Good morning. This is the chance for us to be completely outrageous. We will be talking about a subject that none of us know anything about—and therefore I hope you will all join in—which is our grandchildren’s future, the year 2050.
It’s the kind of conversation we should really reserve for late at night after a dinner such as we had last night. The early hours of Sunday morning are harder to deal with in this capacity, but I’m sure you will all jump in and help us out.
All ideas, however outrageous, will be gratefully received, and to show you that it doesn’t matter if you make a fool of yourself, I intend to make a fool of myself now by predicting the kind of world in which we might be living by 2050. It will of course be a world in which
And anyhow, by 2050
The European Union by that time, of course having a single currency, will stretch from the Urals in
But if those are the threats in 2050, what are the things that we can have our grandchildren look forward to? A world, of course, awash with energy. Fuel cell technology powering our cars, powering our houses at virtually no cost; unlimited energy from clean nuclear fuel—by this time the brains at the chemistry and physics department at The University of Texas will have gotten their minds around that. Unlimited fuel and unlimited information, the cost of information of all kinds of information being zero and the amount of information and one’s ability to use it being infinite.
In fact, if it weren’t for those glaring populations elsewhere in the world, it would be a glorious time to be alive, and boy, will you be alive for a long time. Your grandchildren by 2050 will have had any little bits of DNA that may have needed correcting already corrected in the womb. They will be looking forward to a life span of, well, 100, 150 years, and of course will be completely immune to many of today’s killers. The computer chip imbedded at the time of birth will make quite sure that there’s an immediate alert if anything does go wrong with the DNA programming.
So it will be a great time to be alive.
What will be the divisions? They won’t be “Are you black or white or yellow or anything else?” They will be “Do you come from a family of parents who are married?” There will be a new class. There will be a division between those children who are brought up in stable homes with funny things (good parents who happen to be around for the first 15 years of their life) and those who do not know their parents, certainly do not know their fathers. All of the massive studies that have been done in the
They will be good human beings: open, liberal—and I use that in the British context. I’m always aware it’s a word that doesn’t travel the
They will be worried by the 400 million people who have been displaced by 2050 by the rising waters caused by global warming. These will be people who live along deltas and estuaries, whether it be in
Water indeed will be on our grandchildren’s minds, and not just that which is flooding in from the sea. Water will be the main worry and concern, the main subject of war in 2050, because that is the one thing that will not be plentiful. It won’t be plentiful in
One country will cast an envious eye over another country’s river supply and will be willing to go to war to make sure that it gets its water. There will be the certainty of rationing because there will not be enough, not nearly enough to go around.
But if these are the worries that our grandchildren will have, they will on balance be a happier generation than ours, and that is because, by and large, human beings progress. Our lot gets better. We are more reasonable. When we look back at the past, we look at the past as being unreasonable, and you can be quite sure that your grandchildren when they’re my age will look at all of us as being completely unreasonable.
So with those few remarks and having made a complete fool of myself, I hand over to the sober Steven Murdock, who will show us how it’s going to be in 2050 in