The world is becoming more and more unpredictable, volatile and dangerous. There are changes happening all around us, in every aspect of society from economics to politics to climate change. People's lives are also changing, particularly with the rise of technology, which has given people a voice that didn't exist before.
This list outlines ten predictions made by futurists who predict what the future will hold for us if things stay on track. They suggest that we will have to make choices in regards to the future of our world, because it is going to be one of most extreme and challenging life experiences our children will face.
1. War is not Over
Although the world has never been more peaceful, it is not without conflict. The political situation in the Middle East continues to worsen, and all-out war could break out over territory that hasn't been decided yet. The oil pipelines are still being held hostage, by the Islamic State, who can shut down parts of the network at any time.
2. Climate Change
It wouldn't be a stretch to say that sea levels will rise 1m or more by 2100 as water expands due to warming temperatures, with oceans absorbing some of this excess heat. It is also expected that there will be increased flooding attributable to rising sea levels and a greater number of extreme weather events.
3. Artificial Intelligence
If AI develops as rapidly as some think it will, then we are talking about a future where robots can create laws or other such laws that are in line with their agenda. In a world where individuals have artificial intelligence inside them, there could be more sentient beings than humans on earth by the latter part of the century. This would also lead to more individual rights being decided by AI computers instead of humans - which could have a severe effect on current law.
4. Space Travel
Many people speculate that space travel will be a reality by 2050, but the lack of interest in these trips by the general population means it will likely take longer to get there. Due to serious concerns over radiation and medical conditions that astronauts could develop having been in outer space for too long, NASA has got a lot more stringent on when they want humans to go up into space.
5. Nuclear Power
There has been much concern over the potential for nuclear power due to fears that it could lead to many other problems, such as a possible meltdown at Chernobyl. These fears were enough to stop nuclear power from being used in any countries where it was thought it could pose a major risk. But with so much potential for technology overall, future advances may lead to nuclear power being used again.
6. War with China
A superpower rivalry between the USA and China is not something that people have looked forward to, but if they do go to war, then it will likely occur in the Pacific Ocean because of US hubris over its economic superiority. Although China is a major economic power, it has yet to produce anything that compares in real terms to the USA's military might. The potential for this war is not as simple as it used to be, and the threat of a space war makes global warming seem trivial by comparison.
7. Climate Refugees
We have seen people being displaced from their own countries due to natural disasters, and now we will see entire populations on the move due to lack of food or fresh water. The global warming effects of climate change already give us a glimpse into what this could look like, and it could be the defining human rights issue of our generation.
8. Water Wars
There has been much discussion about water wars in the future, and there are potential for a lot of violence to occur between countries over access to water. It is likely that we will have some form of global authority that can decide who gets access to resources, but in the world of climate change, it may not be as simple as it has been in the past.
9. The rise of Tyranny & Terrorism
Although terrorism will always be with us, there is a real possibility that it could become more common than it already is. This is because climate conditions will make certain regions more susceptible to natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes which has helped strengthen terrorist groups internationally.
10. Bioterrorism Attacks
As with any mass extinction event, we are likely to witness bioterrorism attacks on an unprecedented scale. The conditions are already in place for these to happen, because there is already enough bad blood between the major powers due to their desire to gain access to resources. It is also possible that in a world of rampant global warming there could be enough water scarcity that will make people want to try and control the supply of water itself.
Looking at the future, it is apparent that we can't take anything for granted. The complexity and magnitude of the issues will mean that our decisions on how we respond to these problems will have a real effect on what happens in the future. The choices we make could shape our lives for years to come.