In 2050 people will live longer and healthier than ever. The world’s current population of about 7 billion people will grow by more than a third and reach 10 billion. The average life expectancy at birth will reach 90 years, and most of the population will live longer than one century. The society will be driven mostly by the needs of ultra-centenarians.
Centenarians will be active and creative. They will live independently and will communicate seamlessly within physical and virtual spaces. Their interaction with youngsters, irrespective of geographical location, will accelerate knowledge-sharing and cross-fertilisation of experiences across generations. This will boost wisdom in the global society.
Roles and lifestyles as well as education, learning and working patterns will be age-independent. Personal aspirations will also evolve dynamically across age classes. Work and living styles that were prerogative of few classes, ages and regions, will become global "acquis".
There will be a significant shift in the human perception of time and experience. Particularly, bio-technological artefacts will allow people to store experiences and to hold memories of their life. The digitalised history of individuals will therefore be shared with others for possible re-use. For instance, there will be the possibility to reproduce situations and emotions experienced by others decades before. Virtual immortality will therefore be reality.
Beyond the digital society of the 10ies, we will see the emergence of a new form of humanism (trans-humanism), where ICTs and other key enabling technologies will fundamentally improve the human condition, eliminate aging and greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.
Key transformative drivers
- The advent of nano-robots will allow the diagnosis and treatment of diseases at any age, including pre-birth surgery. They will be able to read from and write into our biology, detect and destroy neoplasms, thus defeating cancer forever. Similarly, bio-computers will be inoculated into the human body to perform complex tasks, for instance sensing and monitoring the status of organs or repairing tissues and organs in real-time, in-situ, at a micro and nano scale.
- Almost all organs will be re-generated in vitro and implanted with 100% success rate, or be repaired in-situ. The replacement of amputated organs will allow disabled people to enjoy sensory experiences equivalent to the rest of the society.
- Progress in bio-medicine will allow defeating Alzheimer, Parkinson, and other degenerative diseases. But new social diseases may emerge, partially caused by new forms of pollution (super-exposure to electromagnetic sources, contamination with technology, etc.) which may have a reverse impact on life expectancy.
- The complex mechanisms of life and the very inner biological processes that regulate the expression of strings into biological functions or dysfunctions will be fully understood.
- The availability of increasingly accurate computational models of the human's anatomy and physiology will allow detecting and preventing diseases at genetic level, or treating them before they evolve into actual sicknesses. Such virtual models will also enable in-silico test of drugs before the actual treatment, thus reaching 100% accuracy and no side-effects.
- The increased capability to gather biological and environmental data thanks to the widespread of nano-sensor networks, the internet of things, as well as the widespread availability of high-performance computing capacity to store data and to run simulations.
- Personalised diagnosis and treatment, including nutritional and lifestyle advices, tailored to the specific needs of individuals.
- Unlimited production of stem cells: each individual will have an unlimited stock available for many potential usages, from recovering dysfunctions to improving physical capabilities. Stem cells will be used in-vitro to build new organs, or in-situ to repair malfunctioning ones.
- Improved working experience and lifestyles of people, including better balances between private and professional lives will allow significantly decrease of social illness and psychosomatic diseases.
The results of all brainstormings undergone at the "Ground-breaking Policies for Future Societies" workshop, including this very vision, can be found here.
- In the rich world, men are closing the longevity gap with women: