Extinction Timeline: what will disappear from our lives before 2050


When people talk about the future, they usually point to all the new things that will come to pass. However the evolution of human society is as much about old things disappearing as new things appearing. This means it is particularly useful to consider everything in our lives that is likely to become extinct.

Below is the Extinction Timeline created jointly by What’s Next and Future Exploration Network – click on the image for the detailed timeline as a pdf (1.2MB).

For those who want a quick summary of a few of the things that we anticipate will become extinct in coming years:

2009: Mending things

2014: Getting lost

2016: Retirement

2019: Libraries

2020: Copyright

2022: Blogging, Speleeng, The Maldives

2030: Keys

2033: Coins

2036: Petrol engined vehicles

2037: Glaciers

2038: Peace & Quiet

2049: Physical newspapers, Google

Beyond 2050: Uglyness, Nation States, Death

The Extinction Timeline project collaboration was sparked by Richard Watson’s original idea, invigorated by a couple of wines over a Future Exploration Network celebratory lunch. It is also being released to accompany Richard’s provocative new book Future Files: A History of the Next 50 Years, which has been getting a lot of attention, selling very well, and is already being translated into Chinese (good luck to the translator in grappling with far-out concepts!). Also see Richard Watson’s blog post on the extinction timeline.

Those who have followed this blog will be familiar with other maps and timelines that Nowandnext.com and Future Exploration Network have created together, including our famous Trend Blend 2007+:


Trend map 2007+

and Nowandnext.com’s Innovation Timeline 1900- 2050:


As always for our maps and timelines, the Extinction Timeline is released on a Creative Commons license, meaning you’re free to modify and reuse the content as you see fit (with attribution) – I’m sure some of you will have better ideas on what will disappear in coming years! It’s also interesting to muse about the implications of the extinction of so much that we’ve become very used to in our lives…

And of course, please don’t take this too seriously :-).

2 replies
  1. Keith De La Rue
    Keith De La Rue says:

    Interesting read. Glad to see that you recognise the global importance of Philip K. Dick and Douglas Adams. :-)
    I wonder if any of these will ever come back again?
    “And one day when the oil barons have all dripped dry/
    And the nights are seen to draw colder/
    Theyll beg for your strength, your gentle power/
    Your noble grace and your bearing/
    And youll strain once again to the sound of the gulls/
    In the wake of the deep plough, sharing.”
    – “Heavy Horses”, Jethro Tull

  2. Samantha
    Samantha says:

    I think this world needs a change. I meen Barbie Dolls are new fashion, so no matter what anyone says, Barbie Dolls will always be better then any other doll toy for girls. NOW THATS NOT NEARLY AT ALL WHAT I HAVE TO TALK ABOUT! For the type of clothing that people wear these days, I MEAN COME ON!!
    Can’t there be a little more self respect these days? Everyone has all this clothes that shows girls wth all these lace tops, and boys with all these long shirts that almost look like dresses!!
    So if you could email me back as soon as possible that would be great, because then we could discuss all the new possibilities that this new firmal planet can come into.
    This needs to stop, if people care about the environment so much and want to help it, then why is everyone littering, or even better all the cars that we drive, why not hybrid!
    It’s time to take action, because soon, very soon, our species will become extinct, not the planet, the planet will live with or without us, but our species that we need to save!
    EMAIL BACK ASAP!!!!!!!
    Please this is my last hope.

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