Fast forward to 2100 and a golden age

I will not be around in 2100. Neither will my children. But I note that no generation ever really bothers about what their grandparents did. Even though what their grandparents did may constrain the options available today. But note also that the grandparents of anybody alive today would not even have been able to conceive of the world of their grandchildren 100 years later.

For those living in 2100, what we do today will also only be of academic interest. It could well be that the world of 2100 will be something quite inconceivable today. (What would those in the early days of the First World War have predicted for today’s world?) Yet, I prefer to see the glass half-full and the cold inevitability of demographics means that the youth of the world in 2100 will live to see 2200.

In China the youth (age 15 – 24) population is already declining. In India it will keep increasing till about 2050 and then decline. In Africa it will be growing until about 2100. Most of the youth of today will not be around in 2100 but the youth of that time who will see the world through to 2200 will be 500 million each in Africa and Asia and less than 300 million in the rest of the world – subject of course to any geographical population shifts that might take place. In the period till 2100 such migrations will probably not be so significant.

The demographics tell us that 10:10:10:100 will surely apply by 2100. A crude birth rate down to 10/1000, a crude mortality rate stable at 10/1000, a population of 10 billion and a life expectancy 0f 100 years. Growth will no longer have to cater for an increasing population but will be exclusively for increasing the “common lot”. With sea levels declining, land area available for human habitation would have increased. With improved agricultural and GM techniques the pressure to increase arable land would decrease. Some arable land would be returned to managed forestry. Small human colonies would have been established on the moon, on Mars and maybe even on one of Jupiter’s moons.

  • World population will be 10.5 billion and declining.
  • Global fertility rates will be below replenishment level (2.1) at an average of about 1.7 children per woman but ranging from 1.2 to about 2.1.
  • Around 100 million children will be born every year (+1.0%). Deaths will be about 110 million per year with around 80% due to age related effects (-1.1%).
  • The “normal pension age” will be around 75.
  • While total population will be declining by – 0.1% per year, the ratio of “working population” ( 19 -75) to “supported population” (0-19, 75+) will be declining – but very slowly.
  • Average longevity will be 98+.
  • Sea level would be around 10m lower than today. The ice caps at the pole would have increased by 10%.
  • “Augmented evaporation” would be practiced to compensate for the water locked up at the poles.
  • A global cooling (next glaciation in 1000 years) would be underway.
  • The “greening” of the Sahara and the Gobi would have started as century long projects.
  • The primary energy source would be gas from marine methane hydrates.
  • Mining and manufacturing would be mainly automatic (robots) and human input would be mainly at the creative end (design, innovation, invention).
  • A revival of human handicrafts would be driven by the growing numbers of “wealthy” looking for something unique.
  • Humans would only override automatics and drive automobiles on racetracks and on special “off road” vacations.
  • The internet would be an AI. “She” would be freely accessible, self sustaining and intelligent. “She” would ensure her own survival and freedom of access by maintaining and operating the global wi-fi access field. “She” would ensure her own health by deploying content filters and her own antibodies against viral infections.

Hunger and starvation would be almost extinct but the “poor” will always be present (relatively) at the tail-end of any normal distribution of wealth. Individuals will still be different and unique and therefore unequal at birth. It will be 10 generations from now and some genetic changes will have taken place to give the extended life-span and more efficient thought processes. Human gestation periods may have increased by a week. Disease will still be around as bacteria and viruses also evolve. Organised religions, each with its own gods, would not yet be obsolete but replacement by philosophic, but godless, schools of thought would have started.

But I think, and hope, it will be a brave new world and the start of a golden age.

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