A baby born today in the United States or another industrialized country may well live into the next century as life expectancy increases. Her life may be quite different from ours today; for example as she and maybe her partner are likely to customize their progeny, her home will be much more computerized and robots will help with chores, according to the World Future Society. Here are a few other millennium predictions the society has made:
-- By Dita Smith
* By age 10, millennium baby's DNA profile will be part of her complete electronic medical record that tracks susceptibility to diseases. Her wristwatch-type biomonitoring device will provide accurate readouts of her health status that can be diagnosed by a computer.
* Millennium baby may well begin her first job as a telecommuter, working from home for a company anywhere around the world.
* By the time she begins thinking about starting her own family, genetic screening for prospective parents will be routine; prenatal treatment of fetuses will also be widely used; by 2050 normal sexual reproduction will be considered foolhardy, and prospective parents may shop for the best genes.
* "Nanny camcorders" embedded in teddy bears, and other security measures, will give parents visual access to their children at day care at all times.
* She is likely to live in a home or apartment with intelligent "wallpapers," essentially multiple flat TV screens, that can turn a surface into an art gallery one moment, a scenic vista or an aquarium the next and a TV/computer screen when desired.
* Intelligent refrigerators will keep track of butter, orange juice and other essentials; she'll be able to print out the list prior to a grocery shopping trip or transmit it electronically to a home-delivery service.
* Robots are likely to trim the lawn and help with other chores.
* By age 30, she is likely to accept genetically engineered foods as perfectly normal; by that time, farmers may grow vaccines as well as food.
* While printed books will not disappear, some read-and-discard books, such as mysteries and romances may be turned into digital books that are downloaded to a small, flat tablet, with a touchpad controlling page turning.
* Around 40, one of the most exciting news items may be that engineers have achieved nuclear fusion as an energy source.
* While many diseases may be eradicated, new viruses may spread fear around the world, particularly in megacities of more than 20 million inhabitants.
* In-home videoconferencing will catch on as a way for families scattered around the world to stay in touch.
* When baby reaches middle age by 2050, sensory prosthetics will be available, such as speech synthesis directly linked to vocal nerves, computerized vision implants, artificial ears feeding electronic waves into the brain.
* By 2050, today's baby may look forward to another 50 years; 2.2 million centenarians will live around the world, a 16-fold increase over today.
* She may well work past the traditional retirement age of 65 or retire and start a new career, such as teacher or entrepreneur.
* When millennium baby reaches 70, artificial life forms will exist.
* When she becomes a senior citizen, she will be among 10 billion people worldwide. Many demographers believe the world's population will stabilize at that level.
* Toward the end of the century, orbital solar collectors will help provide energy, but cleaner burning gasoline will still be used by the 1 billion -- plus cars plying the world's highways, although electric cars for short-distance travel will be common.
* There is a 33 percent chance that man will have made the first electronic contact with extraterrestrial intelligent beings; a permanent moon base will be in operation and a manned Mars mission will have been accomplished.