I recently watched a video of Neil deGrasse Tyson talking at the 2018 World Government Summit in the UAE. The subject was the future of colonizing space. Well, that got me thinking, as you can imagine. I started to imagine what technologies would be in 2100 AD or approximately 80 years from now.
Having a good idea of how things have advanced in the last 80-100 years, I figured I would give it a shot to discuss some technologies that I have heard about now and how they would be used then.
For me, this is an excellent exercise to flesh out some technologies that I will probably use in my Sci-Fi books. Of course, they would be thousands of years in the future and will work much more comfortable, but never hurts to use creativity in a predictive manner. I will create one post per technology over the next few months.
Current ideas are:
- Quantum Communications and robotics
- Space colonies
- Biologic nanites
- Building with nanites and recycling
- Geothermal closed-loop cycle
- Underground cities
- Future agriculture
- Getting into space
You are welcome to join me in this creative exercise with your own ideas or comment on these. I would say, please keep the negativity to a minimum. After all, you probably don’t have any more of a clue than I do what will happen in 80 years. How many innovations were made for one thing and took off in a totally different direction?
It is the year 2100 AD, and the world has changed in substantial ways. The maturing of Quantum Communications over the last 60 years has led to many advances in how we live and work. Humanity has unlocked a key to taming the world around us from the comfort of our own planet. In fact, Earth has become a lot smaller.
The innovation that made quantum communications central to our life was the ability to handle entangled quantum components at room temperature. No longer needing to be kept in a controlled, near absolute zero, environment, this allows us to miniaturize the technology and place in small, everyday components.
Quantum entanglement is the pairing of quantum components so that each particle would affect the other no matter how far they are apart. This is good because we use them in many applications that have the pairs separated by thousands of miles, in some cases, much more.
Over the last 40 years, we have learned how to use sets of pairings to communicate intelligent information. Similar to how we interpret a set of electron bits off or on into characters that then become words, we have learned to do the same with entangled quantum bits.
Each personal communicator communicates to central stations that link to other central stations via our universal Internet. This, of course, changed the number of service providers because you were no longer tied to a location for your service. Japanese citizens were linked to the Japan Central Station, whether in Tokyo, Okinawa, New York, or on the Moon. National mobile provider competition has died out entirely in the last few years. Now each nation has a single provider that is usually regulated by the government.
Information and services for foreigners have become a hot industry. With each person usually tied to their own nation’s service, the market for information about other countries has become a popular service. Most of these services use Augmented Reality (AR) to overlay a translation of what they see into the language they are used to. Traveling the world has become much more comfortable.
In fact, traveling to the Outback of Australia, the depths of the Amazon, or the depths of the ocean, one can keep in touch. The bandwidth available over these quantum connections is sufficient enough that high-quality real-time video is possible. Even those visiting or living on the Moon can have real-time conversations with loved ones back on Earth.
This “spooky” interaction, as Albert Einstein once described it, lends itself to the perfect secure communication system because there is no medium to trace. Unlike, wiring or radio waves, there is nothing between points A and B. That is a great advantage and also a problem. While we have learned to master this technology for communications, we have not figured out how to use it for other services. Allowing people to travel the world or space and keep in touch does not lend itself to figuring out where the person is. There is no beacon to trace. In other words, no way to send help. We are still working on that.
But in the field of communications, there are so many applications. Drones can be piloted without fear of interference. This has allowed the use of drones in our life to grow leaps and bounds. Not only for the military but for service delivery, discovery, and observation. The use of drones around us is so commonplace nowadays that you barely think of it. With the security of quantum communications, no one worries about a terrorist taking over drones and using them for weapons.
Drones also mean remote-controlled robotic, human-form systems. These systems are built with limited AI that allows them to carry out essential functions while a human operator controls more complex tasks. The underlying AI can walk these robots into position and then let a human operator take over. Many situations have a human operator handling multiple robots. One robot in active mode while the others perform simple tasks or just keep their sensors active to detect conditions that require a human operator to intervene. This is common in military use, security use, labor use, and emergency service use.
This technology has found its way into other jobs as well.
Many decades ago, the idea of self-driving vehicles was a thing. This worked good in most instances, but some situations usually would confound the AI and cause the vehicle to shut down and await human interaction. Not always the best, even under the most controlled circumstances. With the advent of quantum communications, these vehicles had a basic AI to drive under normal conditions and then alert a human operator to perform situation-specific driving. Accidents and “stuck” vehicles became a thing of the past.
Today, more people work as “drivers” than any other job classification. Most robotic drones are pretty much the same, so job security is not really a problem. Grant it, vehicle, plane, or ship drivers require a much more complex certification but still possible.
Why did we go to robotic drones, rather than just use people? Well, there are a lot of benefits. Many companies use the “Follow the sun” model of work. So “drivers” can be local to the US during working hours but then switch over to those in Asia and then Africa or Europe after hours. Since many driver jobs are easy to do, many large multi-national firms hire drivers from around the world. One day you might be driving a robotic laborer carrying hundred-pound bags of building material, and then next, you might help lift senior citizens into and out of their bath tube. Or picking fruit, delivering packages, or acting as a security guard. All done from the comfort of your house or an environmentally controlled office.
Sometimes you might have many jobs at once or be the backup to many other operators that have many tasks at once. Some people like security guards might have their robots stand at strategic locations with sensors active. If a robot detects something, the human operator is alerted and takes over the situation. If another robot detects something as well, the human operator might try to jump between them or pass the second robot off to a second line operator.
Other benefits are when the environment or situation is dangerous. The public services really benefitted from robotic drones. Fire trucks now pulled up along with another vehicle that would house robotic firemen drones. The truck or trucks would have drivers that managed the robots. The AI for these robots was more advanced and taught them fire fighting and life-saving techniques. The human operator could tell one robot to suppress the fire, another to do search and rescue, and a third would be controlled by the operator. Same with the police.
Police robots would have advanced AI to help with specific tasks, built-in. They even work with police officers, being able to perform basic police tasks without supervision, or just voice-controlled by the on-site police officers. For more complex tasks or when things get crazy, they could be taken over by a police driver.
So as you can see, robotic drones have taken over our world. Luckily, they are mostly controlled by human drivers. The great fear of the early part of the century never came to pass. Yes, there was a massive disruption in society in the first part of the century, but the global pandemics of that time helped show their usefulness. People could stay isolated, and work got done.
Those concerns did not matter to our space endeavors. With quantum communications, we were able to put robotic drones in space to build while the drivers remained safely on Earth. The Tranquil Moonbase was completed in 2091 with all robotic drone labor. In fact, the first human to step into the station was welcomed aboard by all two thousand robotic drones with their drivers, remotely. I believe all two thousand drivers and their robots are now working on the Luna Base.
Robotic drones are also building more space stations in open space as well as near other planets, moons, and in the asteroid belt. Did you know that none of the one million-plus humans living in space did any of the building? Even the asteroid miners are all on Earth still.
And our further exploration of the distant planets is all via robotic ships with drones on board. While the distance is putting a small lag in communications, it is nowhere near the delays with standard connections. Drivers can still react near real-time to issues. I hear that we might even send a robotic ship that is quantum-connected in the near future.
It really can’t get any better. It just goes to show there’s a great big beautiful tomorrow, shining at the end of every day. (Disney, Carousel of Progress)