Reviewing the World and the Rest of Your Life

18 months ago, Nextbigfuture looked at the World and the rest of the life of a middle aged person.

There was a consideration super-technology, debt, growth, jobs and living the next 45 years.

World Jobs Now

18 months ago the world was at 5.6% unemployment. Now, the UN’s International Labor Organization predicts 1.6 billion informal economy workers could suffer “massive damage” to their livelihoods. In the second quarter of 2020, COVID-19 may cost the equivalent of 305 million full-time jobs.

Poverty and Recession

In 2018, there were about 3.5 billion people that were employed.

The Covid-19 pandemic has put 265 million people globally at risk of starvation and India is expected to add 12 million more poor to its population.

The global poverty level will rise for the first time in 22 years.

In 2018, the article noted that every 6 to 11 years there has been a recession in the USA. A prediction was made in 2018 that will be one to three recessions before a 50 year old person retires. There has now been in a recession in 2020.

Debt and interest

In 2018, interest rates in the US were at 4% levels. After the Great Recession, interest rates were at about zero for many years. The Federal Reserve rate went up to 2.5% at the end of 2018 but is back down to zero.

US had $20 trillion in debt in 2018 but this is now at $26 trillion.

Ten year treasury interest rates are at 0.88%.


SpaceX is continuing to execute. The world will be greatly changed with a fully deployed Starlink satellite network. There will be competition for internet providers. SpaceX will change the world with the fully reusable Super Heavy Starship. It will enable space colonization and one hour travel for people and cargo around the world.

Tesla is leading the charge to electric cars. Almost all new cars, trucks, semis and buses by 2030 will be electric.

There will be massive advances in gene sequencing and DNA writing. DNA will be used to store exabytes of data.

Life extension, aging reversal, biotechnology and genetic modification will be making huge breakthroughs.

AI and several narrow artificial super-intelligence will emerge. Full artificial general intelligence will require several breakthroughs.

The big supertechnology breakthrough that will occur in the ten-15 years will be the emergence of full blown molecular nanotechnology. This will be used to improve computer capacity and speed by over a million times.

Written By Brian Wang,

50 thoughts on “Reviewing the World and the Rest of Your Life”

  1. Admittedly, disinformation and propaganda was probably the most effective Russian strategies even back in the cold war.

    They are good at that stuff, as can be seen with the still baffling numbers of people who think the wrong side won the cold war, that there was some sort of “stab in the back” causing the USSR to lose, and that they’ll come back any day now.

  2. How do you know that

    no one is trying these combos in a mouse/pet dog now or in the next few years.

    A successful rejuv tech is a multi-trillion-dollar opportunity. And mouse-to-dog level experimentation doesn’t require government oversight. All sorts of people could be trying this out in secret.

    They won’t tell anyone until it’s available for sale. Probably a few years after that, as the initial customers will be the sort of people who can and will pay 10s of $millions for a younger face/body (eg. movie stars) and so the general public won’t know until the price reaches much lower.

  3. Either his timing is off or Russia is further gone than expected. It seems like Russia’s main weapon nowadays is disinformation and propaganda. That’s great went you don’t have a US sized defense budget and little actual power.

  4. Zeihan writes well, but don’t forget he said that Russia would be forced to reconquer eastern Europe by 2019.
    Take his “definite” predictions as a guide only.

  5. Tiny Argentina with economy 40% smaller than Australia? lol
    In South America only Brazil has potential to be regional player

  6. If not poles then spheres of influence. According to Peter Zeihan they will be: France, Japan and Argentina. I think that’s all of them. Nope, I forgot Turkey. edit:sp,content

  7. Check this website of how much CO2 is emitted per kWh of electricity generated. The places that *try* to use lots of wind & solar have a lot of gas capacity to turn on when the wind & solar aren’t generating. The regions that are *consistently* low CO2 use a mis of hydro geothermal & nuclear.

  8. Fritz Haber. Jewish scientist that invented gas used on Jews. Father of chemical warfare. Also of modern fertilizers. Probably saved more people from starvation than he killed. Does that get a trip to heaven or hell?

  9. I believe it is gas as well, but there is a strong link between gas and oil, both in production and ownership.

  10. Peter Zeihan argues that the US is heading away from its role of global policeman – and Trump has accelerated that trend. Zeihan ends up thinking that rather than ‘poles’ of power, there will be regional powers: The US certainly. But also Japan, Turkey, France and a few others.

    Since he focuses so heavily on the impact of geography, I kind of wonder if he is overlooking the coming fairly rapid (in historical terms) ramp-up of the imporance of space as it ceases to just be an extension of ordinary 2D geography. Space will start to become more like an ocean where power can and will be projected by nations – and possibly must be projected to protect a nation’s sovereignty, if we can’t come up with some agreement that protects free space access for all, much as Bretton Woods did for globalization.

  11. However, the oil industry may start to strongly feel the impact of falling demand in just a few more years as oil production is forced to start contracting faster than demand can increase.

