The UK Ministry of Defense has released their annual report on the future. Entitled Global Strategic Trends — Out Till 2045 [PDF], it sets out predictions until 2045, when the world will allegedly be engulfed by chaos and despair. Wired UK broke it down to a list of nine of the very worst things that will happen in the future, including resistance to anti-biotics, robotic killing machines and the continuing effects of global warming. But it’s not all bad! Wired says: “Reduced summer sea-ice may present opportunities as new trade routes and areas rich in natural resources open up for exploitation.” Thank god, we were starting to get depressed.
One of the major themes of the report is inequality, which according to current data shows no sign of abating. Of course, all these changes intersect each other, and inequality is predicted to worsen as we invent more wonderful technology that is only available to people who can afford it. Motherboard’s write up touched on the growth of corporations into nation-like entities with private armies, quoting another section of the report:
‘Large private, or semiprivate, companies and non-governmental organisations will very probably grow in number and power, seeking to influence national and international decisions,’ [the report], noting that Apple is already economically bigger than Ecuador and Ford bigger than Morocco. These multinationals could gain greater control over markets and resources as populations become more dependent on them, and the report even highlights the very real risk of private security forces. Shell, it states, already has a private security force of 1,200 in Nigeria alone.
Various types of automation comprises many of the reports concerns. There will be robots that go to war, robots that will take our jobs (predicted as early as 1971) and robots that could replace human relationships. All these scenarios have their upsides and serious potential downsides, like the breakdown of economies without employment or violence made “more acceptable” through automation. This makes dystopian WALL-E look downright idealistic. So far there’s no sign of intergalactic cruise ships to save us from our own filth. (Photo: Pixar)