do anything about the ‘others’.

  3. a complaint regarding no 1…. LDL is the bad cholesterol that needs to be lowered (destroyed), not HDL. HDL is actually the good guy in fighting atherosclerosis. thought that needed to be pointed out, it could cause confusion

  4. What an amazing list! It really fires up the imagination as to what the future will be like. Moreover I also contemplated the reverse i.e what people 1000 years ago thought what 2012 would be like. I was truly shocked by the life expectancy within the 1800s of around 45 years!! Nowadays people are able to live a lot longer as a result of modern medicine.

  5. make this page a drinking game, every time you read the word “technological” or “science fiction” take a drink. haha you’ll be drunk before u finish reading.

    In 1000 years (if humanity even exists) there will be waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more than 14 billion. the more people the faster we populate. no way in a thousand years we wont even be 3 times more than we are now. it will be more like 50 billion+ (not taking into account of new rules or regulations that haven’t yet been created to kill the population) like if uve ever seen the movie “In Time” everyone lives forever but only the people that can afford it. that’s how they keep the population down. Also on that note if uve ever seen it people wont want to live forever. death is a part of life, like ying is to yang.

    another thing.. Einstein designed a machine that creates artificial gravity in space so our body’s wont deteriorate. Whats the point in messing with our DNA to try an alter it when we have a simple machine that would work the same? get your facts down (or watch “a space odyssey”) before posting articles about space.

  6. This is NOT a list of ten views of the future. It is a list of ten aspects of a single techno-enthusiast masturbatory fantasy. All hail technology, it will solve all our problems (except for the one that really counts, and that’s that we can’t figure out how to get along with each other).

  7. Rachael Watts on

    Amazing this post! I do believe that there is another planet and there are civilization on that planet to whom we call aliens. I love to read this article about future of this earth, technology. Hey! tell me one thing do you really think we can contact aliens? If I could meet them 🙁 … I like your website and always I read new updated article which you shared with us. Believe me your website is superb, love it.

  8. If this had been about the next 100 years, all right, I can accept some of these predictions. In a 1000 years? We’re talking a time span equal to that from (roughly) William the Conqueror or the first crusade until the present day. Thinks of the technological advancements over that time – it’s just too much to even begin to describe.

    In a 1000 years, we might be immortal, have mastered time travel and teleportation, faster-than-light travel etc etc. Remember, we went from patenting the first lightbulb to Mars Rovers in 150 years or so.

  9. Dan Holland on

    I dont believe alot of the above predictions I seriously doubt humanity will exist for long enough. Our end will appear from space in the form of a huge rock.
    Sadly our greed and self destructive ways will be our down fall.

    • “Our end will appear from space” and “our greed and self-destructive ways will be our downfall” So a greedy person will drag a giant asteroid to earth to mine it for minerals and in the process destroy us all? I think you win for the least thought out comment ever posted on this page and that is quite an accomplishment.

  10. Death will never be obsolete and there are no aliens to contact. Get used to it. You’re leaving this earth one day,pal. You may be a hundred years old, and I hope you are, but you’re going.

    • I don’t see death as ever being osbolute. Even IF we could prolong life to 200 years, an accident would eventually get us all (statistics catch up). We all will die and we fantasize about all kinds of things to avoid the human questions of life.

      Technology will reach an apex era as there are only so mnay things to improve on. We need to work on our human problems first or we wont need any technology in the future.

  11. I love this idea of imagining life and technology in 1000 years. I think computers will be something we can access anywhere without an actual carrying device; we’ll be able to put our finger in the air and pull down a screeen of options. I would love to see a blog on this idea where people can just run with this idea. Ideas…

    good article and well written.

  12. The only way we will ever be able to soar around space is to be able to go at the speed of light. I hope someday that a brilliant young scientist can come up with a solution that will make Einstien’s theory of E=mc2 wrong. I believe that the CERN project is not for chasing protons and atoms around in a circle to see what the big bang is but to try to figure out a way to travel faster than the speed of light. CERN is a conspiracy theory. I am 66, I hope it happens in my life time.

    • LOL – David, I sure like you comment here, CERN is certainly not a conspiracy theory, But you are right about it’s objectives. Understanding the Big Bang is fundamental to our understanding the path of matter and energy ever since, and hence a roadmap to the manipulation of matter and energy. It is entirely likely that one of the many open and transparent peer reviewed research documents that are released from CERN regularly will indeed lead to information about faster than light travel. And I hope you see that in your life. Live well David!

