The World in 100 Years

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drbost's picture
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A positive 25-year vision

Phil, thanks for your request for input.  I agree wholeheartedly that we need a vision of where we want to go or else we'll wind up in a place according to someone else's vision.  And I choose a positive vision, not a dystopian one.

I wrote this vision a couple of years ago, and it has held up when reviewed.  While it was conceived as a 25-year vision, I think it's applicable in a longer time frame, too.

My post (#31, above) is lengthy, but I hope it's helpful to you and to other PP readers.

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Recommend a novel

I am re-reading a novel of one way a future could unfold.  I believe that it is well done and catches many of the elements we are seeing and discussing here on PP.

Tribulation:  A Novel of the Near Future by Thomas Lewis

When you go to amazon.com, this novel will NOT pop up with the autofill feature.  You must type its name exactly, in order to find it.  (This is similar to the way some youtube videos are hidden without being "hidden.")

The author captures the drama of the reluctant spouse magnificiently.  The husband sees that the ecological and energy supply systems are in decay and can read the writing on the wall. He knows where it is headed.  The wife just will not.  She just wants to be happy and have a normal life.  Not only can she not prepare, she is absolutely allergic to any and all discussion of the topic.  In order to avoid this frightening vision of the future, she divorces.

The author follows the mechanics of rising social stressors and the breakdown of a couple of key elements with the final straw being a weather event.  The buffers are exhausted and a huricaine that destroys the port in New Orleans (and the 10 oil refineries along the lower Mississippi) tips the balance into a nation that has no petroleum products. 

One character, the protagonist's father, is in politics, and we see the politicians view and frustration of being unable to make enough effective changes due to the lock that self-interested-big-money has on the decision making process.  

The mechanics of maitaining a mountain retreat, located along the Virginia / West Virginia border.  It is very well hidden (passive security) and occasionally must be actively defended.

He invisions that those remaining in the cities who have not prepared are in very very severe conditions.

Several years after the collapse, the chaos quiets down.  Another isolated farming community makes tentative contact.  Very, very cautiously, they decide to talk.   The other community has settled on horses and horse drawn plows and carts as their main tool of adaptation.   This begins the process of rebuilding a post industrial, localized way of living.

The author, Thomas Lewis, also has a website DailyImpact.net that is similar to PeakProsperity in many ways.

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The World in 100 Years

This

Phil Williams's picture
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Tons of great advice!

Everyone,

Tons of great advice. Thank you to everyone that's posted! I appreciate it.

I think JHK did a nice job with the World Made by Hand series, and I think Orlov's book is very telling. I do agree that complex systems simplify as they collapse, and the more complex the system the more vulnerable to collapse. Jared Diamond's book, Collapse was interesting. The civilizations that he detailed all collapsed because of a lack of resources, or a destruction of the environment leading to a lack of resources. Many of these people were able to migrate to other civilizations that hadn't exhausted crucial resources. Now, the resources being exhausted are global. No place to migrate to. I wonder if that's why some are obsessed with space travel. I saw this article about a bunch of people that volunteered to colonize Mars. They could just go to Death Valley and try that out first!

I don't think technology is coming to the rescue, and I think that will come as a shock to many.

The trick for me is to create characters that people can identify and root for. Ultimately, regardless of the setting, it's the characters that drive the story. Ideally, the setting doesn't kill them all!

The comments and advice have been great. Thanks again.

Phil

 

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I'd Focus on What Life Will Be Like in 10 Years

How can anyone truly believe humans will be around in 100 years?  We're seeing the collapse of bats, bees and plankton (among many other species) right in front of us!  As the ravages of increasing greenhouse gasses ramp up, plankton could all but disappear  (possibly within a decade), destroying the oceans' web of life.  Good luck surviving that, homo-sapiens.

As much as I love the idea of permaculture, it is no match for the climate change we've set in motion.

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A small correction
TechGuy wrote:

....WW 3 likely already has begun as the US started its Oil resource conquest on the Middle Aast and has initiated proxy wars with Russia in Syria & Ukraine. We can see a rise of hatred propagana against Russia and China by the US & Europe, setting the stage for future direct conflict. Both China and Russia have responded with substaintial increases in Military spending.

I agree (boradly) with your observations about the rise in hatered propaganda towards both Russia and China. A small correction, though -- Russia actually cut its military budget by about 20% last year. 

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Biocides
chipshot wrote:

How can anyone truly believe humans will be around in 100 years?  We're seeing the collapse of bats, bees and plankton (among many other species) right in front of us!  As the ravages of increasing greenhouse gasses ramp up, plankton could all but disappear  (possibly within a decade), destroying the oceans' web of life.  Good luck surviving that, homo-sapiens.

As much as I love the idea of permaculture, it is no match for the climate change we've set in motion.

This is simple nonsense. The problems that you describe are real, but have essentially nothing to do with any climate change caused by humans. The earth was warmer a thousand years ago and much warmer in the previousl interglacial period about 120 thousand years ago. Our pressing problems have everything to do with the fact that we are awash in biologically active chemicals produced by humans. In addition, we are stressing the earth's resources and even taxing the fecundity of the oceans. The carbon dioxide that we are putting into the atmosphere is probably having a net beneficial effect in the greening of the planet.

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Stan, You Cannot Be Serious

"The carbon dioxide that we are putting into the atmosphere is probably having a net beneficial effect in the greening of the planet."

Right.  Except for acidification of the oceans, loss of mountain top ice throughout the globe, vanishing arctic ice, increasing wildfires from California to Siberia to Indonesia, change in the jet stream, slowing down of ocean currents, increasing desertification, the spread of infectious diseases, the triggering of numerous feedback loops... 

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Culture changes...

The biggest changes we’ve experienced in the last 30 years have been techno-cultural. People communicate differently.  They meet and date differently. I would look to address this in your book.  

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Good idea
macro2682 wrote:

The biggest changes we’ve experienced in the last 30 years have been techno-cultural. People communicate differently.  They meet and date differently. I would look to address this in your book.  

Lots of fertile ground here. Thanks, Macro.

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Techno-cultural change...

Ideas to start you off:

 

Look at Japan.  Not to get icky here, but if we add 100 years of immersive VR technology, how many real human “relationships” will people want to have?  I’m not a religious guy, but unless faith groups have a resurgence (they very well may) we probably won’t need sex for procreation like we used to. 

On this VR topic, how big of a house will people really want (or be able to afford)?  Your virtual presence might be much more important to you.  Especially if sex falls off the radar as what drives the vast majority of men.

With these thoughts in mind, women very well might see a massive overshoot in their fight for equality.  Fundamentally changing the incentive structure/drive of men could have profound implications.  How does that quote go? “Show me the incentives and I’ll show you the outcome.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Drinking pee...

This concept essentially destroyed Kevin Kostner’s career...

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overshootday.org

Phil

First, I think what you are doing is great, even from just the stimulation it has given many of us on this site to consider your question. I haven't read every post yet, so I run the risk of redundancy but even if it is repition is the foundation of learning.

I follow the work of Nafeez Ahmed, who has been intereviewed on this site before. His most recent post links to:

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/let-us-stop-living-of-resources-...

which discusses the non profit "Global Footprint Network", and its work on globalovershootday.org.

By looking at the data on this site you could well project which countries will be viable in the future without fossil fuels. You could also get an idea of how much overshoot each society 'enjoys' today. For example the USA is 5x over the regenerative capacity of its geographic location. Only the desert countries of the Middle East surpass that overshoot.

One of the site's features is a test to check out your own overshoot based on your personal lifestyle.

Working with that could give you an idea of what it would take to live in the USA, or UK or whereever in the future without fossil fuel energy input.

The catch is that collapse is not linear in any ecological examples and to think it would be so for humans is pure folly, so that is where your imagination must blossom.  I wish you well in your work and look forward to reading your book.

Best to you.

 

 

 

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2118

This is based partly on conjecture and partly on dreams - yes, dreams I have at night. Snicker all you want but I have had more than one dream that has accurately predicted the future. 

 

In 2118 the population of the world will be about 50 milllion people. The "great die off" started around 2040 after a world wide revolultion - which started in Brazil - spread throughout the entire planet. The revolution will be so savage that it will make the French Revolution look like kindergarten. Much of the world will be forced to live without even the semblance of modern amenities. Since they will not know how to "live off the land" the death toll will be phenomenal. Moreover, the combination of mass death, lack of santiation, lack of medical facilities and still high density of residual population will give rise to plagues. By 2100, the people left alive will begin rebuilding. There will be a shared belief throughout the world that "the horrors must stop."

