What Will Earth Look Like In 50 Years?

Pillars of flame, floods all across the land, zombies roaming the Earth — these are some of the scenarios that we've all considered when we think about the fate of our planet. But what do scientists think? How about optimists? And while we're on the subject, is there any such thing as an optimist anymore?

According to The Guardian, some things about the future are pretty clear. For a start, the population of the world will exceed 9 billion, and the natural result of that is people living in closer quarters, sneezing all over each other and spreading disease more quickly throughout the global population. Meanwhile, a 2006 report from Johns Hopkins University says there are also likely to be food shortages, so maybe it's not a terrible idea to store a couple of buckets of beans and rice in your garage, you know, just in case.

The Earth's hot new look

It's going to get warmer, too. The Dead Sea will be the Dead-and-Gone Sea (it will likely dry up), rising seas will force us to abandon coastal cities like New Orleans and Miami, most of the vineyards in the United States will no longer be able to grow grapes (shudder), and all the glaciers in Glacier National Park will be completely gone.

What about the flying cars and the cool tech, though? There will be some of that, assuming there's still a human race at that point. Robots will walk around in the streets, performing menial or dangerous tasks that humans really shouldn't be doing, people will have nanotechnology inserted into their bodies and even their brains (so instead of being married to your phone you can actually just be your phone), buildings will be covered with plants as a sort of standard practice in order to help combat rising CO2, and we'll have space colonies on the moon and on Mars. No zombies, though. Probably.