As an American with a child, I always contemplate how decisions I make on a daily basis and where our world is headed will affect my daughter and future grandchildren. We may not be alive 100 years from now to reap the effects of how we live our life but our ancestors will be. With many of the great technologies being developed, there are bound to be many advances in everyday living, in return enhancing life in the future. There are also multiple controversial topics now such as global warming and deforestation that could impact the future of our world negatively.

Although much of the change that will come to the next generations will be thanks to advances in technology, there are bound to be many consequences, or benefits, due to human behavior. There will also be other natural changes occurring such as the average human lifespan or the average American height thanks to evolution.

Think about how only 100 years ago the average American male measured 5’ 7” tall and now its 2.5 inches taller at 5’ 9.5” tall. It is also a similar case in regards to life expectancy where even if we aren’t being health conscious, we could easily live to be 80+ years old thanks to modern medicine. How are changes such as these affecting our lives?

Modern Medicine

Medicine is constantly advancing and moving in a forward motion betting our everyday lives. There are diseases that were killing people left and right 100 years ago that are now basically non-existent such as Polio. It is thought that not too far in the future there will be medicine so advanced that cancer will be a thing of the past and heart attacks may be almost 100% preventable.

Our world is getting much closer to people living to be over 100 and even making it to 150 years old thanks to gene therapy. Before a child is even birthed, gene therapy has the ability to repair mitochondrial disease and in the next 50 to 100 years could also eliminate other genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy.

Industry and Jobs

The fact of the matter is more and more jobs are currently being replaced by machines, such as manufacturing jobs. Yes, some machines still need people to operate them or fix them when they break down or malfunction, but machines will continue to replace many jobs done by humans now. This method of manufacturing is more cost effective in the long run plus there is less room for human error.

The future of our jobs will rely heavily on the need for services to be done. There are many services that simply cannot be done by machines and, in all reality, are much more enjoyable with human interaction such as massage therapy, manicures and pedicures, hair styling, etc.

Energy

One of the most talked about topics in 2015 is in regards to fossil fuels and how limited our supply is. One day we will eventually run out of oil and we are hard at work now developing new technologies that will help us survive once the oil supply is depleted. There are already electric cars on the market that use an incredibly limited supply of gas but people even predict that eventually we will be able to run cars off of water.

Solar and wind power are also becoming much more heavily used than ever before. Depending on your location, it’s hard to drive more than 50 miles without seeing a large white windmill, constantly producing cost effective electricity.

There is also progress being made towards fusion reactors which will produce incredible amounts of energy and with lower levels of radiation compared to nuclear plants. Talk is also being made regarding sending solar satellites into space which will beam solar energy to earth for our disposal.

Global Warming

As mentioned earlier, human’s actions can have both positive and negative effects on the future of our existence. As a species, we emit a large amount of CO2 into the air which has been showing some very unwanted effects in the past decades. Within the next 100 years, if we continue in the direction we’re heading, global temperatures are expected to increase an average of 3 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit. Due to the temperature increase, water levels will also rise anywhere between two and six feet. We are already seeing the effects of higher sea levels on coastal cities as flooding is becoming an ever more prominent problem.

Animal Species

Over the past few centuries, our list of endangered and extinct species continues to rapidly grow. Although we have zoos and conservations in place to help eliminate animal species whose population is near extinction, we will not be successful with this forever. It is suspected that within the next 3 centuries, almost ¾ of all mammal species will be forever gone from our planet including apes, elephants and lions.

Communication

Now only fifteen years into the 21st century, face to face communication is becoming rare. More people are resorting to texting, phone calls and skype or video calls for most of their communication with friends and family, even if they only live a short distance away. This is a simple and convenient way to communicate with those whom we love but what could communication with others be like in 50 years?

It is thought that only a short look into the future, we could see technology that would use processing software implanted into our eyes to access the internet as well as communication. Family and loved ones on the other side of the planet could potentially see what we are seeing and go through our day with us.

With these advancements and great technologies being developed, there is also our privacy to consider. What will come next? There are already securities cameras constantly staring down and us, not to mention the ability to be tracked via GPS in our cell phones and cars. There is a fine line between what is acceptable and what isn’t and that will surely be in the limelight in the future with where technology is heading.

Computers and Technology

As soon as 2045, we could see a complete takeover of human intelligence by computers. The fasted computer in existence as of 2013 can already complete 33,860 trillion calculations in only one second and it will only improve from there. In the future, we can expect to be able to download our entire human consciousness into a computer and hold real, intellectual conversations with them.

The Future of Religion

As it sits right now, the world is highly separated by religion. The future of religion is unclear but it is thought that we will see many geographical changes regarding religion. Some predictions include a decrease in the number of Christians in the United States, Islam becoming the most popular religion worldwide and a higher population of people following any given religion. These drastic changes are bound to change some aspects of life but exactly what is still the large unknown.