The Science of the Next 150 Years

Scientific American asked leading scientists and science writers to look forward to what the world will be like in the years 2063, 2113 and 2163, and tell us what role science and technology will play in our future

Tavis Coburn

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What scientific and technological milestones can we envision 50, 100 and 150 years hence?

Each month we have the luxury of being able to look back into the past, to what people were writing 50, 100 and 150 years ago. We can do this because Scientific American has put its readers at the forefront of science and technology for more than 167 years. To mention just one example, our October 1962 issue featured Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, explaining the meaning of this wondrous molecule, and psychologist Leon Festinger writing on what he meant by the term “cognitive dissonance.”

A strong past is a good foundation from which to look into the future. In that spirit, we asked our authors to train their imaginations on what the world might look like 50, 100 and 150 years from now. Will cars fly? Will we still have computers, and if so, what will they do? Will nuclear weapons be banished? Will our technology save us from a changing climate or make things worse? What is the fate of tigers and other wild creatures on an increasingly crowded planet? To what extent will we master our genes to stave off disease? And if we ever leave this planet, how will the journey change us? In the following pages, you will find answers. Not the answers—we are not making predictions but rather doing thought experiments, grounded in science fact, with an eye to illuminating today's world and provoking thought about what comes next.

The Editors

The Future in 50, 100 and 150 Years
The Flying Car Will Finally Fly—And Drive
Will We Come To Grips With Nuclear Weapons?
Gene Therapies Will Cure Many A Disease
Extinction Countdown: The End For Many Species
Will High Tech Cool A Hot Earth?
Computing In 2165
How Humans Will Evolve On Multi-Generational Space-Exploration Missions

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This article was originally published with the title "Over the Horizon."

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