    • We repost older articles when we add videos, on occasion. Now you get to see older lists that now have the bonus of being made into a video.

  13. the first one[#10]made me laugh. a possible Relationship with the aliens.the children being born are more and more technologically advanced,so much more Advanced than previous generations. they do live in their own world.

  14. Our knowledge has been compounded for years, we have come this far just from gathering knowledge from books and teachers starting at an age of around 5, only learning during the hours we are in school all the way up through college with years of homework and some life lessons or knowledge from our family, friends, and or mentors. Now we’re living in a time when curious children are born in a world where they have access to all the knowledge in the world put together at their fingertips from an iphone at any given time of day for how ever long their curious minds will continue typing in a Google search and how many different links they click within their search. it’s amazing to me to think about. and it’s unsettling to think of what some may do or not do with this amazing privilege. So with that said I truly believe that in the next 10-15 years- technological advances and so much more will start to grow at an exponential rate, which leaves everything in the realm of science fiction- possible. And to me it’s extremely exciting. I’m glad to be young enough to sit on the sidelines and watch how far we go from here. Cheers to knowledge! But to be realistic, a thousand years from now is so far away it’s almost impossible to predict. Who knows everything said in this article could happen even sooner then 1000yrs, and when we reach 3015 the human race may be way more ahead then any of our little minds could even imagine! Great article.

  15. Really??? This list has already been posted twice. I hope you aren’t running out of ideas!! Other Top 10 Websites have multiple new lists every day. Its disappointing!

    • This is an editorial issue. It will not happen again. Sorry for this. We have plenty of articles ready to be published. The editor was sick and didn’t have time to publish the new list. We reposted the first time to showcase the video.

  16. The Lord will bring forth Armageddon way before we destroy ourselves. The end is nigh!!!

    Just kidding. I’m actually Agnostic and don’t even believe in God. Besides, we humans can destroy ourselves just fine, thank you. If this doesn’t happen with gradually laying waste to the planet or nukes, etc., overpopulation will surely kill both the planet and the human parasite that lives on her. 14 billion in 1000 years? I seriously doubt it. Population growth has gone from the first billion in 1800 or so to over 7 billion in just 135 years. This growth will not last but will not just double in the next 1000 years. If you add in the growing life expectancy due to medical advances, we are truly screwed as a race. 14 billion? Don’t make me laugh.

  17. Total world population in 1,000 years only 14 billion? The hell?
    Our population doubles every 40 years.
    Try 200-300 billion.

    I think R

  18. 1.Study of nature and humans at submolecular level.
    Studies of How to control season, climate, control of period of earth night and day begins. Studies of How to Teleport humans are university courses

    2. Teleportation of objects and molecular organism achieved

    3. Avatar beings : vision and hearing and other senses of humans are transported or telescoped into Avatar bodies

    4.Ecological disasters stop. Earthquakes, hurricane are controlled to useful energy

    5. Interplanetary world cup. Earth vs mars.

    6.Huge gas reservoir from Jupiter and Saturn are minned by space exploration and mining companies

    7.Space cities ‘elysium’ in geostationary orbit.

    8. Telepathy: computers can read human thought with an interface, Send it to object or human recipient or translate to words or actions.

    9.Yoda abilities; Human Thought and voice or signal are used to operate device

    10. Advert or broadcast in 3D on cloud

    11. Babies are born in artificial womb. Natural birth is rare

    12. The age of methesulah. Mental and brain related illness are cured .Artificial human brain can be simulated and developed. Limbs, leg,arm other organs are produced in the laboratory to replace ailing ones. People living longer, disease are attack on cellular level by molecular robots.

    13. Photosynthetic humans:
    Human no longer depends entirely for plant food. Their skin is modified to be photosynthetic to convert sunlight directly to glucose

    14. Paper, plastic and rubber have disappeared. Crude oil no longer used as fuel. Cement is not used to build homes anymore.

    15. Democracy is dead. Replaced with representatives. No single individual has the presidential or monarchy power.

  19. I have no doubt that humans will figure out how to extend their lives with technology. My thoughts are: 1. What constitutes life, and how much robotics would have to go into this? Would we be humans, or machines? 2. Wouldn’t people get bored or depressed after a while? Unless we have surpassed the need for empathy and emotions, in which case, I would not want to count myself a part of that apathetic, half alive ‘human’ race.

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