Preparing for the Brave New World of 2050 (2)

I met the Japanese-American physicist Michio Kaku a number of years in the past at a global scientific convention in Jordan. An creator of a number of in style science greatest sellers; he’s a number one researcher on string idea. Kaku predicts that in future, issues like star ships, time journey, invisibility and teleportation could also be potential.  According to him, we could also be approaching the twilight of the gods: “In ancient times, we used to fear the gods; tomorrow we would become the gods.”

Thirty years in the past, after I was a pupil at Ahmadu Bello University, there was just one laptop on campus. Its energy was only a fraction of what your common laptop computer can do at the moment. There was no Internet and no e mail, not to mention Google, smartphones or Twitter.

According to Moore’s Law, computing energy doubles each 18 months. By 2050, we’d be dwelling in a world of quantum computer systems, with capacities that may solely be imagined.  The Internet of Things (I.O.T.) shall be in every single place. Computers and nanotechnology will result in extraordinary breakthroughs in medication and communications. Instantaneous translation shall be potential. The mind-computer interface will result in developments in prosthetics that may enable paralytics to operate usually whereas the blind will have the ability to see with synthetic eyes.

There shall be a proliferation of maglev trains and transcontinental oceanic hyperloops with speeds exceeding 700 mph.  Air taxis and driverless automobiles will develop into mainstream whereas robotics and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) will revolutionise the best way we reside, study and work. Advances in 5-G connectivity, and blockchain will revolutionise commerce and finance. Fusion energy vegetation will result in new types of low-cost and clear power. Nanotechnology, stem cells and genetic engineering will present cures for most cancers, arthritis, Alzheimer, diabetes and HIV/AIDS. Customised infants could develop into the norm whereas ageing and demise will more and more be consigned to the area of particular person selection. Human blood shall be produced in laboratories. There shall be needle-free injections that shall be administered via jet-injections. Vertical and greenhouse farming shall be frequent along with manufacturing of synthetic meat.

Drones shall be ubiquitous. Supersonic avionics shall be again whereas electrical airplanes will disrupt the aviation trade. Space tourism shall be patronised by the rich. It is forecasted that, Alpha Centauri, our neighbouring galaxy, shall be inside attain by 2040. There shall be a brand new scramble for the colonisation of outer area. Humanity is on the verge of “technological singularity”, the place the interface between mind, computer systems and physique implants will profoundly redefine what it means to be human.

But there are risks. Global warming will worsen, except pressing collective motion is taken to reverse the development. The Amazon rainforest is being destroyed; irreversible melting of the Greenland ice sheet may happen. In the face of rising sea ranges, 200 million individuals run the danger of displacement whereas whole island nations similar to Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, the Maldives and a few of the Caribbean islands could disappear altogether. Climate change is exacerbating the issue of useful resource stress, notably recent water, meals techniques and competitors for metals and minerals.

Scientists inform us that we now reside within the Anthropocene Age the place human beings can alter the physiognomy of the biosphere. With a inhabitants veering on 10 billion past 2050, we’d have reached the uttermost limits of demographic sustainability. Food shortages, famines, ailments and natural-resource depletion will create a brand new Malthusian nightmare.

The late astrophysicist, Stephen Hawking, expressed profound fears that technological strides with out the requisite rebirth in human nature will result in a extra harmful world. He feared that A.I., for instance, may very well be set on a battle path with people. Religious fanatics and ideological extremists will have the ability to manufacture bespoke WMD. Genetically manufactured viruses may spell catastrophe for humanity.

Nations that fail to realign their nationwide techniques to hook on to neural networks of financial alternative will regress whereas the life possibilities of their individuals will diminish. Financial and banking contagion results will develop into harder to comprise in future. So will viral pandemics. Radical terrorists can recruit extra followers utilizing social media and different types of digital communications. Policing borders, patrolling cybercriminals and holding out radical extremist concepts will develop into a nightmare for nationwide authorities.

My era grew up within the shadow of Pax Americana. From Woodrow Wilson to Harry Truman, American statesmen helped in designing the structure of the post-war worldwide order that has assured the worldwide equilibrium. But American affect is in decline. It is a truism that the centre of world gravity during the last 30 years has steadily been shifting from the West to the East.

Napoleon Bonaparte famously counselled that we should let China sleep, as a result of, when she wakes up, the world will tremble. The Chinese Dragon has woken up. The world that Humpty-Dumpty constructed won’t ever be the identical once more. In phrases of nominal GDP, the USA at the moment is $21.44 trillion as contrasted to China’s $14.four trillion. But when it comes to buying energy parity (PPP), the USA is $21.44 trillion whereas China is already forward at $27.31 trillion. The Chinese themselves are uncomfortable with such comparisons.

The Chinese have by no means pretended to be democrats. I doubt if they’ve ever recognized with the enlightenment internationalism of Immanuel Kant or the humane jurisprudence of the Jesuit Fathers of Salamanca, not to mention the worldwide civic spirit of a Dag Hammarskjold or Kofi Annan. I might not go as far as to explain them as the brand new barbarian pagans with energy however no duty.

Poor world governance will make collective safety extra problematic. Rogue states, armed bandits, guerrillas and terrorist organisations could wax stronger. Democracies could also be pressured to resort to “undemocratic” means to sort out them. The moral-constitutional foundations of the worldwide liberal order as we now have all the time identified it is going to come more and more below pressure.

For rising economies, the years forward will create unprecedented alternatives and challenges. Prosperity within the 21st century shall be depending on possession of robust establishments, political stability, property rights and the rule of regulation. Echoing the Swiss historian, Jacob Burckhardt, I daresay that each profitable state is a murals. Great nations will not be merchandise of likelihood. They are the handiwork of nice statesmen with imaginative and prescient, ardour, braveness and creativeness. Nations, empires and civilisations have risen and fallen all through historical past. There aren’t any ensures wherever. Leaders that mobilise their peoples round grand visions will see their nations go ahead. Those that pursue the trail of folly will go below.

Nigeria has develop into a sick, rudderless ship; a violent and lawless Hobbesian nightmare; an oil-dependent rentier, debt-ridden, vastly corrupt and more and more impecunious ghetto; ruled by an atrociously narrow-minded, nepotistic oligarchy. Even schoolchildren know that our ramshackle behemoth is doomed. The “Spirit of Sudan” is a phantom that refuses to go away.

Some of our compatriots have given up already. But I dare to imagine {that a} New Nigeria is feasible. It should be a re-engineered federation primarily based on a brand new constitutional compact; a forward-looking democracy anchored on freedom, the rule of regulation and social justice. We should reinvent authorities as a servant of the individuals, not their grasp; a compassionate, enlightened, and entrepreneurial state, primarily based on market rules that assure collective welfare and safety for all. And we should plan for a world with out oil, the place hydrogen and sustainable power sources change hydrocarbons.

Leadership; human capital; energy and infrastructure; science, know-how and innovation; and fostering belief and social concord amongst all our individuals, will matter greater than anything. I’m persuaded that the vocation of our era is to construct a New Nigeria – to reinvent our nation as a beacon of hope and a light-weight unto the nations.

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