A futurist tells us what life will probably look like in 2040

This week, UK’s government set out plans to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040 – so what else will we see in 23 years’ time?

Here, with the help of Europe’s top futurist Ray Hammond, we create a picture of how the world might look in the post-petrol age.


We will all wear a huge range of sensors that will constantly monitor things such as blood pressure, blood sugar and blood oxygen level.

Longevity will rise, with many living well beyond 100.

Children born in 2040 will have a more or less indefinite life. With gene therapy, stem cell and nano-scale medicine, barring an accident or fatal disease, we may live for ever and look much younger. With exoskeletons – artificial, externally-worn support structures – the elderly will stay mobile for longer. Now they are bulky and rigid but they will be soft and comfy.



People will fall in love with robot partners, which will impact relationships.

As it is we have a habit of seeing human characteristics in inanimate objects and with robots growing more advanced, it is inevitable that some people will couple up with them.

Weddings will become rarer and promiscuity will go off the scale as social attitudes get more relaxed.

On average, women today have nine sexual partners in their lifetime and men have 11 – expect that to rise to 100 for women and 200 for men.



Most cars will be driving themselves, with motorways and roads having self-driving lanes.

Driverless traffic could travel in convoys, forming “road trains” and allowing vehicles to drive much closer together, freeing up motorway space.

The only place where you could experience being in control of a car yourself would be a licensed race track.

Ahead of the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars in 2040, we can expect scrappage schemes during the 2030s which will phase them out. Our roads will look and sound very different.

As for air travel, there will not be huge changes. The dawn of electric and self-flying planes is possible but they will still be a small minority.

We will see hyper-loops – transport tubes through which passenger pods can travel at up to 700 mph.


Getty Images/iStockphoto

As the world’s population booms from the present seven billion to more than nine billion, we will not be able to farm meat as we have done up to now.

There won’t be enough space for all the animals we would need plus their methane emissions could cause unsustainable…

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