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In the year 2030, Asia will surpass North America and Europe and become the global economic powerhouse it once was during the Middle Ages. Deaths from communicable disease will drop by 40 percent. The majority of the world's population won't be poor and among them will walk bionic superhumans with neuro-pharmaceuticals coursing through their veins.
These are just a very small fraction of the predictions made by the soothsayers over at the National Intelligence Council (NIC), a US coalition of 17 government intelligence agencies. The NIC's prophecies were recently detailed in Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds, a 140-page report that identifies "megatrends" expected to emerge over the next 18 years and radically alter the world as we know it today. The report is the fifth installment of NIC's Global Trends series, which seeks to provide a proactive framework for thinking about the future.
"We are at a critical juncture in human history, which could lead to widely contrasting futures," writes Christopher Kojm, NIC chairman, in the report's introduction. "It is our contention that the future is not set in stone, but is malleable, the result of an interplay among megatrends, game-changers and, above all, human agency."
Chief among the megatrends is the diffusion of power and individual empowerment. The West is set to take a back seat to Asia's economy as technology levels the playing field and other "non-Western or middle-tier states" begin to rise. The middle class is expected to expand in most countries, but won't feel secure due to the one billion workers from developing countries expected to flood the labor pool.
I plan to be the first kid on my block with a completely synthetic mind/body.