1) There is no other intelligent life in the galaxy. In the entire universe? I’m not so sure.
2) China is about to have an agricultural revolution, as is India. When that happens the earth’s population will (more than) double, and the planet will be underpopulated, perhaps severely underpopulated. Before China’s agricultural revolution is completed, it will begin its industrial revolution, whereby worldwide manufacturing capability will be so close to Star Trek’s replicator ideal, the difference will be ignorable. By that time (say, in 50 years), the 1st world (if only the US) will be past the technological revolution and well into the next, which I think will be a biological revolution, characterized by extremely long lifetimes attainable for human beings. This will be different from Ray Kurzweil’s Singularity, in that we won’t be anything like “cyborgs” with a “higher” consciousness and we won’t be merged with machines (although prosthetics will be very advanced) and that’s because the true nature of consciousness and the true difference between living and non-living things is not at all understood by science. Neither of those are emergent properties, I believe, and right now, scientists will believe nothing else.
3) Physics is dead, not in the sense of it having come close to solving everything, but in the sense of having reached the limits imposed upon it by its language, mathematics. Mathematics is not sufficient to describe the entire universe, which is what physics pretends to do. It’s not even capable of completely describing the physical universe, which is what physicists will admit to be trying to do.
4) Although the history of civilization seems to be the history of ever larger, ever more powerful organizational structures, nations will not be subsumed into larger entities. The EU will fail, the UN is a joke and NAFTA (and CAFTA) aren’t even pretending to acquire power. In fact, tribalism is more than making a comeback in Africa and the mid-east. If nations fail, then tribes will take their place unless they are countered by organized religion. Right now the mid-east is a dangerous place because instead of countering tribalism, organized religion is aiding and abetting it.
5) Record companies are dead, and will probably transmogrify into agencies for musical talent. TV networks aren’t dead, but will transmogrify anyway into something that’s far more interactive. It won’t be the interactivity of the net, where the “audience” and “performer” communicate directly, but the interactivity of the network (supplier of entertainment) with the audience (consumer of entertainment).
6) Two words – personal factories. Okay, three. Personal *Virtual* factories. That’s not a new idea – I think it comes from Toffler’s Third Wave.
7) Universities are dead institutions, but don’t know it (yet). This is already demonstrated in the flight of white males from it’s hallowed halls. They are (barely) trade schools that merely train freshmen for jobs that are obsolete by the time the degree is awarded. They can’t be repaired or replaced because we don’t even know what an educated man is anymore.