Scientists predict how we will live in 2045 – and it is nothing like you may imagine

Imagining the Internet

Scientists predict how we will live in 2045 – and it is nothing like you may imagine

Spot the Nanodog asks you to imagine a world where the dishes are always clean, the garbage takes itself out, your bed makes itself, you have a machine that creates any food you would anytime for free (and you can eat as much of it as you'd without getting fat or unhealthy), and cars drive on their own. This could be your future. And it may be closer than you think. The world is moving faster and faster all the time.

Within the next 10 to 50 years or so, new inventions and science breakthroughs will make big changes in your life. When people look ahead, they help us plan and prepare for the future.

Some people do this as their jobs – they are called “futurists.” Many predictions from futurists are included on this site and in the book tied to it. Both are called “Imagining the Internet.

Scientists predict that in your future…

  • Virtual-reality worlds will be the new instant messenger.
  • Humans will be connected to computer networks.
  • Nanites (from nanotechnology) will be making life easier and changing the way everything works.
  • Humans will live much longer.
  • Human minds will receive computer uploads to make people smarter.
  • Smart technology will be incorporated into fabrics, so you can e-mail using your shoe or coat sleeve.
  • Video wristwatches will allow you to see and talk to anyone, anywhere.
  • Microchips implanted in your arm will serve as library cards, a driver's license and emergency medical records.
  • Robots will be able to recognize your thoughts and respond to your commands.
  • Most robots will be invisible, and they will outnumber humans.

Researchers and people who study the future – called “futurists” – have predicted that a technological “Singularity” is coming in the next 40 to 100 years. This is also known as “the Spike.” These experts say this Singularity might happen because our machines and tools are:

  1. Getting so smart they will soon become smarter than us;

  2. Learning how to build themselves, without human help;

  3. Operating on their own without any humans giving them commands.

If a Singularity happens, it could bring changes so fast it could be they are bringing us all on a fast rocket ride straight into space – ZOOM! Whether there is a ZOOM!-Singularity or not, developing technological advances are already having a huge impact on our lives. These include:

  • Computer programs can imitate different realities and give you the ability to feel as if you are in another place in another role – for instance, landing a jet, lying under a palm tree on a beach, battling bad guys on another planet in a distant galaxy, or playing basketball in the NBA.
  • This is the ability to make tools and helpful robots that are a billion times smaller than we can see. Scientists have already made many nano-sized tools that they can use. When this science is improved and becomes more common and affordable, it will change everything.
  • Scientists are learning more about the human brain every day, and they are working toward making smart robots we can use to help us. Some people say that nanobots – super-tiny robots may help us in invisible ways in the future. They say they will be everywhere, outnumbering humans many times over!
  • We continue to get smarter aboutenetics(the pattern in which every little part of humans and every other living thing on earth is made, right down to the smallest pieces that make us who we are);anotechnologyandobotics. Because of this, it is possible that we and/or our creations will invent superintelligence. This may be put into the machines that work for us or it may be that in the future we find ways to help make humans superintelligent without even having to study. This might mean that your grandchildren will NEVER have to go to school. They may be born with superintelligence or they may have this intelligence “uploaded” or “downloaded” into their brains by computers or delivered by nanobots.

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Some scientists, including Ray Kurzweil, a man honored for his inventions by the U.S. government, say that genetics, nanotechnology and robotics will bring really big changes very quickly.

Here is how Kurzweil described it in 2005 to a group of children he met with when talking about his book “The Singularity is Near”:

“Within a quarter century, nonbiological intelligence will match the range and subtlety of human intelligence.

It will then soar past it because of the continuing acceleration of information-based technologies, as well as the ability of machines to instantly share their knowledge.

“Intelligent nanorobots will be deeply integrated in our bodies, our brains, and our environment, overcoming pollution and poverty, providing vastly extended longevity, full-immersion virtual reality incorporating all of the senses ( in the film 'The Matrix' but hopefully nicer), 'experience beaming' ( in the film 'Being John Malkovich'), and vastly enhanced human intelligence. The result will be an intimate merger between the technology-creating species and the technological evolutionary process it spawned.”

