2030 ADAI is widespread
Despite the recent economic disruption, technology is continuing to accelerate exponentially. By 2030, the pace of change is so great that it seems as if an entire century of progress has already occurred in the first three decades of the 21st century. Scientific breakthroughs appear to be happening with startling frequency now - especially in the fields of computing, nanotechnology, medicine and neuroscience.
Workplaces are becoming highly automated, with tremendous improvements in speed, productivity and efficiency. Ever-increasing use of portable, wireless devices has led to the evolution of near-paperless offices. Meanwhile, the need for hyperfast exchange of information has created enormous demand for video conferencing. This trend is reinforced by significant reductions in air travel, due to both spiralling fuel costs and environmental concerns.
Many companies are downsizing their administrative departments and replacing them with AI. This is particularly true of call centres and other service-based roles, where customers often deal face-to-face with "virtual employees" based on automated software. Crude versions of these had been utilised as far back as the 1990s - activated by simple voice commands - but many are now being presented onscreen as fully conversant entities.
Though lacking much in the way of personality, these sentient programs talk with "perfect" voices and are very pleasant on the ears.* They have a multitude of menu options and can usually deal with almost any query - however specific or unusual - thanks to their advanced voice and facial recognition software, in combination with extremely powerful database systems.
As competition increases, these virtual employees become a powerful marketing tool in the bid to provide the best possible customer service. In addition to mainstream companies, the adult entertainment industry gains a huge advantage from them, with enormous demand for their services. Research and development into artificial intelligence (and related hardware/software) increases greatly during this period. An added benefit of interacting with these virtual people is the elimination of caller queuing, since there is no need for physical staff anymore.
With AI playing a stronger role in society, concerns begin to arise of a "technological singularity" - as forecast by Ray Kurzweil and others. These fears prove to be exaggerated for now, in a manner similar to the Millenium Bug.AIDS, cancer and a number of other diseases are becoming curable
The combination of stem cell research, synthetic genomics, nanotechnology and other breakthroughs has led to cures for a wide range of illnesses by now - including AIDS/HIV, the majority of cancers, motor neurone disease, arthritis and diabetes. Although Parkinson's and Alzheimer's have yet to be fully understood, dramatic progress is now being made thanks to reverse-engineering of the human brain.*
The growth of information technology in medicine has played an enormous role here. Ongoing, exponential gains in the scale, capacity and price performance of computer hardware (doubling annually) have transformed the ability to scan, analyse and decode the human body.
The tools to reprogram the information processes underlying biology are gaining a further boost from the growth of strong AI. This is being used to greatly accelerate research efforts. Automated software programs now combine the subtlety of humans with the speed, memory and knowledge sharing of non-biological intelligence.Full weather modeling is perfected
Zettaflop-scale computing is now available which is a thousand times more powerful than computers of 2020 and a million times more powerful than those of 2010. One field seeing particular benefit during this time is meteorology. Weather forecasts can be generated with 99% accuracy over a two week period.* Satellites can map wind and rain patterns in real time at phenomenal resolution - from square kilometres in previous decades, down to square metres with today's technology. Global warming, climate modeling and sea level predictions can also be achieved with greater detail than ever before, offering greater certainty about the long-term outlook for the planet.Web 4.0 is transforming the Internet landscape
Further convergence of the online and physical world has led to the emergence of "Web 4.0" - the next generation of internet. Semantic analyzing programs, having evolved into forms of AI, now perform a huge range of automated tasks for business, government and consumers. Running on massively parallel networks, these applications hunt for textual and visual data - combining the most subtle capabilities of humans (such as pattern recognition) with ways in which machines are already vastly superior (such as speed and memory).*
In addition to serving as highly advanced search engines, they are playing a major function in the real world - gathering information from the array of sensors, cameras and other tracking devices now present in the environment, on vehicles, and even on people themselves.
Although privacy and civil liberties issues are being raised, this new generation of IT promises to bring enormous benefits to society. Crimes are faster and easier to solve thanks to these intelligent virtual agents; transport and logistics are smoother and more efficient; resources can be managed and distributed more accurately.
In addition, practically every physical document in existence has now been digitally encoded, backed up and archived online. This includes full copies of all books, journals, manuscripts and other literature ever published – forming a complete repository of human knowledge going back thousands of years. These documents can be retrieved and analysed using real-time speech commands, translated from any of the world's 6,000 languages and accessed via 3D holographic imaging.
