A new report made public on Monday provides some bleak predictions on the state of the United States and the rest of the world in the year 2030. However, the report also predicts new "superhuman" technology and advanced self-driving cars.
The "Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds" report, released by the director of national intelligence's office, sees a world in which the U.S. is no longer the world's undeniable superpower, food and water shortages are common and small groups may carry out horrifying cyber or bioterror attacks. Not exactly the high-tech utopia many are hoping for.
So what about America? Well, the report via the National Intelligence Council predicts the U.S. will still be "first among equals" among the other world's "great powers." However, "with the rapid rise of other countries, the 'unipolar moment' is over and Pax Americana--the era of American ascendancy in international politics that began in 1945--is fast winding down."
The report also shockingly suggests that radical Islam could be largely insignificant by 2030, but that other "small groups" could try to carry out attacks, Yahoo! News reports.
"With more widespread access to lethal and disruptive technologies, individuals who are experts in such niche areas as cyber systems might sell their services to the highest bidder, including terrorists who would focus less on causing mass casualties and more on creating widespread economic and financial disruptions," the report states.
Yahoo! News has some more insight:
The 160-page report is a great read for anyone in the business of crafting the script for the next James Bond movie, a treasure trove of potential scenarios for international intrigue, not to mention super-villainy. But the council took pains to say that what it foresees is not set in stone. The goal is to provide policymakers with some idea of what the future holds in order to help them steer the right economic and military courses.
"We do not seek to predict the future—which would be an impossible feat—but instead provide a framework for thinking about possible futures and their implications," the report cautioned.
Other ideas the futurists reported: Global population will reach "somewhere close to 8.3 billion people," and food and water may be running scarce in some areas, especially regions like Africa and the Middle East.
"Climate change will worsen the outlook for the availability of these critical resources," the report said. "Climate change analysis suggests that the severity of existing weather patterns will intensify, with wet areas getting wetter, and dry and arid areas becoming more so."We are not necessarily headed into a world of scarcities, but policymakers and their private sector partners will need to be proactive to avoid such a future."
The four "megatrends" the report found are: growing individual empowerment; diffusion of power; major shifts in demographics; and rising demand for food, water and energy.
Additionally, potential "black swan" shocks to the global system include: a severe pandemic, faster-than-forecast climate change, European Union collapse, collapse of China and a reformed Iran that gives up its nuclear ambitions.
The National Intelligence Council also says in 2030 "people may choose to enhance their physical selves as they do with cosmetic surgery today. Future retinal eye implants could enable night vision, and neuro-enhancements could provide superior memory recall or speed of thought."
"Brain-machine interfaces could provide ‘superhuman’ abilities, enhancing strength and speed, as well as providing functions not previously available," the report adds.
What do you think about the report's predictions?