Random predictions for 2060 | Cosmology & Astronomy | Khan Academy

In the last video
I mentioned how I’ve been asked to make
predictions for the year 2060. And the last one I
focused on education, and that’s obviously
what I’m working on now. So I have some
opinions about that. But what I want to
do in this video is do maybe slightly more
broad and wild predictions, and my one prediction
I’ll make is I’m probably
completely not going to predict the real
reality of 2060. And probably the
really big things to predict I will
completely miss. But with that out of the way
it is fun to predict things. So let’s give it a shot. So the first area
that I will predict is what’s going to happen
in the field of medicine. And in particular, I think
that the human lifespan is going to increase
dramatically. So I’ll be conservative
and say that the lifespan, the average human
lifespan, is going to be, and especially in
the developed world, and once again, hopefully
by 2060 most of the world is developed, that the
average human lifespan is going to be over 100 years old. And I won’t say
whether that’s going to be a good or a bad thing. There’s arguments either way
about the proper way to live, and what happens to
global populations. But if the world is for the
most part developed and educated you actually will probably have
a lower rate of reproduction. So you might actually
have some space in the world for older people. But this I think there
is a very strong chance of this happening,
because we are starting to understand the
molecular basis of aging. It’s not a given thing that
because of some form of wear and tear things have to die
at after 70 years, or 80 years, or 90 years,
and we’re starting to understand the mechanisms,
and how to maybe improve the repair mechanisms, or how
to augment it in some way. So I definitely think
this is going to happen. I don’t know whether it’s going
to be a positive or negative. But it’s likely to happen. The next thing– and this
is kind of closely related, this is still
biological– is you’re going to have a close
integration between the digital and the biological. And once again, I won’t
make any statement of whether this is a
good or a bad thing, but it seems like it’s
just an extrapolation of the direction we’re
already going in, digital and biological
integration. So already you’re
getting more and more in your handheld devices. Imagine when your screen is
now no longer in your palm, but it’s being projected
onto your retina from some little thing. And then eventually you
have a direct connection with your retina and
your brain can directly access areas of memory
through just direct through some biological
and digital interface. So I definitely think
this is going to happen. This is a big deal, because
this is starting to– And I think it’s
already happening with a lot of what you
see around technology. It’s really going
to reshape what the individual human
experience is going to be. We already see people kind of
living in virtual realities and playing these
immersive games, and spending all of their time
on social networking platforms. What happens when
they’re literally plugged in all the time, when
almost their cellphone is in the brain? I don’t know. I’m not going to comment whether
it’s a good or a bad thing. But it does look
like a trend that’s going to keep on going
through the next 50 years. Now, if we take that
even further, we’re talking about a digital
and biological integration, but if you go at the extreme,
and actually it’s probably both of these top two
things combined in some way, is that we are learning. And once again,
not make a comment whether it’s good or bad. It’s just an extrapolation
of what we’re already seeing. We are seeing more
and more ability to understand our genome, to
molecularly target things, to manipulate actual biology. And so what you have is
that you can actually have manipulation of biology. And this is on
some level creepy. It could be creepy or
it could be exciting depending on how
it all plays out. But it could do things like
augment human intelligence, which would, if you think about
all the progress of society and all the things that
already accelerating, imagine how society will change
if intelligence itself is augmented. And as someone with a
limited intelligence, I can’t even imagine what will
happen as soon as you do this. And obviously, the more you
augment intelligence, the more that you can learn how
to augment intelligence, and increase lifespan, and
do digital and biological integration even more. So these things I see
as some form of a trend. We’ll see how it all plays
out, and hopefully it plays out in kind of the
feel-good Care Bear version versus some
type of crazy society and we all turn into
the Borg in some way. Now, the other
trend, and these are the things that just
popped into my brain today when I pressed record,
but the other trend that I think is interesting is
some of the things that we’ve taken for granted in
terms of how nations interact with each other,
and nation states in particular interact
with each other. And just as a kind
of an overview, so there’s a notion
called a nation state. And in everyday language the
word nation and the word state almost means the same
thing, but they kind of mean different things
if you want to be a little bit more
formal about it. And that’s why people use
the word nation state. That’s like to a
lot of people, hey, doesn’t that mean
saying like state state? The difference between
a nation and a state is these are a
group of people that feel some type of
common identity. It could be a language. It could be a culture. It could be a value system. So this is some kind