The Spike will be marked by a point in which technical progress will be moving so fast that some human intelligence won't be able to keep up with it. Nonbiological intelligence will be improving itself rapidly. Kurzweil sets this date as 2045. It is hard to see into the future because our brains are limited in this regard right now, but Kurzweil says this is the date by which nonbiological (computer or robot-built) intelligence will be a billion times more powerful than human intelligence is today.

Many people argue that Kurzweil's “Spike” will not happen, but it is important that we have a discussion of these possible future developments. We must share insights and imagine how our future civilization will unfold in order to prepare ourselves for it.

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Many years down the road, humans might not even be recognizable as artificial intelligence merges with our natural states. Computers and machines will be just as smart as and even smarter than we are. Cancer and AIDS will be cured through developments of nanotechnology. Here are some interesting points to learn about the future.

RFID:Schools of the future will not be the schools you know today. Radio Frequency Identification technology will be used to take attendance, meaning no more skipping class or sneaking out without your teachers realizing it. In some cases, you won't have to leave home to be a part of school.

Teaching is already being taken over by computers and virtual classrooms as well as RFID tracking systems. An RFID tag is a small object that can be attached to or incorporated into a product, animal or person. This means if your dog is lost you can find it or you can find your favorite toy or your glasses when they are lost.

Nanotechnology: What if spills cleaned up after themselves, vacuums ran on their own and by thinking a thought your clothes would be clean? With nanotechnology, household chores will be made easier and mom and dad won't have to get on your case about cleaning up. But that's not all nanos can do.

Microscopic computerized robots called nanobots work together to perform tasks these. Nanomaterials will be able to aid in surgeries and much more. In fact, you may not have to leave your house for groceries, new furniture, clothes and other items you need because nanos will be able to build things from scratch for you, right in your home.

Scientists are building things “nanotubes” right now. A nanotube is 80,000 times smaller than the width of one human hair. Imagine having a microscopic computer sewn into your shirtsleeve or “painted” on the fabric of your shoes. Computers of the future will be “nano size.”

Brain-to-Computer Communication: Nanocomputers will probably be linked to your thoughts, voice and your emotions, and be able to react to your needs. The future will rely on wireless technology and everyone and everything will be linked.

This will hugely impact the way your life is run. Your brain will be able to receive downloads or uploads from computers to fill your head with knowledge or teach you new things.

When you want to learn a new skateboarding trick or dance move, a simple, direct delivery of information directly to your brain may allow your body to use the tips and apply them – no studying involved! Artificial intelligence (also known as AI) will greatly impact society and bring about massive changes in our expectations and in the way things are accomplished.

Virtual Reality: You already love virtual-reality games – they make imaginary worlds in which you can play.

But what if virtual reality allows you to have a cool new school? Virtual worlds are being created so computer-generated environments will allow you to socialize or learn school lessons with your teacher and your friends seemingly present without actually being there.

Technology will give you a 3D image and link to your brain in a way that makes you actually feel as if you are there. It will be a new way of communicating.

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Ross S. – Teleportation; Hologram TV; Tastebud scanners that tell you what you want to eat; Sea suits that go below 100,000,000 feet; Rocket boots.

Barrington L. – Soon to come: Time machines. Flying cars. Jet packs that really work and are easy to use.

Jacob T. – Robots doing all the chores; flying cars; everything is free because we can make it thin air with special machines.

Natalie K. – When grocery shopping, everything in the buggy will ring itself up. No more car accidents and less traffic because cars will fly.

Chandler L. – Floating computers that follow you around dogs. When you need them, they fly to you and you can use them. Robots that clean your house, make your bed and do your chores. A car that goes wherever you tell it to. An elevator in your house that goes anywhere in the world.

Jackie M. – Virtual worlds will let us do whatever we imagine. Robots will be doing everything for us while we are in the virtual worlds.

Jesse A. – You can do grocery shopping right in your house.

Rian B. – Floating TV; Voice-activated computers; Robot maids; motion-activated TV; All school is on the computer.

Lindsay S. – When you go to stores, you type on a keyboard what you want and it appears. Instead of driving regular cars we'll drive hover cars. Robots will do chores.

Maddie F. – Pens that write by themselves. Headphones that give you knowledge. Never-ending food that never gets old.

Haley K. – Scientists might invent a real human companion, and you can pick what it looks and it will live with you.

There will be a thing or game that tells you the truth whenever you ask it.

