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Gov't Report Predicts Cyborgs, Rise of China for 2030 219

Posted by Soulskill
from the resistance-is-futile dept.
colinneagle writes "Yesterday the National Intelligence Council (NIC), which is made up of 17 U.S. government intelligence agencies, released the 140-page report Global Trends 2030 Alternate Worlds. In all four of the alternative visions of the future, U.S. influence declines and it may be regarded more as a 'first among equals.' By 2030, the West will be in decline and Asia will wield more overall global power than the U.S. and Europe combined. 'China alone will probably have the largest economy, surpassing that of the United States a few years before 2030,' the report states. 'Megatrends' include an overall reduction of poverty and the 'growth of a global middle class.' NIC also sees a potential world of scarcities as the demand for food and water increase as the world's population swells from 7.1 billion to 8.3 billion people. Advances in health technologies will help people live longer, but 60% of the world's population is expected to live in an urban environment. The report also addresses technological augmentation: 'Successful prosthetics probably will be directly integrated with the user’s body. Brain-machine interfaces could provide “superhuman” abilities,enhancing strength and speed, as well as providing functions not previously available.'"
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Gov't Report Predicts Cyborgs, Rise of China for 2030

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  • by PPH (736903) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @07:49PM (#42255421)

    Not yet? Then fuck it.

  • We have plenty of both, and usually the means to get a lot more if pressed. Where you might run into problems is if you were unwise enough to build a few cities in desert areas and then attempt to irrigate them from faraway sources.

    • by Herve5 (879674)

      "Where you might run into problems is if you were unwise enough to build a few cities in desert areas and then attempt to irrigate them from faraway sources."

      Like, say, Los Angeles?

  • Damn, We were just getting rid of the American middle class. Now it is off to keep the rest of the world in it's place: Below our corporate regime.
    Signed,
    Corp. Amerika
    • Not only will the global middle class grow, and everybody will be richer... But also there will be less food and water available for everybody!

      I know that kind of report is an assembly of several different scenarios, that obviously have different characteristics. But it is not very usefull to claim that "In 2030 we'll be all rich, well, unless we are all poor or things stay near the way they are now", "also, a famous personality will die".

  • prior to WW1 and 2 the US was powerful, but not as powerful as Europe. the two world wars is what made the USA the superpower that it is today. the europeans went to war with each other one too many times. seriously, france/england/germany/russia and a few other countries have been at war with each other almost continuously for the last 1000 years. the sides changed every few decades but the frequency of the wars has been fairly regular.

    its one thing when all your people do is farm, but once industrializati

    • by timeOday (582209)
      I don't see it. US politics are fractious but nothing like Europe has long been (as you said). And we're not undergoing any dramatic upheavals at the moment or in the near future as far as I can tell. If anything, China seems more likely to erupt into infighting, simply because it is changing so fast that some internal rebalancing might be in order (e.g. the newly wealthy wanting more political power).
    • by loufoque (1400831)

      War has become useless.
      The new "wars" are economical.

  • Sorry to say, but the way things are going, that sounds overly optimistic.

  • As technology improves and wealth increases, it is natural that ways to create clean water and grow/farm food would increase too.

    You can't both simultaneously predict that technology would rise in all areas and predict that technology will not have risen in regards to food production.
    • by rolfwind (528248)

      You can't both simultaneously predict that technology would rise in all areas and predict that technology will not have risen in regards to food production.

      Nearly all our advancements the last 200 years is tied to oil and/or cheap energy.

  • I disagree that China will be the world's largest economy. First of all, let's not neglect India. Secondly, what we're seeing today is an equilibrium effect taking place, as China and India make gains to catch up and Europe and North America give a little. It will all eventually settle, and we'll have three dominant world economies: Asia, Europe, and the Americas (North and South).
    • by Kjella (173770)

      It will all eventually settle, and we'll have three dominant world economies: Asia, Europe, and the Americas (North and South).

      If the wealth really redistributes remember that Asia is well over four billion people, Americas and Europe less than a billion each (in that order). And that's a pretty wide group of countries, depending on whose definition of "western" you use like for example Huntington [wikipedia.org] including the US, Canada, parts of Europe and Australia then the western world is less than a billion put together. Given that, it's not unlikely that the Asian economy will become at least as big if not bigger than the western one. Of co

  • Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by turp182 (1020263) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @08:02PM (#42255549) Journal

    More people + less resources = less poverty

    Fail.

    Debt will certainly cause decline in the West. It's happening now, and poverty is increasing considerably.

    Countries running account surpluses will be the largest economies over time.

    • by Guppy06 (410832)

      More people + less resources = less poverty

      Fail.

      Less resources + more equitable distribution = less poverty

      Debt will certainly cause decline in the West. It's happening now, and poverty is increasing considerably.

      The "poverty" you're most likely referring to is the result of short-sighted austerity measures, which are panicked reactions rather than long-term systemic changes.

      Larger expenditures + larger revenue = lower deficit when delta-revenue > delta-expenditures

      Countries running account surpluses will be the largest economies over time.

      Countries running account surpluses are too short-sighted to make long-term investments with those surpluses.

      What, don't you think China is running a deficit?

  • by lilfields (961485) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @08:04PM (#42255573) Homepage
    That's assuming that China isn't torn into civil disarray. They "classes" in Chinese society make the American "classes" seem like a tight group. There are cities that sit empty in China...not because there is no demand for them, but because the Chinese government has banned "certain" people from buying anything there; not to mention any attempt to truly criticize the government is crushed and the internet access is strict. China is in for some rocky years, I'm sure they will overtake the U.S. eventually in output, but their civil society has tons of catching up to do after that.
  • I, for one, welcome our new stronger, faster, older, hungrier cybernetic overlords (made in China).