of common identity. And it often is somehow
associated with geography, but it does not have to be
associated with geography. It could even be a religion,
or it could be whatever else. That’s what a nation is. A state is a formal governance
structure that makes the laws and has the institutions
to make society function. Now, a nation state
is what most of us live in today
because it both has an identity and some type
of formal institutions. So a very pure nation state
would be some place like Japan, where there’s relatively
uniform, in terms of ethnicity and religion, and
in terms of culture, and you have that
same group of people are governing themselves. In a place like the
United States ethnicity, religion, that’s diverse,
but what gives identity is a notion of shared
values and a notion of maybe a common
history or whatever else, or a certain kind of world view. And obviously there’s a
formal state structure. Now, what I think is going
to be interesting here, and I actually have no
idea how all of this is going to play
out, but when you see things like some of the
revolutions in the Middle East due to things like people
being able to communicate irrespective of the
traditional media, I think there’s going to be some
interesting questions on what happens to the nation state,
especially nation states that are able to secure their
power by kind of having a bottleneck on
access to information. And all of that
is, I think, going to change in a very
dramatic way as you have more and more
integration between people, cross-border
communications, when people realize that the people
on the other side of the border really aren’t that
different than themselves. And another
interesting thing, even the notion of democracy–
and once again, I don’t know how it’s
going to play out– but all notions of
representational democracy that we have today are
somewhat based on geography. They’re somewhat
based on geography. And that’s because when
the major representational democracies came about
that was the best way to represent each other. Hey, let me pick some
representatives from our county or from our region, and they’ll
go elect other representatives, and they’ll go to the
national government. But now that we have this
instantaneous communication with people you
might be able to have different types of a
representational democracy, or maybe you could even have
more direct democracies. Who knows, because of things
like [INAUDIBLE] communication, and technology,
and whatever else. And then the other
way that I think nation states are, the way
they fundamentally interact is going to change is actually
in things like warfare. And once again, already
seeing this trend. In particular, I think
developed countries are not going to have humans
on the front line. And depending on
your point of view, this could be a very
good thing or it could be a kind
of a scary thing, because if you have no
humans on the front line, and you’re already seeing things
like this with these predator drones and you see these
robot bomb detectors, and things like that. And it doesn’t even have
to be these big things. There’s already a
DARPA funded project to work on miniature
insects that could be used as some
form of reconnaissance, or you could imagine
eventually they could have these little
things on them that could knock someone out,
or who knows what they do. The exciting thing is that
all of a sudden a human won’t be there to get shot. And so hopefully military
casualties would go down. The scary thing
here is if you don’t have humans on the
front line nations might be willing to enter into war,
especially developed nations, they might not take
it as seriously. And so it might be something
that they do a little bit more when they’re in the mood. And it would actually
create a huge disparity between developed and developing
nations when this happens. And you already see that
to a certain degree. A developed nation,
they don’t have to put as many
humans in harm’s way. And it’s purely
driven by their wealth to have capital that
can go, you know, these robots and these drones,
and their technological innovation, while in
the developing countries they actually would have
to use human beings. So their cost would be much,
much, much, much higher. So it’s an interesting question. And once again, who
knows how this plays out, whether it’s a good or bad
thing in the long term. And I think a similar
thing with this is I think you’re
going to see more and more nonlethal weapons,
which once again, it’s very similar to this, it
sounds like it’s a good thing. You know, if there’s
a gun that instead of having to kill someone, it
incapacitates them in some way, or it stuns them in some way,
kind of the classic Star Trek put your phasers on stun things. I guess the scarier version
of nonlethal weapons is the threshold for using
it becomes much lower. So if a government wants
to subject its citizens or subject another
group of citizens it can literally just stun them,
or it can make them pass out, or it could control
them in some way. And so this could be
a little bit scarier. So who knows how all
of this plays out. So those are my
predictions or things to think about over
the next 50 years. These are just the things that
happened to jump into my brain today, probably based on some
of the science fiction books I’ve been reading,
or whatever else. But taken with a
huge grain of salt I don’t know if these things are
really going to happen or not. And I don’t know if they’re
even a good thing or not, but they seem to be a bit
of an extrapolation of what we’re already seeing.

