5 technologies that 5 billion people will use by 2050

Since 1996, the number of people using the Internet has grown from around HRK 40 million people to about 5 billion—or 60 percent of the world’s population. Internet access is available in the city slums India, rice terraces in Vietnam and favelas in Brazil.

That’s a huge shift in 27 years—or mine whole for life.

Paul Graham recently asked on Twitter“What 36 million people use it now when it will end up with 5 billion?”

Here are my predictions for five technologies that could overtake the world by 2050, possibly changing the way we live as profoundly as the Internet did, and solving some of our most vexing problems, which almost always happens through creativity and innovation. not through regulation or government spending.


Approximately 4.4 billion people live in large cities, myself included, and getting around is neither easy nor practical. The pandemic has created budgetary problems for the city’s transport systems worse, which leads to a sharp drop in the number of passengers. Meanwhile, the federal government provides massive new subsidies for urban rail systems which hardly anyone used even before COVID, like Atlanta’s proposed $2.5 billion streetcar.

The railway was cutting edge technology – in the 19th century. I predict that by 2050, the standard in urban mobility will be electric mopeds and pedal bikes—individualized, app-powered forms of street transportation.

The US electric scooter market is expected to double by 2030. And we actually adopted late: TIn much of Asia, especially India and China, mopeds have already become commonplace, competing with cars, rickshaws and low-cost bicycles to provide point-to-point mobility where rail lags behind.

Some cities in the US have sought to ban e-scooter companies like Bird, Lime and Revel, but like Uber, the services have proven so popular that passengers won’t allow themselves to be banned.

Delivery drones

Since Amazon founder Jeff Bezos unveiled plans for delivery drones a decade ago, progress has been slow.

There are only a few thousand delivery robots operating in the US today But that’s about to change: in December, Prime Air successfully completed commercial deliveries in College Station, Texas and Lockeford, California.

On else the rest of the world, Meituan and Alibaba have only started providing this service to customers.

In the US, delivery drones are hampered by the Federal Aviation Administration’s approval process, and it’s the same regulatory story in China. But I predict that this will not be true for much longer due to the huge benefit this service brings in terms of convenience for customers and reduction of traffic problems caused by delivery trucks clogging up our streets.

By 2050, I’m convinced that the urban skyline will be teeming with what looks like a swarm of carrier pigeons carrying books, spatulas, bottles of vinegar, or anything else you can order on Amazon—not to mention hearts and kidneys pounding toward hospitals.

The language of AI

Generative AI — a form of artificial intelligence that uses human input to generate unique text and images — had a turning point in 2022. From DALL-E to Lensa, people use image generators mostly to fool around on the internet. But we are entering an age of sophisticated text-based artificial intelligence, which will revolutionize everything from customer service to poetry.

ChatGPT requires a prompt to generate large amounts of fairly sophisticated text. It is capable of “answering follow-up questions, admitting its mistakes, challenging incorrect premises, and rejecting inappropriate requests,” according to its developer, OpenAI.

Described as a “second brain”, ChatGPT will unleash Some people do different jobs, as technology always does, and allow other do the same job more productively.

Why spend hours researching the technologies described in this video when you can simply ask ChatGPT to generate a personalized report? ChatGPT could write the first draft of a professor’s curriculum, pitch stories for a TV show, draft sections of a newspaper article, or create copy for a website describing a product to sell. Linguistic AI will change the way we do our work in the same way search did.

Laboratory grown meat

When factory farming began in the 1920s, it was designed to minimize costs while maximizing production—animal welfare be damned. But now that scientists can grow meat in labs, there’s less reason to inflict suffering on the 50 billion chickens and 300 million cows we raise and kill for food every year.

Personally, I find plant-based substitutes like Impossible Burgers and Beyond Burgers disgusting, but when we can actually scale the process of growing meat in labs, it will be a game changer. Then the era of factory farming will come to an end, rendering the US Department of Agriculture largely useless, and reducing the industry’s environmental impact. We will finally be able to enjoy foie gras without having to think about the ducks we force-fed to fatten their livers.

I bet there always will be some the demand for real meat, just as there are luxury buildings with elevator operators and horse and carriage rides in Central Park. But meat lovers will generally make more ethical food choices because it becomes easier, cheaper and tastier.

