What might life be like in 2035?

Fast-forward to the year 2035: what could be dominating the news and sport headlines? In this four-part fictionalised series, Afternoon Edition shares scenarios that may be affecting our lives in 20 years' time.

The following fictionalised stories are based on expert suggestions which will be examined in our live programmes: every Thursday in November from 3pm.

2035 imagined: How could our world change?

In the final episode we look at how world affairs could change in 20 years’ time

In previous years, Siberia’s climate was an icy one. Today, there’s probably no more hotly contested region on earth.

We need to take measures to make sure the situation does not advance down a more serious path"
Tatiana Arlovski, Russian Foreign Secretary

It’s all because the territory’s natural resources , once frozen deep below ice, are now accessible, thanks to global warming and improved mineral extraction methods.

It has led to a fierce competition between Russia, who historically owned Siberia, and neighbouring China, who are keen to exploit the region’s resources on behalf of their rapidly growing population.

Russian Foreign Secretary Tatiana Arlovski has invited Chinese diplomats to Moscow, hoping to avert the potential “crisis”.

How we manage the world’s resources and how we sustain the planets growing population: it’s a difficult balance"
US President Dominguez

But could the issue lead to an armed conflict, and should other countries try to intervene?

US President Dominguez believes the two nations “will come to a satisfactory agreement”, but the situation highlights the pressure world overpopulation is putting on resources.

"It’s a difficult balance but one we have to find a solution to and I believe dialogue between nations and the sharing of technology is the way forward,” she says.

Whatever happens, for now, relations between China and Russia remain frosty.

So could any of these scenarios come true? We find out, in the final episode of 2035, broadcast 3pm GMT on Thursday 26 November.

Scroll down the page to read some of other scenarios we discussed throughout the series.

2035 imagined: How could our lifestyles change?

In the third episode, we looked at how our lifestyles could change in 20 years’ time.

Artificial intelligence: Humanity’s evolution - or extinction?

In a world first, leaders from across the globe have been meeting in Bogotá, Colombia, to discuss the future of artificial intelligence (AI).

If we carry on down the path we’re headed, it could mean the absolute end of humanity”
Professor Paulo Topping, anti-AI campaigner

Addressing the conference launch, Roborama’s Professor Jonathan San Marcos announced: “By 2037, we’ll have a situation where AI isn’t just as able as humans, but twice as able. And with every single passing year, that ability will increase exponentially while humanity remains static.”

Campaigner Professor Paulo Topping believes without immediate intervention, the rise in AI capability could mean “the absolute end of humanity”.

Philosopher Kylie Lempriere believes that just like the embracing of steam trains in the Victorian era, AI is technology to be “welcomed” and not “feared”.

Hatred, persecution, eradication, annihilation – these are all uniquely human traits. What’s to say that AI won’t be benevolent?"
Kylie Lempriere, philosopher

Asked if AI could ever pose a danger to humans, she replies: “Hatred, persecution, eradication, annihilation – these are all uniquely human traits. What’s to say that AI won’t be benevolent, won’t be helpful… what if they’re the saviours of mankind?”

So will AI be humanity’s evolution - or extinction? Over the next few weeks in Bogota, the greatest scientific minds on our planet will attempt to decide. Either way, it seems the robots are here to stay.

Fancy some grub? Why insects are on the menu

Unlike the farms of the early millennium, you won’t find livestock on Jacques Osman’s farm. At Sky Prawn Foods, he’s rearing all things creepy crawly.

It’s testament to the British people really. We’ve never been afraid of embracing new foods"
Jacques Osman, Sky Prawn Foods

Speaking from his vast insect sheds, Jacques shows us around. “These fellows are lovely, plump organic crickets, which we’re fattening them up for the Christmas rush,” he says.

With one in three ready meals sold in Britain today originating from this factory in Essex, Osman has really exploited the country’s love of grubs. It’s a far cry from previous times, when meat and two veg were the nation’s favourite.

