This thread just contains some ideas I have for the development of Homosapien in the near to late future. If you particularly hate what some people consider to be ‘unrealistic’ speculations, I wouldn't bother reading on. Some of the ideas are optimistic, some slightly less so. It is in a vaguely chronological order, but not specific. It also follows the assumption that we 1) dodge or survive any large, threatening cosmic rocks before we develop technology to deter or destroy it 2) don’t kill ourselves off due to a huge nuclear war 3) don’t accidently kill off the stalks so there’s no one to deliver our babies. I have more ideas, but this post is already long enough, so it can wait. Feel free to comment about your own speculations as well.
There will be the continuation of advancing healthcare for humans, as it is of course a primary concern. What this will lead to is humans living longer lives and a decrease in untreatable diseases and conditions. The most dangerous present day threats, such as cancer and AIDS, will almost certainly be completely treatable and/or vanished (the bubonic plague is another such disease that has long since disappeared). Longer life expectancy amongst the general population leads me to my next point directly below.
I am sure that the time will come when global – or at least wide spread – birth control will be fully implemented. We all know China already has a 1 child limit. So this is the first country to have to take action over this due to overpopulation and/or uncontrollable birth rates. It is only a matter of time before countries over the entire globe take their turns as well. A global implementation may be put in place, but it is more likely to differ slightly in whichever the said country is. Another possibility is maybe there will be an age limit for a person’s life: i.e. 100 years before being ‘put down’, to completely ensure full control and predictability of the human race (I doubt this, but still personally hope it never happens!).
In regards to societal change, I believe that – unfortunately – the ‘eventual’ outcome will be something somewhat akin to that proposed in ‘1984’. Even though there are developments which create the impression of expanding freedom (black people and different sexualities gaining acceptance), I think there is always going to be a subtle push towards enclosing an ever-increasingly small cage around people in an effort for control, power and predictability over the general population.
Religion is slowly dissipating, even now, with a higher importance being placed on science. With each small discovery, there becomes a lessening need to place the cause on a God. Although I am doubtful the concept will ever be forgotten in humans’ minds (it has very much an important place in the arts), I am sure that a concrete belief in such a deity will be eradicated. This means that religion in its present definition will disappear. I believe though, that traditions of religions regarding their differing ways of life can remain, and people can go by them without the worship of a non-existent entity. Buddhism is a fine example, as it instead relies on the teachings of an actual being rather than blindly following a faith that has no existence outside of one’s mind (the difference being quite relevant as long as one doesn't follow the notion of solipsism).
A new energy source will be discovered to eliminate the need for harmful present ones such as fossil fuels, although I have not much of an idea at what these could be. Rising through the ranks of civilisations, humans will most likely consider our very own sun, or another neighbouring planet, for our source of nourishment. It may even venture past our own solar system if we develop enough (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kardashev_scale).
Think nuclear weapons are bad enough? Well, in the future I’ll bet that with advancing scientific progress, there will be new and even more powerful and destructive weaponry for our ape claws to wave around with like a monkey with a banana. By delving deeper into the construction of the universe (quantum mechanics is just the start), there will be yet another way to blow our fellow gremlins up into bloody fairy dust. Black Hole Gun? Atom Splitter Ray? It’s progression from science fiction to fact is a reality, people!
It is only natural that with technology on the increase, and humans themselves, the earth will become more and more covered with us... settlements in places where there were once fields and new connections being made to pre-existing towns and cities. Urbanisation will occur over time such that the future holds an earth that no piece of land exists without our metallic mark covering its surface.
The invention of robotics will of course get increasingly advanced. Coding will be of such complexity that the distinction between who is metal and who is bone becomes both indistinguishable and irrelevant. Amongst everything else, it will impact jobs, particularly those considered menial. Robots will most likely take over such things as factory and shop maintenance (with self-service machines already a widespread placement in popular supermarkets).
Cybernetic enhancements, will too, eventually become commonplace. Not only will these enhancements improve day-to-day living and the, by comparison, average ‘specifications’ that humans have been given, but is also a brilliant solution to different health problems, especially related to bone and tissue damage. Micro-robotic creatures could even be programmed and placed into the blood stream to maintain and repair related bodily conditions.
Colonisation of a couple of planets in our solar system will occur (others outside solar system would be in the very distant future, and only pertained to if the human race hasn't already been wiped out years ago); namely our own moon and mars. These two are both fairly similar (in relation to other climates in the known universe) to the earth, and have a similar rocky surface that is at least adequately habitable as a secondary home. This will probably become a necessity as we slowly evaporate the recourses of our primary home planet. As different leaders will have to take care of each colony in particular, there will be most likely differing sets of laws, social behaviours and etiquette's – if we both succeed and live off these planets on a ‘permanent’ basis. If this stage of development were to occur, wars on a ‘solar system’ scale wouldn't come as a total surprise to me.