Welcome to Sketchfifty. This site sketches out radical new ideas of what life will be like in 2050. It looks forward to a great green future. It isn’t intended as a prediction. No-one can predict the future. It is however intended to look for, test out and perhaps start action on some possible ways ahead.
Each sketch will be supported by a description of how it will work. A concluding section will look at the route to implementation and ask why it cannot become reality before 2050. In some cases reference pages will provide a little more detail and explain any outstanding concerns and questions.
The world’s issues include climate change, over-use of fossil fuels, acidification of the sea, pollution, growing population, poverty, poor health, loss of natural habitat, extinction of species, resource limits, and a limited supply of water and food. This list is so long that people tend to bury their heads in the sand – it is too depressing. In contrast this site will paint a picture of an exciting world in 2050, where things are back under control. That doesn’t mean being complacent about the issues, it means being positive and taking steps to implement radical change.
Technology cannot answer all the world’s problems. Other essential steps include political stability, absence of corruption, universal education, and a fair and inclusive society. However technology, properly applied, will play an essential part in finding a way ahead. Many of the pages in this blog will simply recognise that recent breakthroughs can have wide application and bring substantial benefits.
Right now I imagine that it will take a week or two to develop each idea, so there will not be a deluge of output. As each post is published I hope that readers will provide comments so that the idea can be improved.
If you want to get an email when I update the site please press the follow button.
Most great ideas seem rather crazy on first sight, so I suggest that you read with an open mind. However for every great idea there are 10 that go nowhere, and it is very difficult at the outset to tell the difference. So be warned! There are no guarantees that what is posted here is good.
Are the ideas in Sketchfifty patentable? I doubt it, but even if they were, they are now in the public domain and cannot be patented. In any case patents taken out now will only last 25 years and will therefore expire before 2050. Given the poor chance of any return it appeared to be not worth the cost and effort of patenting. It seemed better to debate them openly so that they might at least influence thinking. They might also form the basis of university engineering projects.
While the aim of Sketchfifty is to get ideas into the public domain, be warned that someone, somewhere, may have patented them already.
If you contribute, please ensure that you maintain any contractual obligations you may have. In particular please check that you are not violating the rights of current or past employers. Remember that you will lose the right to patent anything placed on this site, since it will be in the public domain. Please keep the language acceptable – this site is partly aimed at young people, since 2050 will be important to them. |And don’t insult anyone or any organisation, because it adds little – the aim of this site is to promote positive new ideas.
Hopefully other authors will contribute posts in due course. Please get in touch if you want to be involved.
If you want to re-use either the sketches or the ideas you are free to do so but please acknowledge the contribution of the author and Sketchfifty.
About the Author
I’m a engineer, and I live in the English Midlands. I went to a state school, I took an engineering degree at Cambridge, and I worked for many years in a major international engineering company. I had a wide range of middle management roles in Research and Development, project management, engineering process improvement, testing, safety, and the development of advanced concepts for the future. I mainly worked on marine systems.
I have had a strong interest in environmental issues for many years. I feel that it is important to look into the future and seek a rational way ahead. Looking at the short term tends to focus attention on current issues and arguments, which are often too passionate to allow rational debate. It is possible to be rather more objective when looking at the year 2050. It is also quite stimulating to try to imagine what life will be like then.
I believe that more adventurous projects need to be pursued. The issues we face are too challenging to be addressed by gradual improvements to existing technologies. We need more radical approaches of the type presented in Sketchfifty. That will probably need government action, not to actually do the work, but to create a climate where businesses and universities are motivated to pursue developments that are high risk and may not provide a financial return for many years.
If you want to develop any of the ideas that I have presented here please get in touch using the form below. In most cases I have further thoughts on how they could be implemented that go beyond those presented in this blog.
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