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Forecasting informs the planning and policy making processes within all governments and commercial organisations. Forecasts may be either qualitative extrapolations from a current state or quantitative output from models or simulations based on historical data and trends.
Forecasts are published by:
In addition, leading experts in a particular field develop and publish their own individual forecasts, and notable thinkers called futurists formulate independent visions of the future.
Forecasting is obviously not an exact science, and different experts may legitimately forecast different dates for the same event, because they use different models or assumptions. This timeline is organised by topic, allowing different forecasts of the same event to be compared side by side. Although the forecasts in this timeline are produced by professionals, no judgement is made as to their accuracy.
As far back as the nineteenth century, scholars and scientists made predictions about the future. Lord Kelvin, "One Heck of a Prognosticator, president of the Royal Society in the 1890s, and disbeliever in virtually every scientific discovery," claimed that “Radio has no future,” “I have not the smallest molecule of faith in aerial navigation other than ballooning,” and “X-rays will prove to be a hoax;” Orville Wright, in 1908 claimed that “No flying machine will ever fly from New York to Paris;” and Irving Thalberg, MGM movie producer, asserted in 1927 that “Novelty is always welcome, but talking pictures are just a fad.” Thus, making forecasts of the future's timeline has a historic basis in which many of the predictions by even experts have proven inaccurate.
List of future events (structured by topic)
Artificial intelligence and robotics
- Robots capable of manual labor tasks--
- 2007 - a cooking robot in some restaurants (2018 in private homes), Pansum, developers of AIC, 2006
- 2009 - robots that perform searching and fetching tasks in unmodified library environment, Professor Angel del Pobil (University Jaume I, Spain), 2004
- 2011 - sex robots that have sex with people, Henrik Christensen, chairman of EURON, the European Robotics Research Network (“People will be having sex with robots within five years.”, “Trust Me I’m A Robot.” The Economist, June 8th 2006).
- 2015-2020 - every South Korean household will have a robot and many European, The Ministry of Information and Communication (South Korea), 2007
- 2018 - robots will routinely carry out surgery, South Korea government 2007
- 2022 - intelligent robots that sense their environment, make decisions, and learn are used in 30% of households and organizations - TechCast
- 2030 - robots capable of performing at human level at most manual jobs Marshall Brain
- 2034 - robots (home automation systems) performing most household tasks, Helen Greiner, Chairman of iRobot
- Military robots
- 2015 - one third of US fighting strength will be composed of robots - US Department of Defense, 2006
- 2035 - first completely autonomous robot soldiers in operation - US Department of Defense, 2006
- 2038 - first completely autonomous robot flying car in operation - US Department of Technology, 2007
- Artificial intelligence
- 2019 - $1,000 computer will match the processing power of the human brain - Ray Kurzweil
- 2020 - Artificial Intelligence reaches human levels - Arthur C. Clarke
- 2045 - The Singularity (creation of the first ultraintelligent machine) occurs - Ray Kurzweil
- 2050 - computer costing a few hundred pounds will have the capacity of the human mind - Hans Moravec
- 2055 - $1,000 computer will match the processing power of all human brains on Earth - Ray Kurzweil
Biology and medicine
- Visual prosthetics
- Implantable gadgets
- Use of animal organs for transplantation
- Regenerative medicine
- Cloning of dinosaurs
- Reverse engineering of human brain
- 1 petaFLOPS supercomputer
- 10 petaFLOPS supercomputer (the amount required to simulate the human brain according to Kurzweil)
- 1 zettaFLOPS supercomputer
- User interface
Culture and leisure
- Entertainment channels
- Virtual reality
- World population exceeds 7 billion
- World population exceeds 8 billion
- World population exceeds 9 billion
- World population exceeds 10 billion
- Other demographic milestones
- 2020 - world average life expectancy of new-born child exceeds 70 years - World Resources Institute
- 2030 - number of people aged 65 or older exceeds 1 billion - Ray Hammond
- 2030 - new-born child in developed country has life expectancy of 130 years - Ray Hammond
- 2045 - world average life expectancy of new-born child exceeds 75 years - World Resources Institute
- Peak oil - global oil production peaks
- Other energy milestones
- Arctic shrinkage - arctic ice-free in summer
- Arctic shrinkage - arctic ice-free all year
- Other environmental milestones
- Nanomachines in commercial use
- 2019 - nanotechnology is used in 30% of commercial products - TechCast
- 2020 - nanomachines in soldier armor controlled by on-board computer can change the properties of fabric from flexible to bullet-proof, treat wounds and filter out chemical and biological weapons, nanomuscle fibers can provide an exoskeleton. US Army, estimates from The Vision 2020 Future Warrior project, 2004
- Universal replicator is developed
Politics and economics
- World economic growth
- 2016 - China's GDP exceeds that of Japan - National Intelligence Council
- 2025 - one billion dollar-millionaires worldwide - James Canton, The Extreme Future
- 2032 - India's GDP exceeds that of Japan - National Intelligence Council
- 2041 - China's GDP exceeds that of US - National Intelligence Council
- 2050 - China's GDP exceeds that of US - Goldman Sachs, Price Waterhouse Coopers
- Self-driving cars
- Hybrid vehicles
- Space tourism and private spaceflight
- 2011 - space flights become available to the public - Arthur C. Clarke
- 2006-2008 - space hotel under construction - plans of American motel tycoon Robert Bigelow, 2004
- 2013 - "space cruiser” takes a group of tourists outside of the Earth’s atmosphere - TechCast
- 2024 - "many thousands of people being able to afford" visiting orbital hotels, Burt Rutan, 2004
- Space elevator
- Return to the Moon
- Unmanned mission returns samples from Mars
- Human landing on Mars
- Asteroid mining
- Near light speed travel
- ↑ See editions of this calendar.
