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

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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  • Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

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

    More people + less resources = less poverty


    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.

  • Re:Load of Crap! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @08:09PM (#42255611)

    I believe the scarcity line more. Everything we need in terms of material (many metals, oil, etc) is being consumed at a crazy pace. Usually with these mining scenarios, you go from super high grade (ore) scenarios to poorer and poorer ones. Think about all the gold rushes where the miners initially found huge nuggets fairly consistently and up in Alaska I was told it was so rich right off the bat it was $2,000 a shovel full to lesser and lesser grades until we're using several loads from a caterpillar 797s to get a fraction of an ounce while we turn mountains into holes in the ground.

    It's not so much that we can't keep getting the same amount of material needed, but it consumes ever more energy to do so.

    That wouldn't be so much of a problem if our oil wasn't starting to look like every other resource. The conventional oil is the rich ore, with initally 1 barrel oil needed to get 300 out (say, like the Ghawar oil fields when first found) and now the ones we have are around 8-15:1. As that is dwindling and not meeting our demands, we're going to fracking and tar sands that have lower yields still (and likely a lower field life as well).

    And yeah, we have Natural Gas. But that's a lower density energy form. In human history, we always went for higher density stuff, from wood->charcoal->coal->oil. Ever see an NG gas tank? Or the trunk of the car using it?

    The middle class may grow but it will have a lower standard of living than a generation or two previous. It will denote more a relative position than an absolute one.

  • Re:Skynet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by magarity ( 164372 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @08:40PM (#42255841)

    I most certainly do not welcome any new Cyborg overlords.

    Speak for yourself; if they all look like Summer Glau, I can't wait!

  • by erice ( 13380 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @09:07PM (#42256039) Homepage

    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.

  • Re:Skynet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sperbels ( 1008585 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @09:18PM (#42256093)
    Hell, my mother has cochlear implants, she's already a cyborg.
  • Re:Skynet (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @09:28PM (#42256155)
    Anybody with a laptop, tablet or smartphone who relies upon the internet is already a cyborg.
  • Re:Predict this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Squiddie ( 1942230 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @09:29PM (#42256161)

    People will eventually learn

    That's where you're wrong.

  • by ZombieBraintrust ( 1685608 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @10:27PM (#42256507)
    Not true. Even though American manufacturing is in decline, America is still the world's largest manufacturer. America is the third largest procuder of oil. The second largest producer of natural gass. America is a net exporter of food. (though we have help farming it)
  • Re:Load of Crap! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by urusan ( 1755332 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @01:23AM (#42257377)

    We already recycle most of our metal:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steel_recycling [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium_recycling [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copper#Recycling [wikipedia.org]
    In the future, scarcer metal supplies will probably lead to even better recycling technology and more incentive to save or even recover already disposed of metal.

    Fully recycling plastic and producing synthetic oil and oil products is expensive, but quite possible. Once extracting oil becomes expensive, we'll lean on and improve these technologies more and more.

    Material isn't the problem, energy is...and really that's not too big of a problem between nuclear, coal, natural gas, solar, and eventually fusion.

    The main potentially troublesome thing is our environmental impact (especially if we don't use nuclear and thus end up leaning heavily on coal), as this issue is a textbook tragedy of the commons situation, and we humans are terrible at dealing with those.

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev