We’re constantly inundated with predictions for the future; from the food we eat to how we power our homes. But with so many ideas about the world of tomorrow, it’s hard to get a true picture of what the world could be like.
In an attempt to get a clearer idea of life in five years, we’ve gathered together 10 predictions about living in 2020.
Same-day cancer treatment
Five years seems like a very optimistic timeframe for this, but data scientists are suggesting that same-day cancer treatment could be a reality by 2020. This would require a change in the way data is processed and shared to achieve, but even if that happens it’s very unlikely to become a reality this quickly.
Self-driving cars on the road
The projections for automated vehicles vary wildly, but 2020 has been marked as the year BMW’s self-driving vehicles are ferrying humans about. This one is worth taking with a pinch of salt, as there’s a huge number of legal and safety hurdles to overcome, but its nevertheless an exciting possibility.
Big cannabis on the up
With more US states expected to legalise cannabis, the industry is expecting to look particularly verdant come 2020. A recent report suggested US revenues would top $35bn, suggesting a transformation of cannabis’ image in just a short while.
26% renewables worldwide
A quarter of the world’s energy needs are set to be met by renewables in 2020, according to a report by the International Energy Agency. Their conclusions are likely to be accurate, as they are based on planned renewable projects worldwide, although it may not be enough to stop the damage done by fossil fuels.
The soldiers of 2020 will be coated in sensors and equipped with smart glasses and a smart watch, all running from a power supply built into their uniform, according to the UK’s Ministry of Defence. But while the concept military kit, which was unveiled last month, is planned for 2020, the organisation does have a track record of delaying projects. The ideas could well be superseded before they’re ever realised.
China free of poverty
China has announced plans to eradicate poverty in the country by 2020. This would be immensely challenging, with 70 million people in the country living below the poverty line, but the country does have a reputation for getting stuff done. Let’s hope this does actually happen.
Four billion internet users
Despite four billion people online being a UN target for 2015, the global organisation doesn’t now expect that number of users to get connected for another five years. Despite a surge in internet use over the last decade, growth is now slowing as would-be users lack the infrastructure required. It’s possible this will be reached sooner, but only with major investment from governments, NGOs and private companies.
Electric cars without range anxiety
According to Elon Musk, the rate of advancement in battery technology is such that cars will be capable of doing 746 miles on a single charge by 2020, making them easily competitive with even the most fuel-efficient of regular vehicles. Whether that is enough to convince people to buy them remains to be seen.
Virtual reality to be a mega industry
The VR industry is projected to be worth $15.89bn by 2020, according to research agency Research and Markets. This is about half of what the current global mobile app industry is currently worth, and the same as what the worldwide air-conditioning industry is valued at. It’s hard to say whether this is a realistic prediction: it could prove to be accurate, but equally VR could fail to produce the goods and leave a lot of people out of pocket.
Curiosity to get a friend on Mars
Curiosity’s follow-up will be launched in 2020, bringing us never-before-collected data about the Red Planet. Among the various instruments that will be included on the new rover is an oxygen-producing system, an improved camera and a range of improved instruments for the detection of minerals and organics.