Also you can use a time machine to see what you will look years ahead ( when I get married) or to look back to see things – what my mom and dad and grandparents looked when they were young.

Amanda F.
– In the future there will be hoverboards, flying cars and pocket-size computers.

Sydney Y. – We will have robots that clean up after us. The X-box game will be so small it will fit in your watch. Time machines will be amazing.

Jordan W. – There will be enough technology so we can communicate with aliens. There will be a time machine to travel through time. There will be the power to die and come back alive.

Danielle M. – There will be a remote where you type in where you want to go then push the button and you will be there. Also we will have chewing gum that never loses its taste.

Patrick D. – There will be robots that clean your house, walk the dog, make your bed and stuff that. There will be computers so small you can't see them.

Kacie A. – People will have nanopets and nanobots to have fun with and do things for them. We won't have to go grocery shopping – you can just tell your nanites to form fruit or meat and they will do it. You can even tell your nanites to form money, but you really won't need money, your nanites can form the things you need or want.

Hannah P. – We will have mini-computers in our clothes – on the inside of your sleeves. You will also be able to type into your hairbrush how you want your hair to be styled. Nano's can get everything for you because you can tell them to make you something.

These are the visionary children from Elon Elementary School who shared their ideas of the future. Also, thanks to Kacie A. for her drawings of Spot the Nanodog, a character used throughout the KidZone sections of this site. Kacie drew all of the pictures of Spot and the Spot comic.
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Scientists predict how we will live in 2045 – and it is nothing you may imagine

Scientists predict how we will live in 2045 – and it is nothing like you may imagine

Did you love those Back to the Future movies as much as I did? You’re probably nodding your head, at least if you’ve been born in the 80ies.

For the younger ones among us, or basically for anyone not into sci-fi comedies, Back to the Future was released in 1989 and made a range of predictions about how the future would look in the then highly futuristic year 2015.

Luckily, we may now have more grounded information about our future than we did in 1989. Several top scientists have done research on how the world may look in 2045. Be prepared for a very different life than you are leading now!

So let’s get in that DeLorean time machine and look at the three most fascinating changes that may lay ahead of us.

Controlling your environment through your brain

It’s not just anyone making the following prediction. We’re talking about the Pentagon’s research agency, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA in short. Launched in 1958, it has led some of the biggest innovations in the military forces. Many of those have found their way into our daily lives, such as the internet, GPS systems and advanced robotics.

According to the DARPA scientists, in about 30 years’ time we’ll manage our environment simply by using our mind.

Imagine controlling your household equipment by using brain signals, or communicating with your friends without using words. Far-fetched you may think? Think again.

The DARPA team is already working on neurotechnologies to make this happen. During their first demonstration they were able to give a paralyzed man back his sense of touch with brain implants.

Other scientists go even further. Richard Watson, writer and founder of online Magazine “What’s Next” says that by 2045 your home, car or phone will be able to read your feelings and respond accordingly.

Already now machines can tell who someone is and what he or she is doing. The next step will be for them to read our emotions. This can happen through various ways: our voice, facial expression, body language or heart rate.

For example, your car may be able to sense that you’re upset about something and adapt itself to make your drive safer.

By 2045 the buildings we currently live in, even the ones we now consider as highly modern, will look hopelessly outdated. Scientists from the Imperial College London believe that 30 years from now our cities’ architecture will use living materials that can adapt to their environment.

Biology will meet technology: building materials will consist of fully new synthetic elements, made from living cells of bacteria and fungi. These will help to clean wastewater and eliminate pollutants for example. Or use sunlight to create energy and heat. They will adapt to the surrounding environment and the inhabitants’ needs.

How far is this from happening? As we speak, synthetic biology labs are examining ways to mix and edit natural elements and design synthetic life forms.

Others make less far-fetching predictions, and say that by 2045 our buildings will be able to power themselves. Solar panels will be manufactured directly into building materials, allowing our houses to be green and self-sufficient.

We may become immortal

OK, maybe not yet by 2045. But technology will make our lives considerably longer in the near future.

Over the last 200 years we already managed to double the average life expectancy in developed countries. According to inventor-futurist and engineering chief at Google Ray Kurzweil, we’ll see an enormous transformation of health and medicine in 10 to 20 years from now, increasing our lifespan – and life quality –  even more.

