How technology will change in the XXIII century: Anno 2205

The new part of the legendary series of economic strategies Anno (the first game was released back in 1998!) Is significantly different from the previous ones. For the first time in the history of the series, the action of the game has gone beyond the Earth, covering part of the cosmos. You have to build helium-3 production bases on the Moon, research stations in the Arctic, fight off competitors and create a developed infrastructure, the Earth with its satellite. The game is released on November 3, 2015 on Microsoft Windows (PC).

The action of Anno 2205 develops, as you might guess, in 2205, and on Earth everything is not as bad as science fiction loves to say. There are beautiful forests, clear water, and cities are more like utopian paintings of a brighter future. Research stations have been built in the Arctic, where scientists from the Arctic Keepers project preserve the ice sheet, stabilizing the climate on the entire planet (recall that the previous game in the series, Anno 2070, was about building the economy in conditions of global warming and melting glaciers, so the logic of continuation is iron). Minerals are mined on the Moon and transported to Earth, and here everything, including design, says that the life of the lunar settlers is not at all sweet: bases can only be built in craters, and even then under the protection of special shields that save meteor showers . But the illustration is still not the Moon, but the Earth:

Anno 2205 is a science-fiction economic strategy, and we decided to see what kind of scientific base the technologies, buildings and materials that the player has to develop, build and mine have under themselves. Of course, it is difficult to predict with certainty how humanity will develop in the XXIII century, but the developers clearly relied on research that already exists, which means we can draw conclusions about whether the adjective is “scientific” in describing this game.

So let's go!

Fusion reactor

The probability of full functioning in 2205: medium

The degree of development in the present: at the initial stage

For many science fiction writers and futurologists, the development of thermonuclear power plants in the near future is an almost settled issue, but in reality it is much more complicated. So far, such technology is only at the first stages of development, but, nevertheless, the first steps have already been taken. Of course, the first thing to mention here is the ITER thermonuclear reactor, which has been under construction since 2007, and which it is planned to complete the construction in 2020. True, this will only be an experimental installation, and it is huge in size: the complex occupies 180 hectares of land, and the reactor is higher in height than the Eiffel Tower, so this can not be transported to the moon. But now at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology a fusion reactor project of only 5 meters in diameter has been created, and such a facility can easily be placed on the moon in a short time. So the presence of fusion reactors in the game is fully justified by the genre.

Solar panels

The probability of full functioning in 2205: extremely high

The degree of development in the present: high

The fact that in the future solar panels will become a full-fledged source of energy, now practically no one doubts. Their capacity is growing every year, efficiency is increasing, and scientists from Michigan State University recently patented the first full-fledged transparent solar panels, with which any window, glass panel and even entire buildings can be turned into energy sources. Already, solar panels can provide large objects with energy in industrial facilities. So in the Indian city of Cochin, in the near future, the whole airport will switch exclusively to providing solar energy, and Google launched the Sunroof project in August 2015, where you can calculate how profitable it is to put solar panels on the roof of your house, as well as how much you can save on bills electricity after installing solar panels (although the project is working only in San Francisco and Boston so far). Even in northern Sweden, where there are not so many sunny days, over the past four years, the total capacity of solar panels has increased by 7 times. And to imagine a satellite or a spaceship without a wide battery of solar panels is completely impossible. So there is every reason to believe that by 2205, solar panels will become the primary source of energy.

Hydroponics

The probability of full functioning in 2205: extremely high

The degree of development in the present: high

The vineyards and flax plantations presented in the game, as well as the technologies for growing vegetables used on the moon, can be easily imagined in the future, since there are quite significant prerequisites for this kind of large-scale production. Already this year, the Japanese company Spread Vegetable Factory begins the construction of a fully automated hydroponic farm, where human participation will only be necessary at the stage of planting and germinating plants, everything else on the farm is fully automated. Construction will be completed in 2017, and in the summer of that year, the company plans to reach 30, 000 heads of lettuce per day, and in five years it plans to increase productivity to 500, 000 per day. All the technologies are already there, and one can only imagine what scale hydroponics can achieve after two centuries.

As for growing plants under zero gravity or microgravity, the first steps have been taken here. In August 2015, the ISS cosmonauts tried the leaves of red lettuce grown under microgravity conditions, and NASA and the European Space Agency have already announced programs to develop effective systems for growing plants in open space to send an expedition to Mars. And on Mars apple trees will bloom (that is, on the Moon, if we talk about Anno 2205).

Neuromodule factory

The probability of full functioning in 2205: extremely high

The degree of development in the present: at the initial stage

When cyberpunk became popular in the early 1990s, various implants, neuroshunts, and neuromodules that improve brain and body function seemed to be a near future business. But then it turned out that people did not want to introduce artificial objects into their bodies, and the topic of implants for some time left the front pages of scientific journals. True, not for long. Now, the augmented reality provided by external devices does not seem enough, and the development of neurology and understanding of which areas of the brain can be affected to obtain the desired effect only push scientists to create effective implants (or neuromodules, in the terminology of the game) to improve memory, vision cognitive and learning abilities.

So recently, DARPA announced the implantation of electrodes in the human brain, which led to a significant improvement in experimental memory. Back in 2010, scientists from the University of Washington installed an implant for the treatment of dizziness attacks for a patient with Meniere's syndrome, and a statistical study conducted in 2013 showed that already in 2007 every fifth scientist in America sat on neurostimulators to increase his effectiveness in atmosphere of general competition. Judging by the trends of the last 6−8 years, neuromodulation, both by chemical means and with the help of implants, will only gain strength and improve, becoming an integral part of the scientific community.

