This is what an AI thinks the world will look like in the year 2100 – including South Africa

 ·24 Dec 2022

An artificial intelligence (AI) tool known as Midjourney, has created images of world-famous destinations to reveal how starkly different places we know could look in the year 2100 if we do not reach our Net Zero target by 2050.

Green energy experts at Uswitch, in cooperation with the research director of Oxford University Net Zero, professor Sam Fankhauser,  analysed the emission data from various sectors and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) reports to identify how each country will be most affected by climate change in 2100.

Based on the data, the experts at Uswitch then tasked the AI bot to create images of 20 famous places worldwide and visualise how they would look in the future. These places include Agra, Auckland, Barcelona, Beijing, Berlin, Dubai, Edinburgh, Giza, Kruger National Park (South Africa), London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Moscow, New York, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, Tokyo, and Toronto.

“If countries around the world do not start to change their habits, then the repercussions could lead to many places looking unrecognisable,” said an expert at Uswitch, Ben Gallizzi.

According to Midjourney, Dubai (like many other locations) will face increased pollution levels making visibility almost impossible, while the Kruger National Park will see drought and very few of its native animals.

London would become noticeably hotter and drier, with air quality and pollution becoming a huge environmental risk to the health of all Londoners, Uswitch said.

Midjourney also anticipates a dark and gloomy Toronto with extremely visible pollution affecting the city’s skyline, while New York’s leafy Central Park could end up in a permanent drought state, Uswitch added.

Efforts in reducing CO2 emissions need to start now

While AI suggests extreme smog due to air pollution, floods and desertification, Uswitch also tasked the tool to envision a best-case scenario for our future should the goals of Net Zero be achieved, said the comparison and switching service company.

“The more positive results showcased clear skies and the return of wildlife to densely populated cities. By prioritising the eco-credentials of each place, AI predicts much greener areas with less devastating environmental impacts,” Uswitch said.

Gallizzi, noted that it is important to visualise how the world could look in the next few decades if we fail to start making changes now.

He added that there are many ways we are contributing to increasing CO2 emissions on the planet and that there are some simple ways we can try and reduce our carbon footprint to help prevent things such as species from going extinct, wildfires ruining ecosystems, and rising sea levels.

“These small changes could be as simple as reducing the number of days we commute by car, reassessing the type and amount of food we eat or making our homes more energy efficient,” he said.

Midjourney’s worst- and best-case scenario images of some of the most notable destinations around the world are listed below.

Kruger National Park – South Africa

Dubai – United Arab Emirates

London – United Kingdom

Central Park, New York – United States of America

Paris – France

Beijing – China 

Sydney – Australia 

Auckland – New Zeland 

Berlin – Germany 

Moscow – Russia 

Giza – Egypt 

Rio de Janeiro – Brazil 


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