Arthur C. Clarke Offers His Vision of the Future
- ARTHUR C. CLARKE OFFERS HIS VISION OF THE FUTURE
By Raymond Kurzweil & Arthur C. Clarke
December 3, 2001
On Friday, November 30, 2001, Arthur C. Clarke, author of 2001: A Space
Odyssey, and inventor of the geosynchronous communications satellite, joined
myself and two other panelists by video and phone connection from Sri Lanka
to offer his vision of the future. The event took place at Worcester
Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts in front of an audience of
approximately 500 college and high school students and teachers.
The other panelists included Alison Taunton-Rigby, president of Forester
Biotech and David Cyganski, WPI professor of electrical and computer
engineering and an expert in machine vision.
The legendary science fiction author offered the predictions below. My own
view is that Clarke's near term predictions involving energy are at least a
decade premature. However, many of his predictions involving intelligent
machines and nanotechnology are insightful and reflect a keen understanding
of the acceleration of technological progress.
Arthur C. Clarke's predictions for the next century:
2002 - Clean low-power fuel involving a new energy source, possibly based on
2003 - The automobile industry is given five years to replace fossil fuels.
2004 - First publicly admitted human clone.
2006 - Last coal mine closed.
2009 - A city in a third world country is devastated by an atomic bomb
2009 - All nuclear weapons are destroyed.
2010 - A new form of space-based energy is adopted.
2010 - Despite protests against "big brother," ubiquitous monitoring
eliminates many forms of criminal activity.
2011 - Space flights become available for the public.
2013 - Prince Harry flies in space.
2015 - Complete control of matter at the atomic level is achieved.
2016 - All existing currencies are abolished. A universal currency is
adopted based on the "megawatt hour."
2017 - Arthur C. Clarke, on his one hundredth birthday, is a guest on the
2019 - There is a meteorite impact on Earth.
2020 - Artificial Intelligence reaches human levels. There are now two
intelligent species on Earth, one biological, and one nonbiological.
2021 - The first human landing on Mars is achieved. There is an unpleasant
2023 - Dinosaurs are cloned from fragments of DNA. A dinosaur zoo opens in
2025 - Brain research leads to an understanding of all human senses. Full
immersion virtual reality becomes available. The user puts on a metal helmet
and is then able to enter "new universes."
2040 - A universal replicator based on nanotechnology is now able to create
any object from gourmet meals to diamonds. The only thing that has value is
2040 - The concept of human "work" is phased out.
2061 - Hunter gatherer societies are recreated.
2061 - The return of Haley's comet is visited by humans.
2090 - Large scale burning of fossil fuels is resumed to replace carbon
2095 - A true "space drive" is developed. The first humans are sent out to
nearby star systems already visited by robots.
2100 - History begins.
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