100 thoughts on “Random predictions for 2060 | Cosmology & Astronomy | Khan Academy

  • @13JHoward Hmm I think it may be more the fact let's say we live on average 90 years 45 would be the mid age obviously and you would be relatively healthy and lively. If we live till let's us say once again around 160, 80 would be the mid age and we would feel like we would at 45 in the previous average age span. If it doesn't mean that then hell I wouldn't want to go on like that either!

  • direct democracy is scary. Mob rule would crush minorities. Direct democracy is 5 wolves and 2 sheep deciding on what to eat for dinner. A constitutional republic has a constitution to limit the republic and a representative government of various branches to check each other in place.

  • A few potentially conflicting predictions here sal. If there was really an increase in intelligence, then it's more likely that people would figure out that the state and it's monopoly on violence is probably not a very good idea. If people really noticed that their neighbours around the world were actually quite similar to them, support for wars etc would decline. People would become much more productive, having discarded the primitive idea that they need other people to tell them how to live.

  • @WeLikeDanceMusic I think you're not making a distinction between intelligence and information. My guess is that "intelligence" is the ability to reason. It's not necessary for anyone to know how a computer works in detail. Productivity increases as the division of labour increases. i.e. people specialise in a small area. What I was getting at, was sal's suggestion that an increase in the ability to reason, people would abandon the idea of the state. (Thanks for reply)

  • @WeLikeDanceMusic I don't know if we're getting smarter generally. However, I think that the internet offers a great opportunity. e.g. sal's videos definitely help give people tools how to solve certain problems. I was thinking that as, or if, people's ability to reason improved over time, then the whole idea of having politicians stealing your wealth would occur to more people, as being a bad idea. I'm guessing that in a few generations we can learn to put down the guns. 🙂

  • Do you think we will live to see that? I am turning 18 in 3 months and I will be 67 years old when that begins to happen or what ever

  • Very frightening considering how real and true this could become. I will be well into my 80s by then. Interesting to see how the world changes. I predict that war will be very common for several decades to come.

  • It's a good idea not to have humans on the frontline, because that's where they can get overwhelmed by their emotions and do the stuff they always did on the frontlines, like pillaging, raping and torturing…
    And nations will not be much more willing to start wars with drones, because wars can always escalate and the big problem in warfare for democratic societies is collateral damage, not the damage to your soldiers.

  • I keep thing about the 'Assassin's Creed' video game series just because of the 'Animus' technology. I think it would be cool to be able to use our genetics to learn about our past… just a thought 😛

  • 4:36 "We'll see how it all plays out and hopefully it plays out in the feel-good Carebear version versus, you know, some type of crazy society and we all turn in to the borg". 😀

  • @Alignn then why does North Korea have a larger army than the US? Soldiers are cheap. And their lives must not matter more than virtually nothing, because there is no point in having an army if you are afraid to loose soldiers over anything.

  • Khan I think you should expand your geography videos. I'm an undergraduate physical geographer and if you'd like I have a number of options for you that are less bleak than predator drones and robotic bombs

  • According to Ray Kurzweil, a lot of what you said will happen far sooner than 2060. I am excited to hear that you are noticing the same technological trends. Some of the possibilities are kind of unnerving but ultimately I'm more of an optimist and am very excited for the future!