  12. SpaceX Starships travelling anywhere in 1 hour or hybrid rocket Slylon planes travelling from London to Sydney in 4.5 hours?

    i think the second case is much more realistic.

    Regarding lifespan/health span extension. It will be interesting to see what the combined effect of senescent cell removal with the removal of one or more other types of damage will achieve? Combine that with say blood stem cell reseeding in the bone marrow, thymus regeneration, removing hardy oxidised LDL from macrophages in the arteries, removing glucosepane cross links in the extra cellular matrix, and epigentically resetting the cells of the skin and you may get some interesting effects?

    It is a pity no one is trying these combos in a mouse/pet dog now or in the next few years.

  13. Of course they are paying for it. They are paying for it and providing for it. Self-sufficient space settlements are very, very, far-away. They are going to happen, but no any time soon.

  14. I think it was Yogi Berra who once said, “It’s real hard to make predictions, especially about the future.” The fact is, people are working on things right now which have not yet entered the consciousness of the masses. Smart phones anyone? Malthus may have been right about the future, but he didn’t know John Deere was coming nor did he have the credentials of Fritz Haber. So, Malthus was wrong…and he’s dead. That makes him dead wrong.

  15. About renewables, it may happen in the US but not so much outside it. The poor will only be able to afford coal.

    Contrary to what you may believe, there are many nations that are neither USA nor poor.

  16. The oil price might be badly injured. But that just encourages use.

    Long term: oil is doomed to be a much smaller player in the world energy budget. But we aren’t there yet.

  17. Is that the one where the woman is wearing only a surgical mask and she needs a plumber to come and check her pipes because she’s quarantined at home, but she forgets to have any money to pay him?

  18. Please provide these numbers.

    We can’t just have the conversation rely on people making bald, unsupported statements where we just choose to believe one side or the other.

    At least Dan links to two documents. Although it would be good if he found another.

  19. Yes, renewables don’t have reliable baseline power capability, nuclear and thermal (coal & gas) electric generation do, either with or without wind, in day or night.

    Nuclear has a bad rep and is slow to be approved and ramp up. Thermal power (namely, coal & gas) is easier to build and add into the grid.

    As long as those in love with renewables don’t understand this, any push towards more renewables as base of the power grid will result in a net increase of carbon emissions.

    In practice, renewables are the best friends of oil, but most aren’t ready to have that conversation.

  20. The future will have multiple poles of power but only one will matter and it won’t be China or India or Russia or the EU. China, Russia and the EU have terminal demographics and India will continue to be India.

    About renewables, it may happen in the US but not so much outside it. The poor will only be able to afford coal. If you want to get the world off hydrocarbons there is going to need to be a break through in power production. Solar and wind are not cost effective in a lot of places.

  21. You go to all the trouble of moving to space and you have to report to Earth? I don’t think so. Not unless they are PAYING for it. Remmeber, if you are off Earth and outside the orbit of Earth you have the high ground and the ability to throw rocks.

  22. So this brings up what I call “small World”. The chauvinistic *reality* of scarcity you so well describe. So many people have so much *moral* authority if not actual power based upon small World that they are addicted to the problem, and will, as power addicted neurotics, often fight against solutions! Understanding the Physics destruction of small World that O’Neill brings, as well as the understanding of power addiction in general, esp power that has a plausible justification, that Janov brings is our only hope. Getting either wrong is not an option.

  23. G. K. O’Neill and ISRU are the only hope for what you correctly see. Years ago, an author who pushed the zero sum view you describe had a simple, dismissive response to the idea that we should “leave” the Earth by going to Space, thus being “leavers” as he recommended. Now, his def of “leaver” was one who “left” stuff for the future (a highly unusual behavior, but somewhat enforced by the balance of Nature in reality). His response was to swat the air as if shooing a gnat, then saying he had thought of that long ago, and the sum of all the surfaces of Mars plus was not big enuf to matter. (I agree.) When I briefly described (you know), he looked truly shocked, said “You mean you are going to make a place to live IN SPACE?” and walked away when I replied in the affirmative. Someone told me he stopped using the word “leaver”.

  24. Multipolar?
    Multipolar requires multiple poles.
    China is beginning what may be the most incredible demographic disaster in history. India? Don’t get me started. Who’s that leave? EU? Brazil? Nigeria?

  25. The problems I foresee with our future are of mindset and choice.

    Even if we have the means and technology to have a very prosperous future here on Earth for a very long time, our minds (and especially those of the young) are trapped in an increasingly Malthusian and misanthropic world view, where the world is a zero sum game and every new person is therefore viewed as a problem and something to stop.

    And even worse, festering increasingly nihilistic and delusional philosophies or pseudo-religions that value very little objectivity and truth.

    These world views alone are enough to create the living hell we are afraid of, nullifying the ability to escape such tragedy with our smarts and proper self-organization on Earth.

