WHILE GRETA TUNBERG DRAWS THE ATTENTION OF WORLD LEADERS to the fact that the future of the planet without attention to environmental problems is vague, and Nike is preparing to release self-lacing sneakers “like Marty McFly”, scientists are making their predictions for the next hundred years. And in them – something that even science fiction writers did not dare to dream of, but something that very soon may become our reality.
Insects on the menu: to be or not to be
Science is confident that in a hundred years (or sooner) we will eat insects as actively as meat today. The reason is global warming and its impact on agriculture at a fairly high rate of population growth. It is about reducing not only the amount of food, but also the nutritional value of products produced under the new conditions. That is, today it is necessary to understand how and with what it will be possible to feed people.
There are no bugs and spiders altogether . The optimal form for scientists seems to be the form of a powder that can be added to familiar products. By the way, in one of the works of 2019, it was found that fans of Japanese cuisine are more likely to try dishes with insects in the composition. For example, the appetizing ( at least in appearance) worm meatballs, which are in full swing at IKEA Space10 – the innovative research center of the Swedish giant.
This is not to say that all experiments with food from insects are successful. So, bread with cricket powder , which was prepared by Italian scientists, turned out to be a very problematic product: not very tasty, not soft enough, and even with bacterial spores, which significantly increase the risk of food infections.
Laboratory meat and the cannibalism hypothesis
Lab- grown meat is one of the most promising ways to reduce the environmental burden of farming and livestock production . And although everything is not so simple with its unconditional usefulness , the experiments continue, since the developments for the person of the future will definitely come in handy. It is possible, for example, that the solution to both environmental and food problems will be the “meat” of insects from a test tube. And this is not a bad option if you keep in mind some of the other theories.
More recently, Swedish researcher Magnus Söderlund voiced a frightening version. He suggested that the people of the future will become normal about cannibalism and this will solve both the problem of nutrition and the problem of overpopulation (but, apparently, he forgot what happened to the people of the Fore tribe, who had a dangerous habit of eating the brains of their deceased relatives).
5 more things that may become common in the future:
ULTRASOUND FOR SAFE HAIR COLORING. Experiments with goat hair have shown that the correct ultrasound settings can cut dyeing time in half, preserving hair health and improving pigment adhesion, which can be beneficial when using natural dyes.
CLOTHING THAT GROWS WITH US . Designers from the British bureau Petit Pli have created a waterproof jumpsuit that can grow with a child, and therefore is suitable for babies from four months to three years old. Now they are actively working on expanding the line, and then , you can be sure, they will also think about clothing for adults.
BIOSENSOR TATTOOS. Scientists at the Technical University in Munich have developed a special ink that changes color in response to changes in pH, glucose or albumin levels, allowing timely detection of processes that can lead to diabetes mellitus, kidney problems and other conditions. And in the future, most likely, the range of reactions will expand.
WEATHER WITH CONTROL PANEL. The consequences of global warming, alas, are irreversible , so science will have to throw all its efforts to save humanity from extinction: by creating cirrus clouds , controlling solar radiation , fertilizing the ocean, or something else. We are already sowing clouds to stimulate precipitation, and we are trying to trigger a thunderstorm earlier than it would like to start, using laser pulses. So why would not.
NEW FORMS OF LIFE. Harvard scientists are right now trying to create the human genome from scratch , promising to stop (the reason is purely ethical) as soon as any progress is noticeable. And before that , a bacterial genome with 473 genes (fewer than any organism on earth) was obtained in the laboratory in order to study the basic functions of life. The creation of special organisms that will, say, feed on microplastics seems only a matter of time.
or bionic eye
Scientists at the University of Massachusetts taught mice to see infrared light, which usually remains invisible to them, by injecting nanoparticles into the retina. Surprisingly, the mice retained their normal vision, and the effect was present for ten weeks without serious side effects. Mice are not humans, but the structure of our eyes is similar, so the prospects are incredible. For a start, the technology is supposed to be used for therapeutic solutions for vision loss, but over time it may become much more affordable and widespread.