  • @Davincidz Ray Kurzweil definitely is an optimist when it comes to the future and his predictions are very bold but he has been making these kinds of predictions for the past 30 years. He is a very polarizing person in science but the reason that his predictions get so much attention is because he is right so much of the time. Can he be wrong about some of what he talks about…yes but even when he's wrong, he's usually not far off in terms of time.

  • @Davincidz He has something of an 80% accuracy rate with his predictions, given the number of predictions that he makes, that's not bad. He does get criticism from other scientists but that is a part of being in the scientific community. No one is ever universally agreed with. He does have a lot of support too though. What you say about the human brain people also said about the human genome and he turned out to be exactly right about reverse engineering that. Brain=2029 not 10 years

  • @Satak8 Future predictions are never to be taken with much certainty anyways. They are merely one's imaginations reasonably considered.

  • I think the human race is evolving in the positive! We are seeing amazing advancements in technology, medicine, & environmental control. I am especially proud of the rise of individual global perspective due to saturation of digital telecommunications. This is the cause for Arab Spring & Occupy: people seeing beyond the small community they are born into. BUT I am afraid our broken old systems will catch up to us before we are ready & we will see a global economic collapse -> world civil unrest.

  • What about transportation? Space exploration/industry? Re-designing our cities? Oh man…so much stuff to think about. Plus this is just an extrapolation. New discoveries will make things we can't even imagine possible.

  • augment intelligence -> augmented intelligence augmenting intelligence ad infinitum = technological singularity

  • 2060-2065: a GOOD US President will be Assassinated
    1963: John F Kennedy
    1865: Abraham Lincoln

  • Sal, i guess "development" is defined by futures standards and even more important, future "differences" in standard of living, so I guess it is hard to uniformly say – the World will be developed in 2060 – mainly because the different standards of living and different standards of standard will virtually make it impossible to make all the world "developed" and thus equal, unfortunately, by future standards applying today. Maybe this is an unnecessary comment, keep up the good work!

  • One of my favorite things to think about is manipulation of the genome and augmentation of the body. Politically, morally, I can't wait for that debate to happen, very very interesting.
    We live in interesting times, and will continue to live in interesting times. Never loose interest.

  • 7:47 Under the current (geographical based) system I don't even get a 'representative' when I vote – and neither do at least 50% people living in place where they are 'in the minority'. If I could sign-up to a virtual 'constituency' and choose to 'live there' with like minded people there would be no need for any so-called 'minorities' which only exists by virtue of lines drawn on the map. A minimal first-step towards democracy is enabling EVERYONE to gain representation this way.

  • you didn't do any videos on constellations 🙁 you should do a video on stargazing and telescopes. learning constellations is like learning countries in geography.

  • could you make some videos on climate,like on el nino , front thory , jet stream they are quite confusing. it will be a great help

  • I doubt the military will be fully robotic by 2060. While jets and tanks may become automated or remote controlled, it is too hard to get a robot to walk, let alone replace a foot soldier. I think one possibility with regards to globalization is that nations may enter into cross border agreements, similar to free trade agreements which would allow citizens to move back and forth between the countries without passport or documentation. This may lead to some governments merging with others.

  • Every video that I click on in the cosmology playlist takes me to this video. Frustrating as this is my favorite subject the Academy has.

  • hey i just slept at a hotel- motel -holiday iiiiiinnnn,  if your girl starts acting up… then you take her friend.  oh yea good predictions unless a comet comes from left field and……………

  • Platforms like Democracy OS will lead to direct democracies like Khan said. 

  • Not dying from ageing can only be a good thing. You can still die, but it will be your choice, or you'll get killed.
    Y'know how sometimes you crash into an ancient memory? When we understand it better, we'll all be able to better relive our pasts. That will be great.

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