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Ang Perrier

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Projections for the next 20 years

Based on current global trends, financial, military, social, technological, etc... what are your predictions of what the next 20 years will have in store for your country, state, business, world, or all the above??
Compare what you think will happen to what you hope will happen.





The end of this conversation is drawing near. The theme of which has been very much what I thought it would be. Every one of us can pin point the problems of today that will lead us into a dismal future unless rectified. None of us here on TED has the "power" required to solve these problems. Individually we are far too powerless. Take a look at the size of this online community, there aren't very many of us. We are the people who choose to discuss, debate, and challenge each other. If our need to speak out and communicate about substantial issues was being satisfied completely in our daily lives many of us would not be registered in an online community seeking other like minded individuals who will care about the thoughts we think. An ignorant complacency has been epidemically spreading for too long and feels irreversible which makes the future seem a dark and dreary place. My optimism lies in the fact that we all get "it", we know, we understand, but in order for anything to come out of this understanding of what changes need to be made and what the end result has to be for all of us we need to buckle down and do something. I'm in no way trying to make that a personal attack statement, I don't feel as though we're all standing idly by as everything happens to us.
There were numerous comments suggesting that something big is speeding toward us, a game changer, a war, a revolution, a revelation, a...something. Whatever "it" is I just hope that we can discuss, debate, and challenge each other to become empowered individuals with answers as opposed to a list of problems.

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Closing Statement from Ang Perrier

Thank you for all the contributions :)

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  • Sep 4 2013: I posit that every response so far is a potential future state, each with a probability of occurrence. Some futures have higher probability, but random events can bring an unlikely situation into reality and obviate higher probability futures. This is why it's impossible to predict the future in detail; you would have to know of all future chance events that change the probabilities.

    This said, there are clear trends that influence the probability of what the world will become. While there are many (all of which could radically change the future and as noted above have the potential to render more likely trends moot), I feel there are four interrelated trends that will have the most impact: population growth, water shortages, environmental change, and exponential advances in technology.

    In 20 years there will be an additional 1.5B people on Earth, bringing the population to 8.5B+. Growth is slowing, but with 7B+ already here, it is inevitable. To provide just the incremental food and shelter will be painful, and in some geographies disastrous.

    Earth is 71% covered in water, but just 1% is available fresh water, created by the hydrologic cycle. Humanity has been diverting increasing volumes of fresh water from this cycle, resulting in negative impacts in other cycles. Water availability will shape economies and populations.

    The evidence that emissions from burning fossil fuel and deforestation have changed climates cannot be denied, but humanity will continue to put economic growth ahead of addressing this issue. The unknown is how rapid and severe the changes will be.

    The accelerating rate of technology advances has the potential to solve some or all of the issues above, but will bring new issues to bear. Barriers to our understanding of all aspects of science are falling at an ever increasing rate. Our expanding command of the physical world will give us ever more control. For example, by 2033 death will no longer be inevitable, for those who can afford it.

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