Android factory

The probability of full functioning in 2205: extremely high

The degree of development in the present: at the initial stage.

The term “android” is sometimes understood to mean all humanoid robots, and sometimes humanoid robots created exclusively from organic tissue. For lunar bases from the world of Anno 2205, it is humanoid robots per se that are relevant, since there, due to the limited number of people, the interface and control system of any equipment must be adapted for both the robot and humans.

The technology of humanoid robots has been actively developing since the beginning of the 2000s, mainly in Japan and Korea. Recent developments include Japanese robots DER2, a female robot capable of changing movements and gestures, the Sayu robot, which was presented at the Robodex exhibition in 2002 and now works as a guide at Tokyo University of Science, and the WD-2 model, an android, able to change facial expressions. In South Korea, the Ministry of Information and Communication has developed an ambitious plan to introduce humanoid robots into every home by 2020. In South Korea, the Ever-2 robot, a robotic woman capable of singing and dancing, was created. Given such an active development of the industry, it is easy to imagine an established factory production of androids in 2205.

More complicated is the situation with artificial organic robots. Scientists can already create artificial human tissues, from autoclaved animal muscles and artificial bones to bone marrow and even the penis. Nevertheless, the process of creating organic robots from organic tissues, not like human ones, is in its infancy, and for economic reasons, since the scope of the use of an iron robot and even an android can be thought up easily. The meaning of creating a purely organic robot is not economically clear, but, quite possibly, it will find application in the world of Anno 2205.

Quantum computers

The probability of full functioning in 2205: extremely high

The degree of development in the present: at the initial stage.

Quantum computers play an important role in the Arctic Keepers project, and they can be built in the Arctic part of the game. Even at the current level of development of this technology, one can easily imagine that by the XXIII century they will completely replace standard chips and processors. Of course, in reality, the development of quantum computers is still in its infancy, although back in 2002 a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Isaac Chuang announced that quantum computers would soon be put into production, but only now.

Nevertheless, they should be much faster than the machines that we use now, and also be able to carry out several calculations in parallel and break into any existing cipher. Of course, no one will simply refuse from technology that opens up such prospects. In recent years, certain breakthroughs have been achieved in the technology of quantum teleportation necessary for quantum computing. So in September of this year, physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the United States managed to transfer quantum information to 102 kilometers, and in 2014, researchers at the University of New South Wales created a protective shell of silicon around quantum analogs of bits - qubits. As a result, they work much more stable, and the information itself during calculations is stored in such a shell much longer, which can serve as the basis for creating full-fledged quantum computers.

Extensive research is being conducted in this direction and huge budgets are being spent. So in May 2013, Google announced the creation of the Laboratory of Quantum Artificial Intelligence, and according to documents released by Edward Snowden in 2014, the US National Security Agency oversees a program with a budget of $ 79.7 million to create a quantum computer. With such active development and research, one can easily assume that already in the XXIII century the production of quantum computers will be put on stream.

Helium mining 3

The probability of full functioning in 2205: medium

The degree of development in the present: theoretical

The Anno 2205 storyline is connected with the development of lunar bases and the extraction of helium-3. This is a well-founded extrapolation of modern scientific ideas about which sources of energy will be valuable in the future. What is helium-3? This is a stable helium isotope, which due to its structure can be an ideal source for the operation of a thermonuclear reactor and the production of completely pure energy without radiation waste. Moreover, the reaction of the synthesis of helium-3 is not just a theory. At the Institute of Thermonuclear Fusion at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, experiments were carried out on the thermonuclear synthesis of helium-3, and its reaction efficiency reached 70%, ahead of electricity generation by natural gas and coal by 20%.

The problem is that helium-3 is a rare-earth element, but there is a lot of it on the moon, where huge reserves of this material are concentrated in lunar regolith. True, there are several nuances due to which the extraction of helium-3 is unlikely in the XXI century, but quite possible in the XXIII. Helium-3 - although pure energy, but not cheap. According to the most optimistic forecasts, the coefficient of its content in the soil of the Moon is about 50 parts per billion, therefore, to obtain its volumes sufficient for a thermonuclear reaction, it will be necessary to process millions of tons of lunar soil. After mining, the resulting material will have to be heated up to 600 degrees Celsius to separate helium-3 from the rock, and then the material must be delivered to Earth. Interestingly, all these difficulties in the extraction and cost of helium-3 are reflected in the economic model of the game. Nevertheless, in the future, when developing alternative energy sources, helium-3 will be an important source of income, and it is quite possible that a real isotope mining race will begin on the Moon, since the first lunar colony, which began production, is likely to set standards for the development of this useful fossil.

In general, almost all the basic technologies and materials used in the game have a real scientific basis, which means that playing Anno 2205 will be even more interesting.

Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the distant future, manage endlessly growing cities, build space ports and colonize the Moon with the help of the most advanced and sophisticated technologies that are now featured in real scientific research! Build your 2205 year - we are confident that the future will be bright, and we, together, are building it now. And on the monitors of our computers, and in reality!

We remind you: the game is released on November 3, 2015 on Microsoft Windows (PC).

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