Other scientists actually do predict a kind of immortality in the future. According to leading Russian tech entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov our brain could be kept alive in a robotic surrogate or be uploaded to silicon.

The end of our biological life would not necessarily mean the end of our conscious life, as our brain would continue to be alive digitally.

And this would not be some gadget for the rich and famous – Itskov predicts a thriving “immortality industry” that would become mainstream.

Whatever may come true from these ambitious predictions, we’re living in exciting times. Technology is advancing rapidly, so big changes lie ahead of us. By 2045 the world as we know it may look as outdated as that Back to the Future movie…

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How will we communicate in the future?

Scientists predict how we will live in 2045 – and it is nothing like you may imagine

We’re not yet fully aware of this, but thousands of children grow up today talking to, ordering and asking questions from an automated domestic assistant installed in their bedrooms. “Alexa, play It’s Raining Tacos” is what Rachel Metz, editor of the MIT Technology Review, hears her 4-year-old niece say.

Her family have several Amazon Echo Dot devices installed around the house. In her article “ Growing up with Alexa”, Rachel Metz reflects on how these digital butlers will affect children’s education and behaviour. What is clear is that the way in which they communicate will be very different from how we do it.

But not all communication paradigms come with such revolutionary technologies as Artificial Intelligence. This year, the hashtag turns 10. It’s hard to think that there was a time when we didn’t use it.

Not even the company itself saw the potential, as it was users who popularised its use as a tag.

Which is precisely where the success of the hashtag lies: it is a way of classifying all the information that affects us, as it is impossible to analyse it all in depth.

We live in a world where technology evolves more rapidly than our capacity to adapt to it. We don’t know what technology has in store for us, but we can play at guessing how we will interact with people in the future.

This is the time of “sharing” the moment

We’ve all experienced it: we go into a restaurant and see couples glued to their mobile phone screens. Or perhaps we even do it ourselves. The way in which we communicate has evolved, going from a time when we “lived” the moment, to that in which we “share” it.

Today, very few of us will go to a concert without taking a video or a picture. Messaging apps and social networks allow us to share the moment while we’re actually living it.

Suddenly, the experience belongs not only to you and the friends with whom you’ve physically gone to the concert, but also to the contacts on your social networks.

And not only that, we can even broadcast our experience live using any streaming app available.

All of this shared information means that we create an enormous data base of experiences, such that we can learn almost in real time what’s going on on the other side of the world.


We will have more experiences than any of our predecessors, it’s just that we’ll have them through others. Experiences are complete when we share them with our communities, and this leads to us reducing our communication with the people around us.

Interpersonal communications will disappear

A few weeks ago, our colleague Ana Salgado, DataLAB Manager in Ferrovial, reflected on the death of interpersonal communications in this blog.

We’re more connected than ever, we speak with friends and family the world over, and we have an ever-increasing number of tools with which to bridge distances… But all this technology makes us shy away from personal conversations, which are essential for social relationships between human beings. However, there is still time to reduce the damage, as Ana explained in her article.

We’ll know a lot about you before even talking to you

Have you ever thought that when your son grows up he’ll be able to access a platform with information on everything you have done throughout your life? Simply by accessing your personal profile on or Instagram, for example, he’ll have a good idea as to your s, where you’ve travelled, what music you listened to, etc.


This is a generation that will have access to a whole lot more personal information on their contacts that we ever had. And so the way in which they interact will also be different. Perhaps there will be greater acceptance and respect for everyone, or perhaps people will choose their friends before even talking to them.

In any case, we are becoming increasingly aware of the need to protect our privacy, and no doubt we will tend towards greater awareness in this regard. However, whatever has been published to date, will stay published.

We’ll speak different languages, but we will understand each other

Will it be possible to be on an international call and simultaneously understand all the participants, even if they all speak their own native language? Or to translate a poster by simply taking a photograph?

Google has for years been working on a simultaneous translation project, a sort of Tower of Babel 2.0. The applications for this are enormous, both on a professional and a personal level.

We’re bringing down the language barriers, participating more in the cultures and traditions of other regions. But how will this affect those very traditions? Could it be that integration will make them global? These are issues to which it is difficult to find an answer today.