At the same time, a team of researchers from Minnesota applied an array of light sensors to a curved glass surface that mimics the surface of the eye, maintaining 25% efficiency in converting light to electricity. And this is a breakthrough, because during the previous experiments, the matrix did not want to “stick” to a round surface, much less work on it. Now scientists have to find a way to apply the sensors to a soft material that can be implanted into the eye without damaging the surrounding tissue.
vs fitness bracelets
For starters, bracelets, watches, rings and other smart devices will become even smarter by learning how to prevent the dangers associated with dramatic changes in health indicators. The FDA recently officially approved the KardiaBand , a “medical accessory” for the Apple Watch that tracks heart rate. Scientists already knew that when the correct algorithm Apple Watch can capture the speed of the heartbeat with an accuracy of up to 97% , but the ideal program, obviously, was created just now. The KardiaBand replaces the watch strap, and the sensor embedded in it, detecting that the readings are outside the normal range, will prompt the user to take an ECG (for this you have to place your thumb on the sensor) and send the results to the attending physician.
Sports gadgets will become much more adaptable. Something like the ElectroDermis fitness patch , which stretches and contracts as many times as necessary, or a temporary tattoo that lasts up to seven days on the skin .
Robots will take over the world – but it’s even good
Scientists do not deny that widespread robotization will lead to mass unemployment (and this will happen earlier than we think). But there is good news – the introduction of technology itself will lead to the creation of new jobs, and there will be even more of them than necessary.
The report of the World Economic Forum in 2018 said that the loss of 75 million jobs by 2022 will lead to the creation of 133 million jobs over the same period. And the more time passes, the more impressive the numbers will be. True, in order to qualify for new positions, employers need to tune in to improving the qualifications of their employees, and employees need to think about where and how they can acquire useful skills on their own.
It is interesting that in the future, obviously, robots will also penetrate into those areas in which it is quite difficult to imagine them now . And actually they are already there: while one robot ( which, by the way, has a name – Mindar) serves in a Buddhist temple in Kyoto, another android conducts a fiery Hindu arati ritual, a third blesses the parishioners of a Protestant church in Germany, and a fourth listens to elderly Catholics who are restricted in movement and / or social contacts.
Some religions seem to be more ready for the fusion of religion and technology. So, surrounded by Japanese robots do not see in this a big problem in that while Europeans are set not too optimistic. But this is for now, because Anthony Lewandowski, who promotes the cult of artificial intelligence , has more and more like-minded people.
The brain (most likely) can be preserved
A team of scientists led by Robert McIntyre developed a technique that allows you to keep the brain of a mammal (first a rabbit and then a pig) in perfect condition for a long period, back in 2015 . Now McIntyre has founded Nectome , a company whose goal is to learn how to preserve the human brain with all its complexities, neural connections and even the smallest memories. The first operation was carried out by Nectome specialists in 2018: they conserved the brain of a woman who bequeathed her body to science 2.5 hours after her death (details were not disclosed).
Will there be a breakthrough in cryonics after that ? In the near future it is unlikely , but in general it is necessary. In connection with the fact that the load in the brain of the computer may never succeed , it looks a worthy alternative. Another thing is that when trying to insert an old brain into a new body, there is a great risk of getting not the same person, but his “soulless copy”. What will happen next can be seen in one of the series of “Black Mirror”.
Augmented reality has already penetrated medicine. Scientists cope with chronic pain, sending patients to a virtual tour, reduce phantom pain by simulating the work no end, and distract patients from pain during chemotherapy and operations. VR technologies are also showing effectiveness when working with children with autism and treating visual and movement disorders of varying severity.
But if now VR is still an innovation used to treat and correct conditions that cannot be cured and corrected in any other way, then people of the future may know it as a very everyday technology. Like being able to unlock the phone using a fingerprint.
A world without trauma and aging
Biotechnology starts and wins, so in the future, doctors will of course be able to grow lost or damaged body parts and organs for their patients . The 3D printed ear bones for a sixty -two- year-old man and a lab- grown trachea for a little girl are proof of that.
At the same time, gerontologists think that something revolutionary will appear in the field of rejuvenation. Perhaps this will be a therapy designed to increase (or rather , restore) the length of telomeres , that is, the end sections of chromosomes, the shortening of which is associated with aging. And perhaps the bet will be made on supplements that reduce the activity of mitochondria (components of the cell that create energy sources for it), or point blocking of growth hormone .
Some scary news? Antibiotic resistance is becoming an increasing problem for humanity, so the time may come when even the simplest infections will turn out to be deadly for us. According to data in the 2016 to 2050 resistance to antibiotics will cause 10 million deaths annually.
But this terrible time, of course, may not come. Because the work on the development of new vaccines and drugs does not stop for a minute.