It is, of course, impossible to know how things will be different by 2050. All we can do is to speculate. Here are some changes I expect to see by that time.
- Cars that drive themselves almost completely will be much more prevalent by that time. It is already possible for cars to do many things on their own. Even relatively affordable cars are already being sold with things like collision avoidance technology that can override the human driver. I would expect to see much more of this by 2050, freeing up a great deal of time for people to do things other than driving during their commutes.
- 3-D printing will be more prevalent. This will revolutionize the way that manufacturing is done. If people can simply have printers in their homes that will print objects the whole economy will look very different.
- China will be the world’s biggest economy. This will not mean, however, that it will have caught up the US in standards of living or in overall power and influence.
- There will be a great deal of change due to global warming. It is possible that some Pacific atolls will simply no longer exist because of rising sea levels. Weather patterns will have changed in ways that we cannot now predict.
- The Arab countries will have either modernized or imploded. This is the most daring of my predictions. However, I think that some fundamental change will have to happen in those countries. If they do not modernize and become rich and modern, they will face very serious social disruption.