Friday, 16 November 2012

What Our World Could Be Like in 2020

What Our World Could Be Like in 2020

By Mark W. Medley

Here are is a glimpse into our probable future - based on on-going trends in the last twenty years, and call it the "20-20 vision" into our most probable future.

1. Languages

English should still the most popular language, but Chinese should be second. As with English today, many people may study Chinese as a second language, whilst many local languages will still continue to disappear. The use of regional languages should continue to grow as some countries could break up into regional entities.

2. Water Becomes the New Oil

Water will become a much needed resource, as rivers continue to dry up, and new technologies are developed to create sustainable water resources. Regional conflicts may occur over the scarcity of water supplies, whilst some desert areas will have to be depopulated. We will learn to ration, and have to pay more for the water we use.

3. Climate Change

The economic troubles created in late 2008, will overshadow global efforts to combat the effects of our warming planet. Some resource poor but technology rich countries will be forced to use alternative energies, and be less consummative. However, as many nations in the developing World have opted for western-style development over the environmental effects of this growth- They should eventually face the need to clean up their own environment.

4. Poverty and Wealth

The first, second and third World could exist in some degree in all countries. Europe and North America may mirror the rest of the World, with similar wealth gaps comparable today to India, and South America. The world will look more equal, but be more unequal- depending on which World you live in.

5. Education

A majority of students could be educated on-line. This may be a result of decaying public schools in the Western world, but also newer technologies that are replacing some aspects of a traditional education. Some examinations are set to become global benchmarks in educational assessment, accepted throughout the world.

6. Population Growth and Migration

Developed Countries, may have to encourage the migration of younger emigrants from outside Europe and North America, because of negative population growth. First world communities in all countries should of effectively become "World citizens," and freely migrate throughout the globe. A reverse "brain drain" effect could see former migrants return home, as their own economies improve, and living conditions in the former "West" decline.

7. War and Conflict

A declining Europe and the United States may at some stage be involved in a limited conflict with either Russia and/or China. This conflict could end in a stalemate, whilst the reasons of this conflict are probably based primarily on economic, and mineral "rights"- the cost of such a conflict, would lead to more environmental decay, and a restructuring of existing trade routes.

8. Science

We may be eating more genetically modified and synthetic foods- designer foods developed in new hi-tech "growing centers." Robots will become more common, whilst some nations will start space exploration programs,-with a view to colonize space. In some countries the surveillance of their own citizens,could expand due to smart technology, and the need to contain civil unrest- as the wealth gap widens.

9. Travel

Regional travel should increase, whilst global travel be reserved for first World Citizens or higher up second world citizens. Traveling long distances could become more expensive and more time consuming. Sea and land transport may become more popular- whilst flying long distances becomes more a pastime of the global elite.

Our World in 2020, could be one of wonder or one of conflict, depending on which world we live in, but also one of still fragmented beliefs, and scientific advancement. We may continue hoping that science solves the problems our planet faces, and start looking beyond our planet as a future home.

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