- ↑ Robots may force chefs out of the kitchen, China Daily
- ↑ Robots get bookish in libraries, BBC News
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Robotic age poses ethical dilemma, BBC News
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Latest Forecast Results, TechCast
- ↑ 2003 Robotic Nation, Marshall Brain
- ↑ Interview: Helen Greiner, Chairman and Cofounder of iRobot, Corp
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Launching a new kind of warfare, Guardian Online
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 The Coming Merging of Mind and Machine, Ray Kurzweil
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 Interview with Arthur C. Clarke, November 30, 2001
- ↑ *Template:Citation
- ↑ Robots rule OK?, BBS News
- ↑ "DOE labs, universities and second sight partner to speed development of 'artificial retina': Restoring sight through science" (14-Oct-2004).
- ↑ Trials for 'bionic' eye implants, BBC News
- ↑ Люди-супермонстры, и не только
- ↑ Dick Pelletier, "Regenerative medicine could cure most diseases by 2020"
- ↑ The Fable of the Dragon Tyrant
- ↑ The Blue Brain project is the first comprehensive attempt to reverse-engineer the mammalian brain, in order to understand brain function and dysfunction through detailed simulations
- ↑ Cory Doctorow, "Thought Experiments: When the Singularity is More Than a Literary Device: An Interview with Futurist-Inventor Ray Kurzweil"
- ↑ Net pioneer predicts web future, BBC News
- ↑ Cray Signs $200 Million Contract to Deliver World's Largest Supercomputer to Oak Ridge, Cray Inc. Press Release
- ↑ Japanese supercomputer breaks the petaflop barrier
- ↑ NEC claims 10-Petaflop supercomputing breakthrough
- ↑ Taking on the Challenge of a 10-Petaflop Computer, Riken News April 2006
- ↑ The Technology Lane on the Road to a Zettaflops
- ↑ RoboCup Official Site
- ↑ 27.0 27.1 27.2 U.S. Census Bureau International Database
- ↑ 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 The World at Six Billion, Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat
- ↑ 29.0 29.1 Population, Health and Human Well-being — Demographics: Life expectancy at birth, both sexes, Earthtrends database
- ↑ 30.0 30.1 30.2 The World in 2030, Ray Hammond
- ↑ ASPO Newsletter 85, Jan 2008
- ↑ World oil supplies are set to run out faster than expected, warn scientists, The Independent
- ↑ 'Peak oil' enters mainstream debate, BBC News
- ↑ Prediction: $1 Trillion U.S. Carbon Market By 2020
- ↑ Arctic summers ice-free 'by 2013', BBC News
- ↑ Abrupt Ice Retreat Could Produce Ice-Free Arctic Summers by 2040, NCAR Press Release
- ↑ Arctic could be ice-free by 2020, beating predictions by 30 years
- ↑ Great Barrier Reef coral cover could drop below 10% by 2098
- ↑ 39.0 39.1 39.2 Report of the National Intelligence Council's 2020 Project
- ↑ Billion millionaires by 2025 ?
- ↑ Top 10 GDP Countries 2000-2050, Goldman Sachs
- ↑ The World in 2050, PWC
- ↑ GM to Launch Self-driving System
- ↑ 
- ↑ George Knapp, "[http://www.lasvegasmercury.com/2004/MERC-Jul-08-Thu-2004/24250261.html The ultimate public-private partnership Bigelow, NASA now working together on space hotel]," Las Vegas Mercury (Thursday, July 08, 2004).
- ↑ 
- ↑ 
- ↑ Russia will develop space elevators
- ↑ Robert Z. Pearlman, "NASA Confirms New Moon Vehicle is Orion" (23 August 2006).
- ↑ 
- ↑ Mars 2007 Missions and beyond, NASA
- ↑ David L Chandler, "Design choices may hurry humans to Mars" (01 September 2005).
- ↑ Zonk, "Visiting Our Red Space Neighbor" (Sep 09, 2005).
- ↑ Slideshow: The Next Mother Lode: Mars
- ↑ Mark Baard, "The Final Capitalist Frontier" (11.17.04).
- Oliver, Richard W. The Shape of Things to Come: 7 Imperatives for Winning in the New World of Business. ISBN 0070482632
- http://www.techcast.org/Forecasts.aspx (a list of technological forecasts by the G. Washington University TechCast)