Futurologist predicts life in 2030

Futurologist predicts life in 2030

Super-intelligent internet, but no flying cars

Neurological interfaces to a super-intelligent internet are among the predictions of what life will be like in 2030.

We should also prepare for robot nannies, replacement organs grown to order and an average age of 130 for Europeans, according to futurologist and author Ray Hammond.

The World in 2030 was produced independently following a year-long study. It was refereed by two scientists, and by Mike Childs, director of campaigns at Friends of the Earth.

"If you think this picture of life in 2030 sounds unrealistic, consider this: how many people in 1985 would have thought that computers and mobile phones would play such a central role in our lives today?" said Hammond.

"Or that children would be gaming on the internet, or spending much of their time in virtual worlds like Second Life?

"Or that scientists would have decoded the human genome and cloned animals including primates? Or that climate change would have become such a critical issue?"

The report was commissioned by PlasticsEurope, an association of plastics manufacturers, to help the industry address future challenges, including climate change and the looming energy crisis.

"No one can accurately predict the future. But this report identifies the key trends likely to shape the next few decades and projects them up to 2030," explained Hammond.

"One thing is certain: the rapid change that we have seen since the 1980s will not slow down. It will speed up so much that, in some ways, our lives in 2030 will be unrecognisable today."

Hammond predicts that one billion people will be 65 or older by 2030. Japanese scientists are already developing robots to look after the elderly, and robots will be a permanent feature of everyday life all across Europe.

People will be wirelessly tagged for their own protection. Humans will transmit their location constantly, and data about health will be collected and transmitted so that help can be summoned automatically in the event of sudden illness.

This will be facilitated by a "revolution" in medicine. Personal DNA mapping, powerful new gene-therapy drugs and stem cell research will prevent illness and extend life.

As plastics play a larger part in healthcare, people in 2030 will routinely reach the age of 130.

The weather in 2030 is likely to be extreme, but the solution to the energy crisis will be to harness natural, clean energy sources, such as solar, hydro, wind and geothermal.

The internet will have developed into a "super combined web" which is always on and always connected.

People, pets and trillions of inanimate objects will communicate wirelessly every second of the day, delivering 3D holographic experiences, tactile simulations, odours and tastes.

"Plastics have enabled much of the technological revolution that has shaped our lives in recent times," said Wilfried Haensel, executive director at PlasticsEurope.

"Just look around you to see the role plastics play, in computers, mobile phones, cars, buildings, aeroplanes and solar panels.

"We commissioned this report because we wanted to get a glimpse of life in the future and to understand the likely role that plastics would play."

Hammond explained that some aspects of daily life in 2030 will seem very similar to today.

We will still live in houses and apartments, although they will be much more energy efficient. Children will still go to school, but will be aided by virtual learning.