Putting the life back in science fiction

Predictions for 2020 and beyond
December 30, 2019, 7:23 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s almost the end of the year, so here are some predictions for 2020 and the 2020s.

Let’s get the easy ones out of the way:

  • Climate change will continue to accelerate.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions will continue to increase, and the rate of increase will be positive, possibly more positive than in 2019.
  • We’ll see extreme weather events, including extreme snowfall, extreme winds, massive cyclones, record-breaking drought, and extreme wildfire. Somewhere.  I don’t know which will occur when or where, though.
  • Business will continue to look for ways to profit off climate change, instead of stopping it.
  • People will continue protesting about climate issues, but since the movement leaders seem to be still reinventing the wheel and using ideas, tactics, and strategies that The Establishment has good counters to, they won’t get as much done as needs to be done.  And that will really and truly suck.

I’ll stick my neck out make some political predictions:

  • A billionaire will win the 2020 US election.
  • Trump will ultimately be indicted on counts they didn’t bother to impeach him over (either in 2021 or 2025).
  • Mitch McConnell will win his re-election.
  • Billionaires will continue to gain control.  Also, billionaires will continue to demonstrate that wealth is a good substitute for intelligence and character.
  • I will continue to be a contrarian pessimist who delights in giving reality opportunities to demonstrate how wrong my political prognostications are….

On the science and technology front:

  • Facebook and Social Media in general will increasingly become “so last decade,” especially as political, social, and hacking issues mount.
  • The truism that anything connected to the internet can be hacked will be demonstrated in a new way (this is going to be annoying to check in December 2020).
  • AI’s potential and shortcomings will become more evident.
  • Skeet- and trap-shooting will become more popular among non-hunters.  In possibly unrelated news, people will publish thought pieces about how to deal with the problems drone pose (checking this will be tricky too.  Oh well.).
  • There will be new battery technologies tested in labs and covered breathlessly by the tech press.  I’ll stick my neck out and say that one new battery technology actually demonstrates it can scale up to commercial use.
  • Disputes over lithium and sand will continue.  Phosphorus shortages will get coverage as a growing problem.
  • The fishing industry will get some horrific expose, either about working conditions, effects on sea life, and/or looming extinction of favorite food fishes.
  • Some tiny advance in nuclear fusion will be trumpeted as heralding the dawn of nuclear fusion as a power source.
  • A company focused on finding new antibiotics and bringing them to market will go out of business.

And a few more random predictions:

  • Some people (other than me) will call the decade we’re leaving “The Terrible Teens.”  Perhaps the decade we’re entering will be called “The Howling Twenties”?
  • Habitat gardening will increasingly become a thing (I’m cheating, because the group I’m active with is holding a workshop on this in a few weeks).
  • There will be a recession in the housing industry.
  • I will be able to post more on this blog.
  • I’ll be posting about the results of my predictions came to reality next December.

Anyway, congratulations on successfully escaping 2019. I hope your 2020 is no worse, possibly even better, than 2019 was for you.

What are your predictions?


10 Comments so far
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Internet of Shitty Things will continue to be sold in a condition where hacking is unnecessary as anyone can access them using the default credentials. In many cases those will not be able to be changed.

We will discover that a car from a major manufacturer is one of those IoSTs.

Someone will assemble a large solid state battery then discover that by shorting it out you get all the stored energy released in less than a second. This will somehow be regarded as news rather than an entry in the Darwin Awards.

One of the far right ethno-states will explicitly start calling their prison labour schemes slavery. Probably not the US, more likely Brazil or the Philippines.

Someone will sink an oil tanker in the Straits of Hormuz. Hopefully an empty one.

Someone will bring down a commercial airliner using a drone. Possibly the US military.

Comment by Moz in Oz

Oh, and WordPress will continue to randomly reject my comments without explanation, and neither the blog owners nor anyone at WordPress will be able to explain how or why.

Comment by Moz in Oz

Your blogging platform is still just shy of being awful enough to replace. My comment vanish for no reason. Bu t I persist, unlike others.

Comment by Moz of Yarramulla

Oh boy, my predictions from last year are similar to my predictions for this year and almost uniformly did not happen. Ooops.

Comment by Moz in Oz

The political situation in what is presently the UK will continue to resemble something out of Monty Python, except without the jokes & laughs – more like the end of “The Life of Brian” in fact.
It is JUST possible that reality might start to break through before the first anniversary of this message appears – but don’t hold your breath.

Comment by Greg Tingey

The United States saw the fastest nuclear generation growth in the 1980s (see Table 3): https://cnpp.iaea.org/countryprofiles/UnitedStatesofAmerica/UnitedStatesofAmerica.htm

From 1980 to 1990 nuclear generation grew from 251.1 TWh to 576.9 TWh, an annualized growth rate of 32.6 TWh. I predict that solar output growth will surpass that rate in the 2020s.

The best year so far, per EIA data, was 2017, when solar grew by 22.6 TWh: https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.php?t=epmt_1_01_a

One reason that installations peaked in 2017 is that imported solar cells and modules were hit with new tariffs starting in January 2018:


By 2022, these tariffs should have expired, making solar projects cheaper. Also by 2022, the investment tax credit for large scale solar facilities, currently at 30%, will have permanently declined to 10%, making solar projects more expensive. The net-net result is that there should be little federal support and no federal obstacles for solar in 2022 and later, meaning that solar will be competing on its now-very-impressive technical/economic merits. My predictions could be derailed by further policy obstacles like new tariffs or federal incentives to prop up fossil generating stations.

Comment by Matt

Thanks Matt! I apologize for having to approve you each time. Don’t know what’s going on with WP. But your comments are appreciated, and I hope you’re right on this.

Comment by Heteromeles

I have some obvious ones, they might be too obvious to count as predictions really:

-Media people will continue to pay more attention to sportsball games than they do to environmental issues, outside of a subset of people and places that are notably and dramatically affected or threatened by them. Global warming and the increasing threats from wildfires, tornadoes and hurricanes is important, but that sports team rivalry of the NY Yankees versus the LA Kings is what embarrassingly many people with the social, economic and political power to affect the issues positively will care about more instead.

-Despite abundant positive examples otherwise in other parts of the world (and even in a few, limited places in the country), the tyranny of the car will continue to prevent the mass adoption of bicycles and public transit in AmeriCanada. The tyranny of car-focused architecture and urban sprawl will continue to devour significant amounts of land despite the obvious resource and space inefficiency of conventional automobiles, and government at all levels except local will broadly abdicate all responsibility for helping society do better.

-Advocates of nuclear power will continue talking it up as a viable generating technology opposed by “impractical” and “unsustainable” renewable energy generation, despite the well-established safety record of shaved apes failing to treat the power of the atom sanely. This will be compounded by the minority of places and situations where renewable energy generation genuinely isn’t practical locally and sufficient, reliable, foreign capacity isn’t economically or politically available.

-Australia’s government will persist in its astounding effort in pursuit of 19th century high technology by subsidizing and otherwise supporting coal extraction.

Give me a while to think about it if you want some that are even more obvious and important than this, these are just off the top of my head.

Comment by anonymous coward

Looks like I should have made the prediction about replacing skeet shooting with drones a bit earlier. I was just randomly pontificating, but it turns out drone dropping is already a thing, although it’s not yet so popular that you can find it under that name on Google.

Comment by Heteromeles

Don’t forget drone hunting with eagles, although I think this was/is a short-lived phenomenon.

Comment by Alex Tolley

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