Web 4.0 is also democratising the Internet more than ever before. News agencies are finding themselves increasingly outmoded by bloggers and other social media when it comes to speed and accuracy of information.Stem cell pharmacies are commonplace
Stem cell pharmacies are now a common sight on high streets. These offer walk-in diagnosis, stem-cell collection and banking services for use in future medical crises. Cheap, personalised and targeted treatments are available for the rapid regeneration of body parts and organs.Terabit internet speeds are commonplace[/FONT]
In addition to the benefits resulting from Web 4.0 (described earlier), connection speeds have also vastly improved. Bandwidth has been growing by roughly 50% each year. Many households in the developed world now have a terabit connection.* A significant number of these connections are now appearing on people themselves, in the form of wearable or implantable devices.2033 ADHolographic wall screens
Conference halls, movie theatres, stadiums and other such environments are now utilising holographic wall screens. These are basically larger and more sophisticated versions of the TV projectors which have been in use since 2020. At this stage, they remain too expensive for mainstream use in the home (except for luxury apartments owned by the rich). However, they are a relatively common sight in public venues and workplaces. Times Square in New York, Piccadilly Circus in London, and Shibuya in Tokyo now feature spectacular advertisement displays, with graphics appearing to literally "jump out" of the screen.2035 ADSelf-driving vehicles are widespread
In many developed countries, a new generation of self-driving vehicles is emerging. These use a combination of advanced GPS, AI and lane-changing technology to carry passengers to their destination automatically. As well as improving road safety, most of these cars are electric, or hybrid electric, reducing their impact on the environment.Holographic recreations of dead people
Throughout this time many dead celebrities, presidents and historical figures from the past are "resurrected" online, via the immense AI and supercomputing powers now available. This phenomenon is aided by the recent human brain simulations that have been made possible. Data mining of every single word ever spoken, written, or otherwise recorded by the person is undertaken, then analysed to recreate their character traits and emotions. This allows the construction of a highly accurate "shell" personality, surrounding a generic "core" program, run as an entirely independent AI simulation.
The project sparks much controversy when first announced (especially among the religious community) but soon gains momentum, as a whole host of actors, musicians, artists, scientists, politicians and other individuals from the past are made available.* Advanced holographic techniques - combined with real-time audio-visual interaction - make them appear as lifelike as any other person alive in the world today.
This form of computerised resurrection is soon extended and made possible for ordinary citizens wishing to preserve a loved one in digital form; though once again, it is more popular among the non-religious (and the process is generally less accurate, since the average person tends to leave behind less data, written words, video recordings and other information for use in constructing the programs). The technology involved is also expensive. It is used only by the rich for now - or in certain public locations such as museums, galleries and other venues.2036 ADIn-vitro meat is a rapidly growing industry
Recent advances in tissue engineering have made it possible to "grow" synthetic meat - using single animal cells.* This was first sold to the public in the late 2020s.* After years of further testing and refinement, a wide range of different meat products are available. It is now a rapidly expanding market, especially in drought-affected regions.
In-vitro meat has a number of advantages. Being just a lump of cultivated cells, it is produced without harm or cruelty to animals. It is unusually pure and healthy whilst retaining the original flavour, texture and appearance of traditional meat. Perhaps most importantly, it requires far less water and energy to produce, greatly lessening the impact on the environment.
Like GM crops, political and psychological hurdles delayed its introduction to consumers. The emerging food crisis, however, along with endorsements from animal welfare groups, later gave impetus to its development. Though still years away from completely replacing traditional meat, it is now a mainstream product in many countries.Alzheimer's disease is fully curable
New treatments for Alzheimer's developed in the 2020s reduced the risk of acquiring the disease by more than half.* Thanks to pioneering efforts, a further decade of progress has yielded what may be considered an effective cure. Drawing from a myriad of long-term studies, researchers have identified the precise mechanisms and processes involved in the loss of neurons and synapses in the cerebral cortex and subcortical regions. Faulty genes can be "switched off" with a new generation of drugs, while the brain itself can be regenerated using stem cells.**
This breakthrough was aided in part by reverse-engineering of the human brain, which provided researchers with a complete model of its neurological system down to the cellular level. Nanobots - first developed in 2025 - are now seeing widespread use in medical establishments and these machines can precisely target individual cells.**
The ability to combat Alzheimer's is one of the great success stories of the 2030s. It comes at a time when dementia rates are soaring: with an ageing population, the number of cases was predicted to quadruple by 2050.2037 ADQuantum computers are widely available
Most government agencies, universities and research institutes now have access to this revolutionary technology, which offers spectacular computing speed and power on a completely different scale to anything used before. These machines work by making direct use of quantum mechanical phenomena, such as superposition and entanglement, to perform operations on data. In addition to being trillions of times faster than earlier computers, they can be made absolutely secure, too. The machines' encryption techniques are virtually unbreakable, due to the almost unimaginable number of instructions being executed simultaneously.2038 ADTeleportation of complex organic molecules
In the early 2000s, scientists were able to transfer particles of light (with zero mass) over short distances. Further experiments in quantum entanglement led to successful teleportation of the first complete atom. This was followed by the first molecules, consisting of multiple atoms. By the late 2030s, the first complex organic molecules such as DNA and proteins are being teleported.2039 AD
Full immersion virtual reality
Towards the end of this decade, computers are becoming sophisticated enough to bring full immersion virtual reality to the mainstream.*
In other words, users now have the option of actually "being" in a video game and experiencing its graphics, audio and other effects (e.g. tactile feedback) in a manner that is practically indistinguishable from the real world.