    We need a escape valve for our civilization, a beacon of hope and wonder that allows the young to see there is another way. Not just with empty words (we have too much of that already), but with astonishing facts and realities.

    When there will be people living on the Moon and Mars, there will be a perpetual reminder for the young that we don’t have to live in any imagined hell, that life can be open ended an really different.

  26. There is even a treaty provision to avoid the word “colony”, as not everybody considers colonialism to be a good thing. Your specific take on it is even *worse*, as the hope is to escape the power addicts if they will not accept cure.

  27. Why do you think that ?, won’t they be settlements under the control of Earth ?, ergo a colony.

  28. Agreed, how hard could it be ?

    We don’t need a huge one mile large rotating station, we just need two Starships joined by a tether a couple of miles long, and rotating over each other.

  29. The problem is the focus on human presence as a goal in itself, rather than an economy that can support humans, eventually in large numbers. This is particularly true if humans on Mars is the goal. Musk seemed cavalier about life-support, maybe it is easy. I’ll stay 1g ELEO for the start! Merely supporting Space Solar robots will create more need for humans than nonrev living ever will.

  30. If you are ok with what humans have done on the Earth in the last ~20,000 years, what you say is true.

  31. Yeah, I’m skeptic about point to point rocket transportation coming anytime soon too.

    Seems to me it is another one of Musk’s stretch goals, made for aspirational purposes.

    Nevertheless, if Starship manages a few tens of reuses, it would be still fantastic. Changing space access forever and probably giving us a shot at interplanetary travels and settlement.

    But you know what can kill mass space tourism in the crib? space bathrooms and nausea.

    I can’t imagine something more disgusting than sharing a small living space with sources of involuntary ejections of floating bodily fluids. The idea that 100 people will be all right for 3 months without that kind of disgusting accident happening is really wishful thinking.

  32. Without disrespect for the good professor, the future doesn’t depend on O’ Neill habitats to be OK in the next 50 years.

    We have enough technology and means to create a prosperous future for us and the next couple of generations (most likely a lot more).

    The problem of energy is solved with nuclear alone. But we are too afraid of it, nevertheless we will also have better solar, new kinds of nuclear and whatever the research in batteries/super-capacitors produce.

    Material resources aren’t a problem either. We will improve in recycling and on finding new sources of whatever we need, whenever we feel the crush of scarcity. Market driven research and development of resources will ensure that.

    Same for food, which will be ever more plentiful, thanks to innovation. Or medicine, which goes more slowly due to ethical concerns but it’s still forcing its way through trials and regulation.

    No, O’Neill habitats will rather be something we do because we can, for the sake of human spirit.

  33. Without understanding G. K. O’Neill and ISRU, the future LOOKS bleak! Space Solar such as Criswell LSP for the specifics on energy future.

  34. If you’re going to think about the next 50 years, possibly the most important question is which other countries will execute on a Chinese-style process of rapid industrialization? If half of the world’s population industrializes to emerge from poverty, global energy consumption will explode.

    Today, the cheapest fuel for this industrialization is coal.

    ThorCon has an excellent summary of the size and shape of this problem and also their approach to solving it:

    Living forever and moving to Mars are fun ideas. The most important question is what happens as more of the billions of people living at or near poverty make their way into the middle classes.

  35. “It will enable space colonization” Please use the word “settlement” instead of “colony”.

  36. I agree, in 10-15 years, or more likely a generation, life will be better and technology will probably be amazing. In the meantime a lot of people are going to die and a lot of bad crap is going to happen.

  37. SpaceX will change the world with the fully reusable Super Heavy Starship. It will enable space colonization and one hour travel for people and cargo around the world.

    Why do you keep repeating that ?. You know very well that this is not happening in many decades, if ever. 

    • Too dangerous for commercial transport, it will take decades without accidents before the regulators approve it. 
    • Starships alone can’t reach around the world, it can only do medium distances, and many routes will be forbidden because it won’t be allowed to fly over populated areas. 
    • The spaceports will be far from the cities, so you will need to add a few hours to go to and from the spaceports.
    • The launches won’t be reliable. How many rocket launches do we see scrubbed due to bad weather ?. 
    • Commercial passengers are not astronauts, they are not trained or physically fit for high accelerations and suicide landings.
    • … …

    I don’t even think that cargo transport could have much success on the Starship over the current fast plane services.

  38. What about energy production? Will renewables move to outcompete even natural gas, or will fusion or smallodular nukes gain ground?

  39. This is so Elon Musk myopic, even he will not make such a self centered prediction. We will drive less, work and communicate more from home, manufacturing will move closer to home. Oil had a premature death and is not going to be revived. There is a huge renewable energy revolution looming due to a cost paradigm shift. The populist proto fascist regimes that poped up around the world in the last decade and a half have shown their incompetence during the pandemic and their survival will be called into question. The shift from a single superpower to a multi-power world will accelerate. There is a growing case fok monitoring people and it will be an issue that increasingly we will have to grapple with.

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