December 24, 2019 61

Random predictions for 2060 | Cosmology & Astronomy | Khan Academy

Random predictions for 2060 | Cosmology & Astronomy | Khan Academy

In the last video
I mentioned how I’ve been asked to make
predictions for the year 2060. And the last one I
focused on education, and that’s obviously
what I’m working on now. So I have some
opinions about that. But what I want to
do in this video is do maybe slightly more
broad and wild predictions, and my one prediction
I’ll make is I’m probably
completely not going to predict the real
reality of 2060. And probably the
really big things to predict I will
completely miss. But with that out of the way
it is fun to predict things. So let’s give it a shot. So the first area
that I will predict is what’s going to happen
in the field of medicine. And in particular, I think
that the human lifespan is going to increase
dramatically. So I’ll be conservative
and say that the lifespan, the average human
lifespan, is going to be, and especially in
the developed world, and once again, hopefully
by 2060 most of the world is developed, that the
average human lifespan is going to be over 100 years old. And I won’t say
whether that’s going to be a good or a bad thing. There’s arguments either way
about the proper way to live, and what happens to
global populations. But if the world is for the
most part developed and educated you actually will probably have
a lower rate of reproduction. So you might actually
have some space in the world for older people. But this I think there
is a very strong chance of this happening,
because we are starting to understand the
molecular basis of aging. It’s not a given thing that
because of some form of wear and tear things have to die
at after 70 years, or 80 years, or 90 years,
and we’re starting to understand the mechanisms,
and how to maybe improve the repair mechanisms, or how
to augment it in some way. So I definitely think
this is going to happen. I don’t know whether it’s going
to be a positive or negative. But it’s likely to happen. The next thing– and this
is kind of closely related, this is still
biological– is you’re going to have a close
integration between the digital and the biological. And once again, I won’t
make any statement of whether this is a
good or a bad thing, but it seems like it’s
just an extrapolation of the direction we’re
already going in, digital and biological
integration. So already you’re
getting more and more in your handheld devices. Imagine when your screen is
now no longer in your palm, but it’s being projected
onto your retina from some little thing. And then eventually you
have a direct connection with your retina and
your brain can directly access areas of memory
through just direct through some biological
and digital interface. So I definitely think
this is going to happen. This is a big deal, because
this is starting to– And I think it’s
already happening with a lot of what you
see around technology. It’s really going
to reshape what the individual human
experience is going to be. We already see people kind of
living in virtual realities and playing these
immersive games, and spending all of their time
on social networking platforms. What happens when
they’re literally plugged in all the time, when
almost their cellphone is in the brain? I don’t know. I’m not going to comment whether
it’s a good or a bad thing. But it does look
like a trend that’s going to keep on going
through the next 50 years. Now, if we take that
even further, we’re talking about a digital
and biological integration, but if you go at the extreme,
and actually it’s probably both of these top two
things combined in some way, is that we are learning. And once again,
not make a comment whether it’s good or bad. It’s just an extrapolation
of what we’re already seeing. We are seeing more
and more ability to understand our genome, to
molecularly target things, to manipulate actual biology. And so what you have is
that you can actually have manipulation of biology. And this is on
some level creepy. It could be creepy or
it could be exciting depending on how
it all plays out. But it could do things like
augment human intelligence, which would, if you think about
all the progress of society and all the things that
already accelerating, imagine how society will change
if intelligence itself is augmented. And as someone with a
limited intelligence, I can’t even imagine what will
happen as soon as you do this. And obviously, the more you
augment intelligence, the more that you can learn how
to augment intelligence, and increase lifespan, and
do digital and biological integration even more. So these things I see
as some form of a trend. We’ll see how it all plays
out, and hopefully it plays out in kind of the
feel-good Care Bear version versus some
type of crazy society and we all turn into
the Borg in some way. Now, the other
trend, and these are the things that just
popped into my brain today when I pressed record,
but the other trend that I think is interesting is
some of the things that we’ve taken for granted in
terms of how nations interact with each other,
and nation states in particular interact
with each other. And just as a kind
of an overview, so there’s a notion
called a nation state. And in everyday language the
word nation and the word state almost means the same
thing, but they kind of mean different things
if you want to be a little bit more
formal about it. And that’s why people use
the word nation state. That’s like to a
lot of people, hey, doesn’t that mean
saying like state state? The difference between
a nation and a state is these are a
group of people that feel some type of
