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What Will Happen Before 2120?
Much of the technology that we have today would've been inconceivable a century ago.
But as history has continuously shown, things that were once thought impossible can become
an everyday reality.
So, what sorts of amazing tech could await us in our near future?
This is Unveiled and today we're answering the extraordinary question; What will happen
before the year 2120?
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Generally speaking, the technology that's available to us increases year on year at
an exponential rate… which makes sense for the most part because technological innovation
usually occurs via the technology made possible during the previous round of innovation.
So, the better our tech becomes, the better we are at creating newer and even more innovative
products… with some market estimates even claiming that computers in just ten years'
time could be 1,000 times more advanced than what we currently have.
In October 2019, Google announced that one of its quantum computers had achieved “Quantum
Supremacy” by solving a particular equation - one that would take a traditional computer
over 10,000 years to complete - in less than three-and-a-half minutes.
The practical applications of the achievement aren't yet known, and it's still thought
that we're a long way from everyday quantum computing.
But when you consider that the computer in general is only a few decades old and yet
today millions of people own handheld smart devices millions of times more powerful than
what NASA had available at the time of the moon landing… it's clear that in the next
100 years a lot can change and will change.
So, what should we be expecting?
For one, our health and longevity is set to improve… with a growing focus on CRISPR
technology to enhance our survivability.
Gene editing is already here, being used for a variety of forward-thinking projects like
attempts to remove malaria from mosquitoes; to create super plants that are resistant
to insects and disease; and even to treating blindness in some animals.
But, similar CRISPR uses have also started to emerge directly involving humans.
A bid by the University of Pennsylvania to treat cancer patients via CRISPR tech has
already made headlines, while there have also been reports of gene editing being used in
the UK to successfully remove cancer in at least one case.
The approach is still very much in its infancy, but it is representative of a general push
to “take back control” against all diseases that threaten the human body - to beat them
before we even develop them - especially at a time when antimicrobial resistance is considered
a major threat to life.
The ongoing (and intensifying) ethical debate surrounding “designer babies” shows that
there is also a darker aspect to a prospective future world where gene editing is the norm,
As with most advancing technologies, there will also be a moral balance to be struck.
It's an issue affecting other near-future tech aiming not only to make us healthier,
but to make us smarter, too.
Elon Musk has already revealed his plans for NeuraLink, an implantable brain machine interface
that will allow humans to think and process faster than ever before by connecting their
brain to a type of computer - with plans to test the device inside a sample of humans
slated for the early 2020s.
On a simple level, if AI brain implants work and take off, they'd be a major first step
in artificially increasing our own mental capacities and abilities.
More specifically, though, they could usher in the age of telepathy.
Futurist Ian Pearson believes the likelihood of this happening by at least 2100 is “ten
out of ten”, while there's a growing general consensus that synthetic telepathy is no longer
pure science fiction, but actually a fast-approaching, real world possibility.
For those backing telepathy tech, we could soon be making literal “mental notes”
to ping backwards and forwards between ourselves - as simply as sending messages online - as
our brains more closely merge with our devices.
Again, there's a dark side wherein telepathy renders traditional means of communication
(like face-to-face conversation) redundant… and where everyone's brains become vulnerable
to digital hacks and security breaches… but there's also an argument that this level
of development is actually necessary for the human race so that it can keep up with the
potential capabilities of artificial intelligence.
Unsurprisingly, AI is set to have a massive impact on the next century.
Using advances like the Google quantum computer as a starting point - where traditional computer
“processing” is replaced by seamless, millisecond transitions - in a century the
gap between artificial and organic could well have significantly closed.
For decades the Turing Test has been held as the ultimate obstacle for an AI, but now
more and more computers are reportedly passing it and there's a new endpoint in sight - the
AI Singularity.
The AI Singularity is the concept that artificial intelligence will one day come to a point
where it is able to consistently create better and more intelligent versions of itself, without
the need for human input, creating an irreversible technological boom that's truly impossible
to stop.
For the US inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil, it's something that could occur as soon
as 2045, when he believes robots may even be indistinguishable from humans in some cases.
The positives?
With AI to assist us in everyday tasks, we'd be reaching levels of efficiency never before
possible… and with the prospect of AI essentially inventing itself, actual human beings would
be left with more time and opportunity for other pursuits.
The negatives?
Well, “the rise of the robots” is a popular theme in dystopian science fiction for a reason…
Here's another facet of future life where achieving a balance is key.
But whether the robots rise up to help or hinder us, the next 100 years look set to
be dominated by other environmental concerns as well.
Fears surrounding climate change and global warming have taken hold within the last few
decades, with various national governments making pledges and setting deadlines for when
they hope to be carbon neutral (or even carbon negative).
In 2019, for example, the British government committed to “Net Zero” carbon emissions
by 2050.
We'll know by 2120 whether targets like these were met, but if nothing changes then
scientists are promising a bleak outlook.
According to NASA measurements, the average global temperature has increased by 0.8 degrees
Celsius since 1880 - but the majority of that increase has happened since 1975.
For climatologists, the concern is that this quicker increase will continue into the next
century until the temperature becomes unmanageable or even un-survivable.
In general, the planet could look very different within the next 100 years.
Thanks to melting ice caps, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration foresees
a sea level rise of at least 0.3 metres by the end of the century.
Meanwhile, a 2019 study by scientists at the University of Bristol claims sea levels could
rise by as much as two metres by 2100.
The estimates do vary, but most projections warn of the water increase causing major disruption
- particularly in coastal regions like the US state of Florida, for example, which according
to some estimates has a 100% chance of being flooded by sea surges within the next 100
to 150 years.
According to 2019 analysis conducted by 24/7 Wall Street, many other parts of the US alone
are expected to experience mass flooding within a century, including parts of New England,
Georgia and Texas.
Right now, around 71 percent of Earth's surface is covered in water, but if the most
severe projections are met then that figure is set to change - turning our planet into
a slightly bluer place as the oceans reach further and further inland.
For some, the potential changes to our environment could even necessitate fleeing from Earth
With or without an ecological crisis, though, space travel is another aspect of our lives
set for significant progress over the next few generations.
And proposed missions to Mars are among the most exciting initiatives in front of us.
If targets laid out by various space agencies (including NASA) and private aerospace firms
come to fruition, then by 2120 we should have built a permanent base on the Red Planet.
The European Space Agency and the Chinese National Space Administration both reportedly
plan on going to Mars somewhere between 2040 and 2060, although the head of SpaceX Elon
Musk hopes to have a permanent Martian Base (called Mars Base Alpha) by as soon as 2028.
Meanwhile, NASA's Artemis Program aims to begin setting up a permanent base on the moon
by 2028, and both Russia's Roscosmos and Japan's JAXA reportedly plan to begin building
on the lunar surface by 2030.
If those earliest goals are met, then really the moon and Mars could even be old news in
100 years' time, as humanity becomes inspired by its past achievements and starts to look
further and further out into the solar system.
Just as parts of our everyday lives may have been unthinkable to those living in 1920,
we're set to see all manner of change play out over the next century.
From technological innovations to ecological challenges, Earth will be a very different
So different, in fact, that humanity may well have branched away from this planet in an
accelerated quest to explore others.
And that's what could happen before 2120.
What do you think?
Is there anything we missed?
Let us know in the comments, check out these other clips from Unveiled, and make sure you
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What Will Happen Before 2120? | Unveiled

24 Folder Collection
林峰生 published on July 28, 2020
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