Expert predicts virtual future for Queenslanders
August 29, 2008
QUEENSLANDERS in 2083 will be moving in virtual worlds, living up to 100
years of age and may have done away with the state government.
That is the opinion of leading Queensland futurist Sohail Inayatullah, who
says the state's future hinges on our decisions over the next few years.
"Where we are headed can be broken down to the challenges facing the world
and Queensland, and the trends that have already begun," he said.
While he maintains the future is always uncertain, Mr Inayatullah agreed
with most scientists that Queensland's future would be shaped by climate
"Will the Gold Coast be Australia's Venice? This is a possibility," he said.
"We know the water level is going to rise so people with inland houses may
own beachfront property by then."
In a scenario Mr Inayatullah terms a "green, healthy Queensland", the
state's resources boom eventually will transform into an energy boom.
"There will be a transition from coal to solar and wind energy which some
experts believe will be the cheapest, assuming a global carbon emission
regime is in place," he said.
On the political stage, our state government could disappear if Australia
eventually joins an Asia/Australian Pacific union.
"There will be very little need for one as our ties become stronger with
China and India, which have already began to become Asian powers," Mr
"There will be a strong local community and if trends continue we might see
the phasing out of local representatives altogether."
"E-government" is a distinct possibility with every citizen able to take
part in day-to-day law making.
"There is every indication that a new form of direct democracy comes in
where everyone would all get an SMS asking them to vote yes or no for a law.
Everyone votes and the law is made."
What about the day-to-day lives of every Queenslander?
Mr Inayatullah said the ideal scenario would see a redesign of cities and
other environments into ones that were "healthier, greener, and more
"The trend is heading away from the nuclear family so we'll see a lot more
single, denser-living arrangements with greener rooftops and lots of
robotics," he said.
"But by then we won't mind because we'll be able to step into virtual
Mr Inayatullah said Artificial Intelligence would penetrate every aspect of
our lives by 2083.
By that year, we will not be able to tell the difference between the
physical world and the world in cyber space.
"This is 75 years we're talking about," he said. "We'll be able to transport
from our dingy unit to a sunlit beach in the blink of an eye.
"We will physically live inside those virtual worlds."
But these are just the positive scenarios.
Mr Inayatullah also warned the state could crumble into oblivion if we
failed to adapt to the world around us.
"If we begin to build highrises and highways wherever we want, then Brisbane
will just become another Los Angeles," he said.
"Crime will go up, social equality will go down and all the things that make
Queensland special will disappear.
"At the moment we are seeing trends that mean we will most likely live to be
100 years of age. So let's continue it."
And the question on everyone's lips: Will The Courier-Mail celebrate
its 150th birthday?
"In one form or another."