common identity. It could be a language. It could be a culture. It could be a value system. So this is some kind
of common identity. And it often is somehow
associated with geography, but it does not have to be
associated with geography. It could even be a religion,
or it could be whatever else. That’s what a nation is. A state is a formal governance
structure that makes the laws and has the institutions
to make society function. Now, a nation state
is what most of us live in today
because it both has an identity and some type
of formal institutions. So a very pure nation state
would be some place like Japan, where there’s relatively
uniform, in terms of ethnicity and religion, and
in terms of culture, and you have that
same group of people are governing themselves. In a place like the
United States ethnicity, religion, that’s diverse,
but what gives identity is a notion of shared
values and a notion of maybe a common
history or whatever else, or a certain kind of world view. And obviously there’s a
formal state structure. Now, what I think is going
to be interesting here, and I actually have no
idea how all of this is going to play
out, but when you see things like some of the
revolutions in the Middle East due to things like people
being able to communicate irrespective of the
traditional media, I think there’s going to be some
interesting questions on what happens to the nation state,
especially nation states that are able to secure their
power by kind of having a bottleneck on
access to information. And all of that
is, I think, going to change in a very
dramatic way as you have more and more
integration between people, cross-border
communications, when people realize that the people
on the other side of the border really aren’t that
different than themselves. And another
interesting thing, even the notion of democracy–
and once again, I don’t know how it’s
going to play out– but all notions of
representational democracy that we have today are
somewhat based on geography. They’re somewhat
based on geography. And that’s because when
the major representational democracies came about
that was the best way to represent each other. Hey, let me pick some
representatives from our county or from our region, and they’ll
go elect other representatives, and they’ll go to the
national government. But now that we have this
instantaneous communication with people you
might be able to have different types of a
representational democracy, or maybe you could even have
more direct democracies. Who knows, because of things
like [INAUDIBLE] communication, and technology,
and whatever else. And then the other
way that I think nation states are, the way
they fundamentally interact is going to change is actually
in things like warfare. And once again, already
seeing this trend. In particular, I think
developed countries are not going to have humans
on the front line. And depending on
your point of view, this could be a very
good thing or it could be a kind
of a scary thing, because if you have no
humans on the front line, and you’re already seeing things
like this with these predator drones and you see these
robot bomb detectors, and things like that. And it doesn’t even have
to be these big things. There’s already a
DARPA funded project to work on miniature
insects that could be used as some
form of reconnaissance, or you could imagine
eventually they could have these little
things on them that could knock someone out,
or who knows what they do. The exciting thing is that
all of a sudden a human won’t be there to get shot. And so hopefully military
casualties would go down. The scary thing
here is if you don’t have humans on the
front line nations might be willing to enter into war,
especially developed nations, they might not take
it as seriously. And so it might be something
that they do a little bit more when they’re in the mood. And it would actually
create a huge disparity between developed and developing
nations when this happens. And you already see that
to a certain degree. A developed nation,
they don’t have to put as many
humans in harm’s way. And it’s purely
driven by their wealth to have capital that
can go, you know, these robots and these drones,
and their technological innovation, while in
the developing countries they actually would have
to use human beings. So their cost would be much,
much, much, much higher. So it’s an interesting question. And once again, who
knows how this plays out, whether it’s a good or bad
thing in the long term. And I think a similar
thing with this is I think you’re
going to see more and more nonlethal weapons,
which once again, it’s very similar to this, it
sounds like it’s a good thing. You know, if there’s
a gun that instead of having to kill someone, it
incapacitates them in some way, or it stuns them in some way,
kind of the classic Star Trek put your phasers on stun things. I guess the scarier version
of nonlethal weapons is the threshold for using
it becomes much lower. So if a government wants
to subject its citizens or subject another
group of citizens it can literally just stun them,
or it can make them pass out, or it could control
them in some way. And so this could be
a little bit scarier. So who knows how all
of this plays out. So those are my
predictions or things to think about over
the next 50 years. These are just the things that
happened to jump into my brain today, probably based on some
of the science fiction books I’ve been reading,
or whatever else. But taken with a
huge grain of salt I don’t know if these things are
really going to happen or not. And I don’t know if they’re
even a good thing or not, but they seem to be a bit
of an extrapolation of what we’re already seeing.

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