  • I obviously haven't read the report, but does it factor in the massive employment losses that automation is going to continue to produce? How will this global middle class actually be able to afford anything if there isn't enough employment available to pay people a living wage? Are they assuming socialization of food, water, housing, and healthcare?
    • does it factor in the massive employment losses that automation is going to continue to produce? How will this global middle class actually be able to afford anything if there isn't enough employment available to pay people a living wage?

      You are totally ignoring the ripe wages the robot repair people will make.

      Also the prosthetics yielding super-human abilities will give rise to a class of vigilantes that earn money through rewards for stopping crime.

      People will figure out how to make money, I'd not worry a

    • by poity (465672)

      I don't think there will be massive employment loss. At most there will be a temporary dip if people can't catch up with the transition, but nothing permanent. I imagine global manufacturing will steadily transition from large companies employing thousands of people to individuals or small groups of individuals. As automation increases, more and more people will take up service roles like design and engineering. One person or a handful of people will make their living designing products for a niche of a few

  • by peter303 (12292) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @08:33PM (#42255787)
    Most of the time its an extrapolation of trends from that time and missing the Black Swans (unpredictable events). 1992 was a just before the first World Trade Center bombing. There are been other islamic terror incidents before then. But I wonder if anyone would predict US in major wars on that topic.

    Also there were lots of protypes of the web around, none dominant. I would not have predicted it would have grown that fast into the public world.
  • by erice (13380)

    It is widely believed that China needs 8% growth in order to maintain domestic stability. There is no way they can maintain this through 2030. They got this far by draining Western economies through aggressive exports. The Western economies are already faltering and internal consumption is heavily dependent on a real estate bubble.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @09:13PM (#42256065) Journal
    It is the same guys who have predicted 200$ barrel of oil by 2010, or the onset of depression when Bill Clinton enacted the biggest tax increase in the history of the USA in 1993. They seem to completely ignore the demographic time bomb in China. Several generations of strict enforcement of one child policy has aged its population very very quickly. Children grew up without brothers/sister, their children did not have aunts or uncles, now the grand children have no grand uncles or grand aunts. One working couple supports all their surviving ancestors. Their government pensions have dwindled in value to nothing. China could be the first country to go from agrarian/developing country to a geriatric country short circuiting the usual industrial/developed country phase.

    China is running a trade deficit with most other countries supplying it with raw materials. It runs a surplus only with a few western countries. And Japan-China hatred goes back several centuries. These complex interactions do not lend themselves to extrapolation on a graph sheet easily.

    Anyway, even if it does come to pass, it is just reversion to pre 18th century world power balance. Till about 1750s, 25% of world GDP came from India and another 25% from China.

  • I thought it said Chinese cyborgs rise in 2030
    • by Biff Stu (654099)

      I thought it said, 'Successful prostitutes probably will be directly integrated with the user’s body," but then maybe that was just wishful thinking...

  • Ok. Maybe not *here.* But the cybernetic augmentation comes pretty dam close.
  • TL;DR, but did they consider the scenario where government reports downplayed environmental issues, causing no action to be taken by nation state, and making the planet unsuitable for human presence?
  • by Hentes (2461350) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @11:49PM (#42256971)

    is almost certainly bullshit.

  • by guttentag (313541) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @12:32AM (#42257171) Journal
    Last year National Geograhic posted a nice video [youtube.com] on YouTube to talk up their theme for the year: there are 7 billion people on the planet. A few highlights:

    It would take 200 years to count from 1 to 7 billion.

    7 billion steps would take you around the globe 133 times.

    It took thousands of years to get to 1 billion, but just 130 years to double that, and just 44 years to double that. In the last 12 years, we've added a number of people equivalent to the entire global population in 1800.
    1800: 1 billion
    1930: 2 billion
    1960: 3 billion
    1974: 4 billion
    1987: 5 billion
    1999: 6 billion
    2011: 7 billion
    It's leveling off, but we may still hit 9 billion in 2045.

    Every second 5 people are born and 2 die. There are over 100 more people on the planet now than when you started reading this post.

    In 1960, the average person lived to be 53. In 2010, the average was 69.

    In 2008, for the first time ever, more people lived in cities than in rural areas.

    In 1975 there were three cities in the world with populations of over 10 million: Mexico City, New York, and Tokyo. Now there are 21 cities that size.

    By 2050, 70% of us will live in urban areas, but we don't take up as much space as you'd think. Standing shoulder to shoulder, all 7 billion of us would fill an area the size of Los Angeles.

    So it's not space we need. It's balance.

    5% of us consume 23% of the world's energy. 13% of us don't have clean drinking water. 38% of us lack adequate sanitation.
  • There are going to be powerful influences impacting human population over the next 20 years, including growing resources for education, contraception, health resources and changing levels of autonomy for women. Add to this interesting problems in the first world involving fertility and questions about crowding causing a rise in homosexuality (there is significant evidence suggesting that mammals in crowded environments experiece increases in the percentage of homosexual offspring.)

    Direct neural links will d

  • Are these the same guys who predicted 10 and 20 years ago that we would all be working for Japanese companies by now?
  • People keep talking about the US losing its "power".

    What the heck does that mean?

    And frankly, do we really want "power"? I thought we wanted peace and prosperity.

  • "Advances in health technologies will help people live longer, but 60% of the world's population is expected to live in an urban environment."

    Why is there a "but" in that statement? Shouldn't it be a period? Did I miss something? It doesn't seem like the report has any linkage between health and urbanization, so it seems the two are unrelated.

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