Health Wearables

When Fitbit trackers debuted in 2009, they allowed people to track their movement for the first time with a simple black wristband. Sure, the concept of a pedometer is an old one — there was a big step counting craze in Japan in the 1960s — but FitBit ushered in the modern trend of using wearables to learn about your personal health data, whether it’s step counting, sleep tracking, and continuous monitoring. glucose. I predict that by 2050, wearables full of censors will eliminate already dubious annual medical exams and send most of our primary care physicians as switchboard operators.

Before the advent of continuous glucose monitoring, people with diabetes had to prick their fingers throughout the day to measure their blood sugar. Now these tiny devices with electrodes under the skin can do this continuously. I think by 2050, even non-diabetics will be using these tools to monitor their insulin responses, get data on how theirs bodies interact with the things you put in them—a business idea that’s already being worked on.

About 540 million adults live with diabetes worldwide, and that number is expected to rise to nearly 800 million by 2045. The global prevalence of obesity tripled between 1975 and 2016. On one level, it’s a free-market success story: all fewer people are dying of hunger than ever before. In fact, they are now experiencing the consequences of gluttony and abundance.

But over the next 27 years, we should expect better drugs and devices to help people manage their weight and health, detecting problems earlier and more accurately than ever before.


When French artists envisioned the year 2000 in 1900, they were too conservative in their predictions, unable to envision a world that did away with clumsy propellers, electrical wires, and bulky machinery in favor of more modern, efficient tools for household chores, transportation, and food production. Everyone also seemed to think that zeppelins would be a really big deal.

No one predicted the enormous changes that would occur, especially due to the exponential increase in computing power. Perhaps these predictions are also limited by our imaginations.

The details are hard to know, but I’m convinced that by 2050, technological creativity will render mundane tasks obsolete, free us from biological constraints, and collapse distance and time in ways that make the limitations of the physical world increasingly irrelevant.

Photo credits: Asun Diaz, CC3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; ARipstra (WMF), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Study authors: Dong-Hee Kang, Fiona Louis, Hao Liu, Hiroshi Shimoda, Yasutaka Nishiyama, Hajime Nozawa, Makoto Kakitani, Daisuke Takagi, Daijiro Kasa, Eiji Nagamori, Shinji Irie, Shiro Kitano & Michiya Matsusaki, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Bartz/Stockmar – Fleischatlas 2018, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Baldesteinmanuel326, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Bfyhdch, CC BY-SA 4., via Wikimedia Commons; Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons; Cefnamwlch Home Farm Milking Carousel by Eric Jones, CC JOURNAL 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons; CAPTAIN RAJU, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Comyu, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Consumer Reports, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Audiovisual production center. Office responsible for the institutional photo archive., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Chris Talbot / Paignton – Internet Cafe; Cqholt, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; David Revoy / Blender Foundation, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Daniel Oberhaus, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Dllu, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Ed Gold, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; East Devon : Heathen Hill Farm & Milking Parlor by Lewis Clarke, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Envato elements; CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons; Elvert Barnes of Silver Spring, MD, USA; Ganges, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Gabriel S. Thin C., CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Hynek Moravec, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; IICD www.iicd.org/photos, CC BY 2., via Wikimedia Commons; Internet Archive; CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Kevin Nicol/World Pictures/Photoshot/Newscom; Kiran Jonnalagadda from Bangalore, India, via Wikimedia Commons; Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Library of Congress; Marie, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Mike Winkelmann, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Martin2035, CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons; CC Mack Male of Edmonton, AB, Canada, via Wikimedia Commons; CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Matthew T Rader, https://matthewtrader.com; Mont Servais/Abaca/Newscom; Mliu92, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Michael Coghlan, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Noah Wulf, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Narek75, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Nevit, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Ossewa, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons; CC Kei 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Phillip Pessar, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Pavanaja, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Raman Patel, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Rhetos, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons; Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons; Rob Croes / Anefo, via Wikimedia Commons; Secretary of Agriculture and Supply of the State of São Paulo Agriculturasp, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Subhashish Panigrahi, CC 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Tom Williams/Rolling Photos/Newscom; CC 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; User: Vmenkov, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; User: (WT-shared) Shoestring at WTS Wikivoyage, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons; Watershed Post, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Music credits: “Stutter Island,” by Ros via Artlist; “Mladost”, ANBR, via Artlist; “Metaverse”, Lux-Inspira via Artlist; “Polygons,” Evgeny Bardyuzha via Artlist; “Lost”, Ramola, via Artlist; “Still Need Syndrome,” Yarina Primak via Artlist.

Cameras by Jim Epstein; writing by Liz Wolfe; editing by Regan Taylor.

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