By 2118, the worst will be over. Settlements will be widely dispersed, they will be agriculturally-based but surprisingly modern - much having been saved from the remains of technical civilization and adapted to new conditions. But a philosophy will have developed that holds that high concentrations of people are inherently bad. Even in established settlements, streets willl often look deserted. Homes are widely separated and people tend to try avoid even being seen by neighbors. Much like in traditional Sicily, the pervasive distrust of non-family members will give rise to "family based" organizations rooted in kinship. Kinship  based organizations will provides all family needs. Families will deal with other families only when necessary with the understanding that any wrongdoing against a family member will be met with severe reprisals. However, interfamily disputes will be rare. After the bloodshed of the 21st century all family based organizations will have complicated and elaborate protocols established to prevent the re-occurrence of violence. 

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what about biotech ?

Not one comment on the advances in biotech.  Considering what's happened in cellular research in the last decade I'm surprised that noone has mentioned the fact that we will probably double or triple or the human lifespan in the next 10-20 years.  Humans will cure all cancers, heart disease, diabetes, etc.  Gen X will have treatments that will restore their bodies back to their 30's. Biological immortality is not out of the question at all.

Dealing with the ramifications of such "magic" will be the dominant theme of the last half of the 21st century.  The idea that anyone can even imagine what things will look like 100 years from now is pure fantacy and mental masturbation.

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aggrivated

Aggrivated,

Thank you for the link and the words of encouragement.

Phil

Phil Williams's picture
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2118

Thanks, Mike. I appreciate your perspective. 50 million people is an interesting number. I read somewhere that the carrying capacity of the earth in a healthy state is around 1 billion people. I'd have to do some research and factor in a mulititude of environmental, geopolitical, and socioeconomic events to arrive at some number less than that. Who knows, 50 million might be close. This book will require a TON of research.

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Standard of Living, Quality of Life
Phil Williams wrote:

The big question I suppose is, how do human beings move from dense, high net energy sources, to low net evergy sources? With a massive drop in their standard of living!

Let's make a distinction, shall we, regarding standard of living:  certainly, we will all be doing with less money and tech and creature comforts in the short to medium term (depending on when the cliff actually arrives).  However, this will be an invitation (and a stern one, not to be ignored) to recall older ways of organizing our lives and our social structures.  Very few people will own automobiles (if at all -- wanna be a pillar of the community?  learn how to rebuild/repair/etc. bicycles), and maybe the electricity will only be on 4 hours a day (if at all).  So we lose the convenience and modernity and gain something older and IMO essential.  There won't be SSRIs (for the 99%) but most who currently take them won't need them anymore.

So "standard of living" will tank but "quality of life" doesn't necessarily have to...

We will become members of tightknit communities once again, woven into webs of interdependence and enjoying the deep fellowship that comes from shared effort and duress.  We'll tell our stories and sing our songs in person and quickly forget there was ever a thing called FB.  Lives will be shorter but richer and we'll live closer to privation and death and that will be hard but life will be richer for it.  (Want to add depth and feeling to your living?  Get into relationship with your death...)  

It's going to suck in so many ways.  It's going to brilliant in so many more.  Assuming we don't irradiate the planet (nuke war/nuke plant meltdowns galore).

In the meantime, take care of yourselves, outwardly, explicitly and incessantly express love to your people and find time to dance each day.*

VIVA -- Sager

*  in this regard, let's say "dance" means to do any activity that is playful and eases your worry mind and gets you to breathe all the way down into your belly.  A good sweat wouldn't kill you, either.  Just sayin'...

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Massively Intelligent Machines

Catherine Austin Fitts is interviewing a AI and machine learning personality, Hugo de Garis, (Wikipedia bio here) this week.

Born in Australia, it looks like his major professional career has been centered in Japan and China.

-------------

THE ARTILECT WAR

Cosmists vs. Terrans

A Bitter Controversy Concerning Whether Humanity Should Build Godlike Massively Intelligent Machines

 

Prof. Dr. Hugo de GARIS

Director of the “China-Brain Project”

Institute of Artificial Intelligence,

Department of Computer Science,

School of Information Science & Technology,

Xiamen University, Xiamen,

Fujian Province, China.

 

Background:  “The estimated bit processing rate of the human brain is approximately 10^16 bit flips per second…. a hand held artilect could flip at 10^40 bits per second. An asteroid sized artilect could flip at 10^52 bits a second. Thus the raw bit processing rate of the artilect could be a trillion trillion trillion (10^36) times greater than the human brain. If the artilect can be made intelligent, using neuroscience principles, it could be made to be truly godlike, massively intelligent and immortal” ~Dr. Hugo de Garis

 

Abstract. This paper claims that the “species dominance” issue will dominate our global politics later this century. Humanity will be bitterly divided over the question whether to build godlike, massively intelligent machines, called “artilects” (artificial intellects) which with 21st century technologies will have mental capacities trillions of trillions of times above the human level.

Humanity will split into 3 major camps, the “Cosmists” (in favor of building artilects), the “Terrans” (opposed to building artilects), and the “Cyborgs” (who want to become artilects themselves by adding components to their own human brains). A major “artilect war” between the Cosmists and the Terrans, late in the 21st century will kill not millions but billions of people.

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Biotech

Good add.  I think 2-3x is a stretch, but increased lifespan is a real threat. So much so that Legal&General list it as one of their top 5 watershed risks to our economy. But this kind of progress is only possible to the extent that Jersey Mike is wrong.  There are lots of big opposing forces at play, and predicting which ones win will be the key to understanding the distant future. The forces, as I see them, are 1.) Science/Technology 2.) Political Stability 3.) Religion, and 4.) Resources/Ecology

The science and technology necessary to double our lifespan only works if the opposing force of religion fails, and if the enabling political stability exists. For political stability to exist, resources/ecology need to be in good order. 

 

 

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Biotech continued...

... and when resources/ecology are a struggle, and after political stability breaks down, religion will come in to abuse and mislead what’s left. See “Handmaid’s Tale” for that one. 

I think dialing up/down on these four forces gives you the various types of futures we face:

There’s the liberal/socialist utopia of “Demolition Man” where you’re not allowed to curse and a band of underground capitalists eat rat burgers.

There’s the religious right orgy of “Handmaid’s Tale”, where religion comes in to explain a terrifying ecological failure that science currently can’t explain convincingly enough (since facts have lost their luster).

There’s the structured authoritarian futurescape of “The Hunger Games”, where attractive teens fight to the death to keep fear alive in support of a dictatorship.

 

And finally there is the technological hellscape of “The Matrix” where robots save the day, by enslaving all things biological.

Each of these can be explained/described but moving those four dials and pulling the lever.  

 

 

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Frederick 2120

Hi Phil, 

I've written a blog post on what Frederick County, MD will be like in 100 years. Here you go: 

http://futurefrederick.com/?p=1950

Chris C.

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The World in 100 years

We face a great many possible roads to extinction and all imminently but I conjecture there will be survivors.  Plagues and wars in the past have never led to total annihilation and if this time is different then there will be no human story to write.

For a down-to-earth post apocalyptic saga I recommend the BBC’s 38 episode series “Survivors” but I mean strictly the 1975-8 original version and not the shallow, cringe-worthy jazzed up remake of 2008.

This is a down-to-earth epic account of plague survivors. Its realism is amplified by its lack of dramatization. For example, there’s no musical backing just birdsong and the sounds of the countryside.  There are no zombies, no alien interventions just a modern world fading away. There are heroes and villains and all of these are very credible characters but for the most part the story is about ordinary people put into previously unimaginable situations.. The series explores different challenges and opportunities. And, if you don’t like the ending then read the book “Survivors” by Terry Nation which concludes, I think,  more satisfactorily. The 1975-8 BBC series used to be available free on youtube and may be still. Otherwise you may find it on some corner of the internet or buy the DVD set from the BBC. See too http://www.survivorstvseries.com/What_Is_Survivors.htm

I suggest that 100 years from now the human situation will be very similar to that of the BBC survivors. I’ll resist giving spoilers.

 

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The world in 100 years

I believe we have two basic scenarios that may play out.  Clearly the business as usual cannot continue with the resource depletion and pollution of our ecosystem placing clear limits on that trajectory. Assuming no nuclear global war, I think the options post economic, environmental, and energy crash will cause a major population die off and return to a low energy lifestyle based on human, animal, biomass, and water/wind powered energy sources as we had in the 1800's as option one.  That was a  small community based on local agriculture. The other option, although optimistic, is the development of an energy source based on generation of electricity through magnetics, much like Nicola Tessla pioneered. If this scenario develops soon enough, we could mitigate some of the more disastrous outcomes of the first scenario above, but would have a reduced global population and more localized economy as the environment would still be significantly impaired and we would still face the same resource limits. However we might be able to sustain an early 19th century primarily agrarian  life style based on rail and water transportation of some goods.  

Just some speculation as to what it might might look like.  Some of James Howard Kunstler's books might give you a different glimpse. As well, John Michael Greer has some interesting insights as to what it might be like as well.

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