Ed’s note: 2050 – the good, the bad and the highly improbable?


A few weeks ago, we considered some predictions as to what the world was meant to look like by 2020. I particularly liked Tesla’s prediction that we would only be drinking alcohol and that our vacuum cleaners were likely to be nuclear powered.

A 100% guaranteed prediction that I can make for 2019 is this: If you don’t secure your space in issue 1-2019 of Smart Energy International now, you will be too late and even worse, you will regret this oversight. In addition to our distribution at DTech 2019, Middle East Electricity and World Smart Energy Week, you will miss out on the opportunity to be seen and influence our distribution of more than 100,000 decision makers from around the world. Is that a chance you are willing to take?

Today, Id like to consider some predictions for what 2050 could look like – the good, the bad and the highly improbable.

The Good

  • According to the folk at Quantumrun, 90% of all vehicle sales will be for autonomous vehicles.  Equally, 26.5 million electric vehicles will have been sold and Toyota will no longer sell cars that operate with petrol/gasoline.
  • Ulrich Eberl says that computers will be 1,000 times faster and more powerful.
  • The cost of solar energy will continue to drop, and it is anticipated that by 2050, more than 27% of our energy will be generated from solar.
  • Forbes says that AI will become a positive net job motivator, creating 2.3 million jobs to replace the 1.8 million jobs replaced by AI – and that is only by 2020…
  • Thermal energy from the ocean could allow us to become 100% renewable.
  • Charles Ebinger, Director of the Energy Security Initiative at the Brookings Institution, thinks that by 2050 we will have a fully integrated smart grid which links our appliances directly to energy distribution systems, allowing for real-time pricing based on supply and demand. [Smithsonian magazine]

The Bad

  • The World’s population will be 9.7 billion people and of that 2 billion will live in countries with absolute water scarcity.
  • 6 million people will die annually from air pollution.
  • In the Smithsonian magazine, environmentalist Bill McKibben we need to do more to combat global warming. Otherwise, it’s likely we could see “out-of-control rises in sea levelsparticularly dangerous in island nations like the Philippines enormous crop shortfalls, and wars over increasingly scarce freshwater resources.”
  • Professor Toby Walsh, in his new book It’s Alive!: Artificial Intelligence from the Logic Piano to Killer Robots, predicts humans will be banned from driving in 2050. “If we can take the human out of the loop, we can make our roads much safer,” he believes.

I’m not sure if this is good or bad

  • The average number of connected devices per person will be 25.
  • Half the number of jobs that are currently done in the world will no longer exist.
  • Daily visits to your doctor? Walsh believes we will have to seek medical advice every day. “We will wear a fitness watch that monitors our pulse, blood pressure, sleep, exercise and other vitals. “Your toilet will automatically analyse your urine and stool. Your smartphone will regularly take selfies of you, in order to understand your health better. It will, for instance, identify suspect skin melanomas and monitor the health of your eyes.”

The improbable?

  • According to Jacques Attali, economist and political scientist in his book A brief history of the future: A brave and controversial look at the twenty-first century the United States will continue to be a world power, but “the United States will cease to run the world.”
  • Attali, the co-founder of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (and I mention this to show he is a serious academic and the man who predicted the US financial crash) also believes human cloning means that “the human being will .. become a commercial object.” He also mentions something about a belief that a “utopia of altruistic ‘transhumans’ will emerge from the ashes of mid-21st century planetary warfare”… but this is a bit hard to swallow. war, but that is even more improbable, so we will leave it here.

Do you believe that these predictions hold water? How likely are they to come true? Do you have any to add to this small and definitely not exhaustive selection? Share your thoughts with us at editorial@smart-energy.com

Until next week