Look forward to a decade where the quantum computer becomes practical, we travel around the Moon, and inch closer to understanding of quantum gravity. Predicting the future in any detail is impossible but we can look at what people are working on now and make some reasonable inferences on what is likely to happen with those projects. In the case of certain astronomical events, such as the total solar eclipse of April 2024, we can predict them with certainty. Last year I did ok with my own predictions so now I hazard some informed guesses for the 2020’s.
My predictions in physics and astronomy.
These are all based on my personal knowledge and insight into astronomy and astrophysics. Take them worth a grain of salt. That said, these are all based on projects which are ongoing as of this date.
· Experimental backing for Super Symmetric String Theory and / or M-Theory will not be found in the 2020’s. Rather as before parameters will change, formulations will change, and in some form a newer version of this theory will be proposed. Physics is a human pursuit and too many people with too much influence are invested in it. SUSY string theory will be with us for decades.
· Observations of gravitational waves, and how they are generated, and how they are detected will give us new clues on how to best combine General Relativity with Quantum Theory.
· Multi wavelength and multi messenger astronomy will revolutionize how we study astrophysical phenomena.
· The Thirty Meter Telescope, or one of its size, or greater, will begin construction on Maunakea. One possible scenario is that the TMT is defeated, once the consequences of that become clear, opposition to a future TMT size telescope will be greatly diminished.
· New composite particles will be detected but no new fundamental particles. Direct dark matter detection will remain elusive.
· Quantum gravity theories other than String/M theory will gain a bit more traction as new graduate students in theoretical physics are given a more diversified education.
· Ideas of mine that are similar to those of better known names will gain a little traction, as theoretical physics will once again welcome diversity of thought (where the science isn’t settled by data).
· Far more significantly the Laster Interferometer Space Antenna project will make great strides towards being deployed on time in the Early to mid 2030’s.
My predictions in Space Travel
US space travel is very dependent on politics and who is in the white house. It is an unfortunate tradition for whoever is new in the white house to cancel the space programs set up by their predecessors. Only the space shuttle and the commercial crew program have managed to evade this fate. IF the current president wins the next election then we can safely say that following will occur.
· Commercial crew will lead to both Boeing and SpaceX giving the US independent access to space.
· NASA or SpaceX will return humans to the moon by the end of the decade. The question is will the NASA ULA Space Launch System or SpaceX Starship be the heavy lifter to get us there. SpaceX and NASA have both announced efforts. Barring massive change in the business fortunes of Elon Musk it is a safe bet that SpaceX is in the running for at least orbiting humans around the moon first.
· The US and Russia have committed to operate the ISS until 2028 or 2030. It is very likely this will be the case.
My predictions in technology.
These are based on the announced plans of existing hardware manufacturers. Hardware is easy to predict. Software and applications are, on the other hand as open to creativity as writing a book. Like writing books though, the basic implements, ink/pencil and paper remain the same. That is how it will be with computer technology for at least a decade.
· Intel, AMD, Nvidia and others will press on to 1nm to 1.4 nm processors however this will not fundamentally change how you use your personal computer. The computer you have right now will be able to run the software that is new in 2029. It will feel very very slow. Just as right now a computer from 2009 will run any software that is new in 2019. The only reasons this would not be the case would be because the old hardware is not supported, and the new software is artificially prevented from working. In the past, say between 1979 and 1789 or 1999 and 2009 a ten-year-old computer was junk.
· Classical home computers will become like appliances one buys and installs with a reasonable expectation that they will last for a decade or more. As this Linus Tech Tips video shows right now it is possible to install one powerful computer and using home networking provide all the fixed computing power for a household where the parents and children use their computers quite a bit.
· Desktop Quantum Computing will become a reality for at least small businesses, and enthusiast. It will not however replace classical computing. The use case I envision is to enhance simulations and computer models used for business, design, engineering, virtual reality, and gaming. This will take the form of an add in card that will require serious cooling, or more likely, an external unit that may start out as large as a small refrigerator
In short if you have a computer right now use it until it litterally breaks and will not do the things you need it to do anymore. Then when it becomes time to buy a new one, buy the most advanced one you can.
In the late 1900’s we thought that by 2016 video calls would be common, the Chicago Cubs would’ve won the world series, a guy like Biff Tannen would be rich and politically powerful thanks to an empire based on entertainment and betting, and we would all have flying cars and hoverboards. Not to mention AI that always watched us and we could play games against would be old hat by the 2010’s. Then by 2032 we would have self-driving cars, video calling on tablets, no contact for either a high 5 or for reproduction, and Taco Bell would be the only restaurant left.
We shall call this decade “the 20’s” by no latter than 2022. We will say back in 20 or back in 21. As of today you can stop referring to this year as 2020… it’s just 20 again.
Yes friends, if you are over 20 you lived in the old timey 1900’s, and the turn of the century. If you are just now turning 20 you just lived at the “turn of the century. This phrase which we all came to use to mean a long time ago is now the only reasonable way to refer to the time we just lived in. My final prediction for the 20’s is that a cohort of teenagers born in 2005 or latter will define everyone born earlier as an old codger. This is already starting since according to the internet 30 year old, Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg is a valid target for an “Ok Boomer” retort. Never mind that the youngest person that can credibly be called a boomer was born in 1965 and will be 55 this year. Boomer may become a byword for anyone born in the 1900’s including solid Millennials such as Pew Die Pie.