2050 is only a short 31 years away. For centuries people have predicted that robust robots will take over the future. But what will 2050 really look like? We have a few ideas. The numbers are in and it’s going to look a little grim.
10 – The world’s population will increase from 7.2 billion to at least 9.6 billion
The more the merrier, or is it? Using projections based on data collected up to 2012 and a Bayesian probability methodology, the United Nations has reported that the global population will reach at least 9.6 billion in 2050 and could go as high as 12.3 billion by 2100. Much of this increase will be due, in part, to higher fertility and a slowdown in infertility in places like Africa and India.
9 – Minorities will reach 50% of the US population
If population trends stay the same then the United States will be considerably different than it is today in terms of both race and ethnicity. Trends indicate that people who identify as Caucasian will decline and that by 2050 those who identify as a minority will rise. Minorities make up 25% of Americans, be it Hispanic, African, Asian, Pacific Islander, etc. That number will increase to 50% of Americans by 2050. Which ever way you look at it, it’s a vast change in a relatively short time period.
8 – Sea level will rise by at least 1 foot.
It is an unfortunate reality that sea levels are currently rising. Whether you believe global climate change is man made or a natural occurrence doesn’t really matter; the end result is the same. The sea level is expected to rise by as much as a foot by 2050. The numbers aren’t just from one single location. Rather it is from multiple sources; if rates stay constant then the melting ice sheet will raise the sea level by 5.9 inches, the glacial ice caps melting will add 3.1 inches, and ocean thermal expansion will top it off by 3.5 inches all of this creating a total of at least a 12.6 inch rise in sea levels.
While it certainly wont be Water world, anyone who has seen how far a tide can come in can attest to how much this raising of water levels will actually change the world. Already, Five Pacific islands have been lost due to rising seas and numerous countries are at serious risk of losing substantial land unless appropriate barriers are in place.
7 – Nearly 1 in 5 Americans will be divorced.
Is love turning sour? As of 2016 more than half of all Americans are married. This number is actually down mostly probably due to the rise in same sex couples and the increase in the number of women who are becoming single parents later in life. In 1970 over 60% of Americans were married. The number of Americans getting married is expected to decline to less than 40% by 2050, while divorce rates are expected to steadily increase to 1 in 5, or 20%.
6 – Demand for food will increase by 70%
Feeling hungry? Better eat up while you can. Given both population growth and rising incomes it is easy to see why cereal production alone will need to increase from 2.1 billion tonnes to 3 billion tones. Meat production is going to have to increase by over 200 million tons in order to reach the needed total of 470 million tons by 2050 . Part of this increase is apparently going to be a result of the production and demand of bio-fuels, fuel that is made from organic materials.
5 – 1 in 5 developing countries will face water shortages.
Can you hear a tap dripping? Better turn it off! While it may seem that water is never ending, this is not actually the case. Currently half of the population lives in countries where water tables are rapidly falling. It takes approximately 12 gallons per day to sustain an average human, while the average American uses about 158 gallons.
Since the 1970s the population of the planet has doubled, but the use of fresh water has quadrupled. This is at a rate far faster than any aquifer can hope to replenish itself. Given that only one-hundredth of 1 percent of the world’s water is readily available for human consumption by 2050 there will not be enough water in the world to give all the people in the world even one eight ounce glass of water.
4 – At least 50% of Jobs will be replaced by robots
We knew the robots would make an appearance! In 2050 robots and technology will continue to lead the way. A recent Pew report estimated that robots and artificial intelligence will be included in ‘daily life’, potentially taking on roles as everything from cleaners, to sex partners to babysitters! According to a study by the Oxford Martin School, almost 50% of jobs could be automated as soon as the next 20 years.
This, of course, means that new jobs must be made available, so much so that The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that today’s learner will have 10-14 jobs . . . By the age of 38.
3 – Nearly 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas.
As of 2014, 54% (a little less than 4 billion) of the world’s population lives in what is considered to be an urban area. Projections by the UN DESA’s population division show that the proportion of the urban population is expected to increase to 66 % by 2050, adding another 2.5 billion to the cities of the world.
2 – Renewable Energy Could Provide 80 Percent of U.S. Electricity by 2050
Amazingly, according to a study by the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), it is entirely possible that the United States could be sourcing 80% of its energy from renewable resources by 2050. Just think, it is even possible to get a substantial amount of energy from renewable technologies right now. Technologies like wind turbines, solar power, bio power, and hydropower. What are we waiting for? Simply, a lack in financial incentives as oil and coal are cheaper and easier to obtain energy from. This is going to change though, as they’re finite and will eventually run out.
1 – Cancer deaths will be effectively ZERO for everyone under 80.
One of the world’s greatest killers may die a silent death, itself. Well, almost! Since 1990, the overall decrease in smoking, earlier diagnosis, and improved treatments have resulted in a 1% decline in deaths due to cancer. By 2050 cancer deaths are estimated to decrease by a startling 60%! The average mortality rate due to cancer in the U.S. is 44.5%, in 31 years it is estimated to be 8.5%. The result will be that some cancers will just be as inconvenient as any other chronic but non-fatal illness, and more lethal cancers won’t necessarily be a death sentence.
Depending on decisions we make now the average person in the year 2050 will either be living in a Star Trek like paradise, where we all work less hours, or we will be stuck in some sort of Mad Max-like horror show where we fight for water and we despise the machines that we let ruin our lives through consumption of precious resources. The year 2050 is so close, and yet so far, and every decision no matter how small can affect what 2050 will look like. The question is what do you think 2050 will look like?