This stunning breakthrough has been achieved through exponential trends in computing over the previous decades - including a billionfold improvement in processing power and price performance, combined with a 100,000-fold shrinkage of components and circuitry.*
For the first time, human brains are actually being merged with computer intelligence. Rather than viewing games on a screen, users now experience the game from within their own nervous systems, as though it were an extension of their mind. Players undergo a simple, minimally invasive procedure to insert nanobots (blood cell-sized devices) into their bodies. These microscopic machines are self-guided towards the neurons in their brain responsible for visual, auditory and other senses. Here, they remain in a dormant state, but in close proximity to the brain cells.
When the user wishes to experience a simulated reality, the nanobots immediately move into place, suppressing all of the inputs coming from the real senses, and replacing them with signals corresponding to the virtual environment. If the user decides to move their limbs and muscles as they normally would, the nanobots again intercept these neurochemical signals - suppressing the "real world" limbs from moving, and instead causing their "virtual" limbs to move within the game. This means a user can be sitting in a fixed position, while experiencing a high degree of activity and movement.
Although most people are initially wary of these devices, they have been around in some form since at least 2025 (eg. for medical purposes) and years of testing, security and safety measures have gone into this latest generation. Detailed regulations are now in place which cover any possible eventuality. For example, a power cut means the nanobots simply detach from the neurons - automatically returning a user to the real world - while checks are constantly performed to ensure there is no danger of being "trapped" in a virtual environment.
Furthermore, the machines are not permanent and can be removed from the body altogether if desired. In any case, it is practically impossible for them to damage nerve cells or cause any lasting damage, due to their small size and limited functionality. Over the next few years, many people come to accept them as a natural part of their bodies – just as bacteria and other small objects are part of their stomach, digestion and other internal processes.
Full immersion VR isn't just limited to games. With such huge creative scope, it is being used for a whole range of applications now: from business to education, training, healthcare, engineering, design, media and entertainment.
Tourism is being revolutionised, since people no longer have to travel great distances or spend large amounts of money to explore the sights and sounds of another location – they can simply go online. For this reason, a number of travel firms are going bust around this time, or else drastically changing their business models to account for this new medium.
Of course, that’s not to say these online holidays are intrinsically better than the real thing. Although on a different scale of technical wizardry compared to graphics of previous decades, they are still somewhat limited in their accuracy of towns and cities. At this stage, many of them lack sufficient AI, are often sparsely populated, and miss out vital details or subtle characteristics of foreign culture... things which make real-life travel such an enriching, worthwhile experience. Decades of refinement will be needed before VR is entirely convincing.
Nevertheless, this new phenomenon is so profound in its depth of interactivity – as well as sheer convenience, accessibility and ease of use – that it presents a serious threat to old-line travel agencies.
One way that the industry adapts to this is by offering more detailed, advanced and sophisticated holiday environments, for a fee. However, this becomes only a temporary solution, as certain users find a way to pirate these programs, which are then duplicated and shared online. The problem is exacerbated by groups collaborating to form their own free/open source programs, which combine the best elements from these and others, and are easy to customise by the casual user. In some cases, "hybrid" versions of holiday destinations are being created which offer wholly new, surreal and bizarrely dreamlike experiences. One such example might be a recreation of New York with a tropical coastline, populated by characters from Star Wars.
Just as the internet led to a decline in the music industry, the same is now happening to the travel industry. From the 2040s onwards there is a massive decline in air travel and overseas holiday bookings. The effects of climate change and worsening environmental crises are also playing a part here. A growing number of citizens are choosing to stay at home, with most communication and interaction being done online. The same is true of businesses – especially with regard to meetings and conferences, which are increasingly being held in virtual settings.
One area of commerce with no such troubles is the adult entertainment industry. Full immersion VR allows users to meet and interact with people in astonishingly lifelike ways. This includes virtual recreations of glamorous celebrities and film stars…Universal translators are ubiquitous
On-person devices that instantly translate speech, text or handwriting from any of the world's 6,000 languages are widespread by this time.* This includes contact lenses with Internet connections, capable of displaying subtitles in the wearer's field of vision.* Every website and virtual environment now has translation facilities too.
This technology has the effect of speeding up many bureaucratic/administrative procedures in business and government – as well as improving trust and cooperation at both a national and individual level.Nanotech fabrics are ubiquitous
Nanotech fabrics are everywhere now. They are available for a huge range of clothing, footwear and accessories, some of which are remarkable in their design. For instance, many clothes can be programmed to change their molecular structure to alter their colour, texture or style. Others have self-cleaning abilities, with micro-thin layers of disinfectant to regulate germs and dirt.
Others have more exotic properties. One such example is a material that can replicate the texture of geckos' feet. This allows people to stick to vertical surfaces, giving them Spiderman-like agility.* In addition to outdoor adventurers and climbers, a number of radical activists are making use of this. Eco-protesters for example are often seen on the news, scaling prominent buildings to unveil banners and placards. A number of government offices and corporate headquarters are being targetted in this way – raising fears of more serious incidents involving terrorists. Many companies are forced to improve their security measures.
More advanced "chameleon"-style fabric is being utilised by special forces. This comes in the form of fully-enclosing suits which change colour to match the wearer’s environment, providing a near-perfect means of camouflage.
Part IV will follow...
'I could feel his muscle tissues collapse under my force. It's ludicrous these mortals even attempt to enter my realm.' - Mike Tyson