“It’s testament to the British people really. We’ve never been afraid of embracing new foods, from curries in the 1970s, to sushi in the 2000s, and now – I mean, if you’d have told me twenty years ago that one of most popular restaurant chains would serve ten different kinds of insect based foods, well, I’d have been amazed. But here we are!”

It’s not just changing tastes behind the nation’s switch from meat to insects. The inefficiency of raising cattle caused huge problems for farmers in previous decades: with livestock consuming ever-scarce grains, releasing huge levels of methane and taking up much-needed land.

Insects are easy to farm, they create very low levels of greenhouse gases, they’re low in fat, high in zinc and iron, and an incredible source of protein
Jacques Osman, Sky Prawn Foods

“Insects have none of those problems,” Osman explains. “They’re easy to farm, they create very low levels of greenhouse gases, they’re low in fat, high in zinc and iron, and an incredible source of protein. People in other countries have been eating them for years."

It’s an exciting time for the insect food market. Given that Osman is soon to be including some new delicacies to his ready meals: bamboo worm, giant water-beetles, sago worms and Silkworm Pupae Eggs, it looks like these great new foods will be bugging us for a good while yet.

2035 imagined: The future of sport?

In last week's episode, we looked at the potential sports stories in 20 years' time.

'Global Cup' to rival 2038 World Cup?

After years of speculation about the future of the FIFA, FA chairman Don Abbot has officially announced the departure of 12 of the world’s premier footballing nations from the organisation and the 2038 World Cup.

It is my great privilege to announce a new era in international football"
Don Abbot, FA Chairman

Standing on the podium at the 120,000 seat New Old Trafford stadium in Gorton, Manchester, Abbot heralded a “new era in international football”, with the creation of the rival 2036 Global Cup.

But with only England, Germany, Italy, France, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Columbia, Uruguay, Argentina and the USA present, will the “global” element of the tournament be lost?

Football Finance correspondent, Ricardo Fitzgerraldo says the decision is “terrible news” for FIFA, and “a disaster for smaller countries like Guinea and Cape Verde, who have just seen their big money matches walk out of the door”.

We now have a World Cup that doesn’t have all the world competing"
Ricardo Fitzgerraldo, Football Finance correspondent

“FIFA are going to struggle without these key teams and the millions of people who want to watch them," he said.

"I’m not sure it’s good for most football fans either. We now have a World Cup that doesn’t have all the world competing, and a Global Cup that doesn’t have much of the globe taking part”.

Commentators are blaming FIFA’s decision to stream the World Cup exclusively on their own pay-per-view online channels as the catalyst for the split.

In a statement, FIFA insisted the 2038 World Cup would continue as planned, without the 12 nations.

Performance enhancing modifications: Record breaking or law breaking?

It was a magic moment when US athlete Jeb Hazeley became the first man to run 100 metres in under 9 seconds.

But barely 24 hours after his record-breaking sprint, Hazeley admitted he had undergone non-essential surgery to make his heart, lungs and muscles stronger and more efficient.

Hazeley and his lawyers argue that he did nothing wrong and that his surgery was no less controversial than laser eye surgery or knee replacements.

Nevertheless, it ignited a debate over ethics of Performance Enhancing Modifications (PEM) to improve the body's sporting activity.

Mike Jones, the British runner who competed in the 100m at the World Athletics Championship against Hazeley, fears PEMs blur the boundary between “natural ability and science”.

I am racing people who are more than human... that’s an unfair playing field"
Mike Jones, British 100m sprinter

“Where does it stop?” he argues. “New stronger muscles implanted via stem cell treatments? Shaving off bone and artificially re-sculpting athlete’s bodies to be more aerodynamic?”

Jones accepts legal steroids as “part and parcel of sport” to increase natural potential, but believes there is no “sportsmanship” with PEMs that create “abilities that weren’t there before”.

“I am racing people who are more than human. They’re engineered and designed to be better than human and that’s an unfair playing field,” he claims.