And it’s not a question of understanding other people only. Amazon is working on a project for translating… what your pet is trying to tell you!


And what of the widespread use of emojis, a kind of modern-day Esperanto? Today we use some of these symbols for transmitting emotions, sensations or feelings. As a Community Manager for Ferrovial, I use them often for gaining greater interaction in our publications and to reinforce our messages. But I still ask myself: am I using them in a grammatically correct manner? Does the full stop go before or after the emoji? No doubt the rapid rise in the use of emojis in the written language will require new rules to be drawn up.


Back to the Future Day: Six experts predict life in 2045

Scientists predict how we will live in 2045 – and it is nothing like you may imagine

Recently, techniques for direct brain stimulation, optogenetics, have made it possible to not only read but also write information into single neurons. At the moment data transfer rates are still very slow, the best we can do is a few bits per second, but this could well increase to kilobits or maybe reach broadband speeds by 2045.

This means the range of human perception could expand beyond its current design limitations.

One could foresee a new and extraordinary world where there is a virtual marketplace for trading high quality emotions – where artists looking for a particularly high strength brew of melancholy, or actors needing to channel regret or compassion for their next play, could purchase emotions online.

Our cities will be made from living, dynamic materials that respond to the environment.

In 30 years, tall buildings made of glass and twisted steel will be seen as relics from a bygone era, in the same way we think now of 1970s concrete tower blocks: ugly, out-dated and unfit for contemporary purpose.

The urban environment of 2045 blends architecture with living materials that are mouldable, adaptable, responsive and disposable.

Entirely new synthetic life forms, or biological machines, made of engineered living cells from bacteria, fungi and algae will grow and evolve with the changing needs of a building’s inhabitants. They breathe in pollutants, clean wastewater, and use sunlight to make useful chemicals, energy, heat and vibrant vertical gardens.

We will start to see a convergence between biology and technology, to the point where there is no longer a perceptible difference between the two. Today, synthetic biology labs are looking at the full diversity of what nature has to offer and using this to mix, match and edit genomes to design synthetic life forms.

Right now, this field is just getting started and the science of synthetic biology is going to be tougher than most will admit.

We will use invisibility cloaks to “disappear” ugly objects. Invisibility has forever been a tantalising prospect. The key to cloaking lies in the way the electromagnetic spectrum (including visible light) interacts with objects.

The human eye picks up electromagnetic radiation that falls and scatters from objects and we perceive this as light.

In recent decades, scientists figured out using mathematics that it might just be possible to imagine a new class of artificial materials made of intricate tiny features with light (and sound) bending properties. They named them metamaterials.

Using nanotechnology engineering, scientists have since shown cloaking actually works – in principle at least, for a narrow range of colours and only from certain viewing angles.

In my view the future applications of cloaking are highly uncertain and will ly be determined by the fads and social contagion of the time.

They may be used in everything from novelty gimmicks to making unsightly construction sites and power stations seemingly ‘disappear’.

Oren Etzioni, chief executive of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence

AI will find the answers to many of the humanity's biggest questions.

By 2045, we will not yet achieve human-level artificial intelligence, but we will have intelligent tools that augment our abilities to an unprecedented degree.

No human can read even a tiny fraction of the one-hundred million or so scientific papers available online. But what if a cure for cancer is hinted at within the millions of medical articles that are published each year?

In 30 years' time, AI will be able to read – and understand – scientific papers, both text and figures! These AI readers will be able to connect the dots between disparate studies to identify novel hypotheses and suggest experiments that would otherwise be missed.

AI will help us to find the answers to science's thorniest problems. At the Allen Institute for AI in Seattle we are working towards this future with the Semantic Scholar project.

Our broad mission is to contribute to humanity through high-impact AI research and engineering.

Tamar Kasriel, founder and MD of Futureal, future-focused strategy consultancy

You won't be able to tell the difference between VR hoverboards and real hoverboards. By 2045 quite a few of us might have a hoverboard, but it will be struggling to compete with the thrill of the virtual reality version. What we are ly to see is the breakdown of much of the current distinction between the real and the digital, and the artificial and the human.

Humans will upgrade themselves continuously. As human enhancement becomes increasingly widespread and sophisticated, prosthetic add-ons and improvements will move further into the realm of the possible and everyday. Bits of exoskeleton hanging by the front door for Marty to put on as he goes into the street to make him a little bit faster, better coordinated, stronger.

