Dusk til Dawn
2035 thru 2039
Self-driving vehicles are widespread
In many developed countries – especially in the EU – a new generation of self-driving vehicles is being rolled out. These use a combination of advanced GPS, Artificial Intelligence and lane-changing technology, to automatically take passengers to their destination. As well as improving road safety, these cars are fitted with the latest hydrogen-based technology to make them energy efficient and reduce their impact on the environment.
Quantum computers are becoming available
Certain government agencies, universities and research institutes now have access to this revolutionary form of technology, which offers spectacular computing speed and power on a completely different scale to anything used before. Consumer-level versions will become available a decade or so later.
Robots are dominating the battlefield
These are extremely self-sufficient, mobile and relentless fighting machines. They come in a variety of forms and sizes, but are typically smaller than a man. All of them can aim with inhuman precision, and come equipped with powerful sensors, GPS, thermal vision and other technology. They can be deployed for weeks or months at a time if necessary, without any need for rest or maintenance. They have other advantages over humans too – such as a complete lack of remorse or fear; no need for training, or retirement payments, or other such costs. These machines are being used in a wide variety of conflicts (especially food/energy/resource-related) where they spread terror and confusion through the ranks of their enemies.
In fact, only the poorest or most desperate nations are fielding human troops against this new and deadly force. This is giving the US a tremendous advantage in battlefield situations – allowing the country to regain much of the power and influence it has lost in previous decades… at least with regards to armed conflicts.
The most advanced robot models come with such features as nanobot self-repairing, immunity to EMP attacks, sonic weaponry and the ability to turn themselves almost invisible.
A solution to the ongoing food crisis becomes available near the end of this decade. Advances in tissue engineering have made it possible to actually “grow” meat, using just single animal cells. Having been in development for over 30 years, it has now reached the stage where it can be safely mass-produced and made available for public consumption.
The meat itself has a number of benefits. It is unusually pure, clean and healthy – whilst retaining the original flavour, texture and appearance of traditional meat. It can also be produced without harm or cruelty to animals, being just a lump of cultivated cells. Perhaps most importantly, it has far less impact on the environment.
It is also much cheaper than ordinary meat, which is especially beneficial to developing countries, many of which have seen their agricultural systems ravaged by climate change.
Like GM crops and other such radical advances, a number of political and psychological hurdles stood in the way of its development. This meant its introduction to the mainstream was delayed by several years. However, the aforementioned crisis in farming – along with endorsements from animal welfare groups – gave added impetus and eventually pushed it through.