Fully automated factories will run 24 hours without supervision, manufacturing all human needs. These factories will be powered by renewable sources needing only mild checkups on a yearly basis.
Massive customization will dissolve most of the brands that now dominate the world. People will use cars that they designed and sent to factories for production. These cars will be in most cases designed originally or most of the time they will be customized from Template 3d files. These not only apply to cars but to almost all major things we now use from clothes, phones, houses and even planes.
Flexible manufacturing of the kind we have not even dreamt of will enable prototyping and manufacturing of any consumer good within 24 hours. With exception of planes, rockets, ships and other extremely heavy machinery which will be done in a week. This is all without major human supervision because AI will enable robots of all shapes and sizes and kinds to design build these things. Flexible manufacturing will bring about true breakneck innovation and we can have as many as 10 thousand different processors designs running on millions of phone designs.
Massive deflation in the decade of 2020s would have brought about a massive decline in the use of money. Due to massive fully automated farms, it will be difficult to put a price on food and other commodities. Money will be made online by playing all kinds of games. If you trade currency, especially with bots you will understand that money is no longer the concrete thing that we thought had value before. All we have now is gimmickry upon gimmickry. This money games will continue and expand leading to thousands of actively used and traded virtual currencies.
You might have a hundred kinds of ‘money’ on your phone, all virtual and issued by non-official sources enabling you to purchase very specialized services. It will be very hard to sell things. The car company of the future would be a service provider, offering instant manufacturing of certain car designs custom designed by people. The greater a company the wider the range of products they can instantly manufacture. This is not just for car companies but many other hard companies will turn into ‘service’ companies offering manufacturing as a service.
Most of these cars will be bought for extremely tiny amounts of money, because it will almost be like renting rather than ownership, since it will be very easy to trade in the car for a new one. Due to massive improvement of recycling capacity in the world at this time, waste will be eliminated, not because of any noble cause but because with the nanotechnology of the time it will be many times more profitable to recycle than to mine anew. In most cases companies will give people products for free to just boost their stock price due to wider coverage and user-ship.
Many technologies underlying many products we use today will be obsoleted, this will be because of a new intuition in the understanding of science. When we put machines that truly understand things through the task of actually understanding our massive science literature that can now be easily accessed online, we will have new understanding of many things we have missed along the way. Mining those mountains of formulas will allow computers devise new understanding that will seem so novel to us we will think that we actually possess a completely brand new science. With this understanding we will solve the battery problem, by designing the self-charging battery, a battery that runs almost permanently, solar panels that utilize almost all the frequencies of sunlight, and dark panels that utilize cosmic radiations at night and day. We will find out that we have only utilized a tiny silver, about 0.1% of all our scientific discoveries for technologies, computers will enable us utilize about 80% which will radically alter the entire world.
With fully automatic construction, building a house will be as automated as building a car these days, new materials will give rise to massive, extremely tall buildings, with the tallest building in the world being about 7 miles tall. Most building would double as cheap space ports.
The sky will be filled with fully automated flying craft that will deliver people to any destination at hypersonic speeds. Highly automated airport security and flexible visa procedures due to flexible residency will make you decide to travel to a new country in the morning and make it there in a few hours or less. Automation and reliable renewable sources of energy will enable humans to live in most of the most hostile environments of the earth like the deserts, below the sea, about the sea, hills and cold wastelands. Technology like massive bio-domes etc. will enable people live everywhere. This easy prosperity society will make most of the ‘special’ countries of the world lose their exclusivity. Despite opening their borders, they will see lesser and lesser influx of people as people will want to live in the new cities that will be scattered around the world. Owned mostly by various corporations, these cities will offer better living conditions than what we currently have now.
Starting in 2020 there will be a massive discontinuity in our technological development and the consciousness of modern man, as many people who are now teenagers will be in their early twenties and demand a faster more efficient society. Their numbers will be so large that their demand and action will lead to a sharp break from the past. There will be nothing we can do to stop their innovation. The pace of innovation will be head breaking, way more than has been experienced even in the speedy days of the 20th century. We will see the kind of development the world was engulfed in during the 1950s and 1960s, but this time not motivated by the fear of war but by the love of progress. The only chance the older generation will have will be to flow with the tide. Unlike past periods of technological development this phase will have a very low entry requirement thus allowing more and more people to participate. This will give a whole new meaning to collaboration faster than our current web can deliver. Imagine collaboratively building a new phone, by swapping CAD files up and down from experts to novice and back again. Computers will present a high level interface to the most complicated technologies, providing the options of just choosing requirement and configuration, while it simulates the results beneath. This will give a whole new meaning to invention.
Automated unmanned flying craft will take food to the remote parts of the world and the tiny pockets of hunger we have left. Eradicating global hunger. This will not be because man now loves the whole world but because it will be less expensive to deliver the food to these regions for free, than paying for the destruction of the food which will cost more and more. Since everything can now be grown everywhere not because of genetic engineering but new hybridization techniques no company or country will possess a monopoly on food. Countries will no longer be able to keep the price of food artificially low because of massive competition from the rest of the world especially the countries of the world that have been lacking food for longer periods of time.
Massive distribution of wealth will make birth rates go down reducing the world population to about 5 billion people, and it will tend to stabilize around this level. New methods of contraception and the general lack of the desire to have children will bring a drastic shortage of the world population. With material abundance everywhere people will tend to keep enjoying themselves selfishly than bother about sharing their time raising children. People with children would be valued as a rare breed and cared for by countless corporations and government agencies.
The sad part of the future is suicide. Many people will commit suicide due to the massive proliferation of material abundance. Due to lack of struggle to attain the goods of life, these goods will lose the value we now place on them. There will be a widespread global depression, and new psychological disorders due to people losing the purpose of living. Many people who had seen life as a game of getting material goods will be overwhelmed by the massive availability of everything.
Many deaths will be caused by drug abuse as governments reduce the regulations they now place on many narcotic substances, and also the new cities will have very different laws from the rest of the world with many of them being open to drug use. Many will die from drug overdoses. The major reason for the reduction of regulation by the government will be the growing expense by the government on tracking down and confiscating drugs. Many new drugs will be invented, many of which will be very difficult to track down by the government. The proliferation of drugs will finally lead to relaxing regulation due to overwhelm.
A widespread rekindling of ancient traditions will make people move to cities modeled on monastic societies of the past as a way to cope with the excess of the outside world.
Hyper surveillance will make it very difficult to commit a crime, although new crimes will emerge that we do not even know of now, generally computers will make it very easy to track crime, most of the time before it starts happening.
We will give in to the computer, although a few rebels will exist against it, the computer will help us attain all our material desires, but it might leave us emptier than we began.