Those who can afford it will have better eyesight and hearing, and just the right cocktail of food/medication to be the very best that they can be for the day ahead, micro performance analysis of the day just gone.

Driverless cars will just be…cars. And for many driving will have become only a leisure pursuit, a kind of sport.

Buildings will power themselves. Being optimistic, Marty and Doc won't find themselves in a smoggy apocalypse in 2045.

Rather, a powerful mix of sense and/or fear will have continued the momentum behind increasing the efficiency and reducing the cost of alternative power sources.

Solar panels will be built into lots of different building materials, so the whole of Hill Valley can quietly and cleanly power itself.

Richard Watson, futurist, writer and founder of online magazine What’s Next

Your phone, car or home can read your feelings and adapt accordingly

Machines will be able to sense and then adapt themselves to the emotional state of an individual user. At the moment machines can work out where someone is, who someone is and perhaps what they are doing or “” but that’s about it. The next stage will be for machines to intuit human feelings.

This can be done by ‘harvesting’ facial expressions, body language, heart rate, voice and so on. If you are typing text into a computer the computer might consider the speed you are typing, decide you are stressed and conclude that this isn’t the best time to allow you to read negative emails.

If you are driving a car, the car might consider how you are driving and infer certain conclusions. If the car decides you are angry and in danger of driving unsafely it might adapt itself to make things safer. On the other hand a shop might use this technology to work out when customers are more ly to buy things, including things they probably don’t really want.

Robotic insect swarms will help farmers and the military

By 2045 we should see insect-sized robotic insects capable of flying in co-ordinated swarms. They might be used for crop pollination purposes or as battlefield or crowd control cameras.

These flying robots could be fitted with air sniffing or sampling technology to test air quality, search for pollution or give early warning about biological or gas attacks. They could also be programmed to interact with real insects.

Gives the term police SWAT team a whole new meaning!

3D printed pizza

An invention that featured in Back to the Future II was the Black & Decker Hydrator . This was a kitchen device that could turn raisins back into grapes and stale pizza into a freshly delivered snack.

By 2045 many kitchens will feature a 3D Printer that can turn out a fairly respectable printed pizza, biscuits, pretzels and so on. NASA is already experimenting with 3D printed food for missions to Mars and beyond.

Unly to put any top-end London restaurants business, but a fun kitchen gadget to sit alongside the Soda stream and waffle maker, although if you have a 3D printer you wouldn’t need a waffle maker.

Peter Cochrane OBE, advisor and former BT chief technology officer

Almost everything about you will be monitored, analysed, and responded to by sensors and connected everyday objects.

In 2045, upon waking, you’ll walk into the bathroom, whose mirror will check your pulse and blood oxidation.

An ultrasonic teeth cleaner samples and analyses your saliva, while bathroom scales, built into the floor, check your weight and skin salinity.

Your toilet analyses all body matter issued, and all data is checked against your wearables to consider the recorded activities of the previous day, including food and drink intake.

By the time you are dressed and enter the kitchen your general health and bodily needs have been assessed and a suitable smoothie and coffee will have been prepared, along with a suggested breakfast menu of food, which is optimised to match the day’s activities, pulled from your diary and messaging systems. Everything will be tailored to your own needs, and by the time you leave the house, you will be completely refreshed and energised for the day ahead.

Mark Drapeau, head of content, World Future Society and editor, The Futurist

Poverty and hunger have been all but eliminated – by Uber

Uber, the world’s premier logistics, transportation, and energy company, has entirely eliminated urban “food islands” in developed areas of the world, and the Uber Foundation has leveraged the company’s technology along with outside partnerships to make significant contributions to reducing global hunger and poverty.

Through massive R&D efforts in renewable energy, autonomous vehicles, and technology-governed transportation networks, food, water, and other critical goods are available at extremely low cost to virtually anyone in the world who needs them. Such innovation can be traced back to the Gates Treaty of 2025, which was driven by philanthropist Bill Gates and President of the United States Pharrell Williams.

It for the first time brought together the most economically productive 25 nations to agree to a mutual reduction in military and other spending and an increase in R&D spending and corporate incentives to pursue environmental and climate change reseach.