Five years from now medical lasers that can seal wounds could be commonplace on battlefields and in hospitals. The
technique, known (slightly ominously) as "laser welding", has been pioneered by a team of Tel Aviv University
researchers, and could even be used by surgeons when operating inside the body. Flexible LCD screens that can be
rolled up like a newspaper will also be widely available, and home printing will be giving copyright holders a
headache. prosthetic limbs will revolutionise life for amputees.
By the beginning of the third decade of this century Nanotech clothing will have reached the shop shelves. These
garments will be stain and water resistant, able to change colour to suit their wearer' s whims, and protect the
emergency services from toxic chemicals. A car, which can alert drivers to potential danger and even take
over the controls, should also be ready to roll off the production line. In fact, Volvo has pledged that beyond the year
2020 no one will be killed or seriously injured in one of its new cars.
New treatments for Alzheimer' s will be available by 2027. The disease currently affects more than 27 million people
around the world, and the number of sufferers is expected to quadruple by 2050. Innovative gene therapies
developed over the next decade should point the way toward a cure, sparing a generation of people from the
indignities of this cruel disease. By this point in time it should also be possible to successfully revive a mouse from
cryo preservation. Trials of medical nanobots will also be well underway.
The majority of vehicles on the road are now electric. People will increasingly use smaller cars too, such as the ENEV
concept vehicle. The ENEV features dynamic stabilisation technology, allowing it to carry two passengers and a light
cargo despite being around a third the size of a traditional vehicle. Stem cell "pharmacies" that can issue treatment
for damaged body parts or organs on the could also be a common sight in two decades. Home internet
speeds will have rocketed to more than a terabit per second.
Today' s PCs and tablet devices will seem about as powerful as a pocket calculator by 2037, thanks to the advent of
quantum computing. The technology is still in its infancy today. But the speed of progress means it could form a part
of everyday life as we move toward the middle of the century, unleashing a new wave of human creativity and
ingenuity. The teleportation of complex organic molecules should also be possible by this point, paving the way for a
Electronic atoms - effectively computers - will allow people to create objects at will. The idea, known
as Plantronics, involves manipulating the electronic atoms using specialist software, forming and reforming them into
a limitless number of items. In communications, this will allow people to see, hear and touch each other over long
distances, just as if they were in the room together. Cars made from electronic atoms could also be endlessly
reformed into different vehicles.
We are now approaching the point of singularity, when a super intelligence emerges through
technological means. Transhumanism will also become a mainstream concept as more and more people augment
their bodies with technology. Intelligent military aircraft that can operate independently of a human being will
become a reality, and thanks to the emergence of true artificial intelligence, androids will begin to take up roles in
homes and workplaces.
The sheer range and pace of technological change means the world of 2052 is hard to comprehend. Genetically
engineered babies are now commonplace, as the elite seek to give their children every advantage possible - including
and heightened physical prowess. Human beings have also begun to link their minds directly to the
internet in order to make sense of all the information now available online. Nanobots will be able to augment
people' s vision to produce totally immersive virtual worlds.
The home computers of 2057 will have more processing power than all the human minds that have ever existed, and
thus many political decisions will be handled by artificial intelligences. Handheld MRI scanners mean
people can be scanned quickly and cheaply, greatly improving diagnosis and treatment for a variety of diseases.
Internal organs and brain activity can be seen in realities using these devices, which will also revolutionise medical
treatment in the developing world.
Ageing is a curable disease by this point in time, with a variety of gene and nanotechnology therapies effectively
halting, and eventually reversing, the ageing process. At first the treatment is likely to be expensive, but competition
between pharmaceutical companies should bring it within reach of most people in the developed world by the end of
the century. Invisibility suits are now a common piece of military kit, along with force field technology. The world' s
first space elevator allows for the rapid transport of people and equipment beyond earth' s atmosphere.