Former Paralympian, silver medallist hurdler Jill Austero, believes PEMs have “levelled” the playing field. She claims after the legalisation of steroids, the genie cannot be put “back into the bottle”.

If we don’t allow PEMs to all athletes, then we’re going to see a two-tier system"
Jill Austero, former Paralympian

“We all remember the days of the drug testers always being one step behind the cheats, now everyone is on the same level,” she argues. “It was radical but right”.

Austero makes the point that PEMs, “be it blades or whatever,” have always been a part of the Paralympics and those modifications “are only going to improve”.

“If we don’t allow PEMs to all athletes, then we’re going to see a two-tier system of those who are entitled to use them literally outracing those who can’t,” Austero says.

One thing is for sure, the race to decide the future of PEMs will be a marathon, not a sprint.

2035 imagined: Will we be healthier?

In the first episode, we looked at the potential state of the UK's health in 20 years time.

Victoria's story

Doctors say the first human to live to 500 years has already been born, and is alive today, in 2035. That human being could be Victoria Ross.

I’m more unreal than real. Certainly, much of me is not the same as when I was born"
Victoria Ross, Jetpack crash victim

When Victoria, 25, strapped herself in Icarus Industries’ best-selling jet-pack the Crusader, little did she know that minutes later she would plunge 100 feet to the ground, after colliding with another jet-packer.

Most of her body shattered on impact. Luckily, a quick-thinking friend alerted the emergency services, who were able to operate soon after from their remotely controlled ambulance. It kept her alive long enough to get to hospital, but according to surgeon Dr Arif Radia, who operated on Victoria, a “complete overhaul” was needed.

“Victoria has had much of her skeleton replaced with artificial bones,” Radia said. “She had new muscles grown from her cells to replace the damaged ones, we’ve replaced heart and liver tissue, the eyes have been replaced, her lower jaw, oesophagus, we’ve covered her up with a new skin”.

Her lifespan will undoubtedly be significantly longer than it would otherwise have been"
Dr Arif Radia, Surgeon who operated on Victoria

Victoria admits that she is now “more unreal than real”. And given that her body parts can be continuously replaced once they wear out, arguably she could live indefinitely.

"Her lifespan will undoubtedly be significantly longer than it would otherwise have been," Dr Radia said.

The end of the UK’s fizzy drinks industry?

“I’d toast the end of the industry, but chances are some busybody would knock the drink out of my hand and tell me they were doing it for the benefit of my health,” says Tom Donaldson, owner of Parlour Soft Drinks. Parlour is the largest producer of fizzy drinks in the UK, but today it closes its doors for the last time.

We’ve always said our products are an occasional treat"
Tom Donaldson, owner of Parlour Soft Drinks

Tom believes it is the direct result of the tax introduced on sugary drinks by the government four years ago.

"With the constant prices rises, which go straight to the government, we’re selling fewer products than ever before at a price most people don’t want to pay," he says.

However, with half the country obese, and type 2 diabetes affecting half the population, the government was forced to do something, as Home Secretary Davina Kowalski remembers:

If people won’t start making changes to their sedentary lifestyles, it’s essential the government steps in"
Davina Kowalski, Home Secretary

“If people won’t start making changes to their sedentary lifestyles, it’s essential the government steps in and does what it can to help these changes be made,” she said.

Since the government introduced the 20% tax on sugary drinks, obesity has dropped by 1.3%.

"That might not sound a lot," Kowalski says, "But in real terms, its 180,000 people who are no longer obese and who are no longer at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.”

For Tom though, it’s still a sad day. Although he admits “excess sugar consumption is an issue,” he claims people should not be denied the “occasional treat”. He says his efforts will now be concerned with “the developing world, where the laws are less rigorously enforced”.

Find out more

So could any of these scenarios come true? We ask the experts in Episode Four: World Affairs, broadcast 3pm on November 26th.

You can also catch up with Episode Three: Lifestyle, Episode Two: Sport and Episode One: Health.

Please note: All these scenarios are works of fiction, based on expert predictions.