How we will live in 2050

Part 3/6: How will we make our stuff in 2050?

Technology, artificial intelligence and climate concerns are transforming manufacturing.

This third chapter of our 2050 series investigates how we will make and recycle goods. Will humans still work in factories? Will there be a circular economy? And could machines be the inventors of the future?

Supported by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Group

Apple says its ‘biggest improvement’ to the iPhone is how it re-uses materials

Equipment will be run by AI and machine learning, increasing the need for data scientists and engineers

Researchers forge ahead by mimicking the chameleon and copying the spider’s web

Much intellectual property law recognises only humans, posing problems for future innovation

Radical thinking is needed in how we buy and discard goods

The technology helps manufacturers customise items but economies of scale are hard to overcome

More from this Special Report

The Moon, Mars and orbiting colonies are all being explored as possible options

The city’s response to population growth now informs how much of humanity will live in 2050

Virtual and augmented reality will enhance, not replace, the wonder of real-life experiences

New models of living encourage social inclusion and blending generations

As matchmaking becomes more scientific, tech will even mimic kisses

Advances in brain science and technology needed to tackle diseases of the elderly

Today’s start-ups and urban projects hint at the future of urban mobility

Public remain to be convinced before air taxis can hurtle over our heads

To go beyond short hops, big developmental jumps are needed

The country needs to build the infrastructure for its emission-reduction solution

Pedal power to take more goods to the customer, people to work and kids to the nursery

From pop-up hotels to space tourism, futurologists present their visions