Here's how Asia Pacific's biggest cities might look in 2100

(Eco Business, 19 Dec 2022) How would you picture a polluted Auckland dusk 78 years from now – in a high-resolution, wide-screen format?

It’s the turn of the next century, and downtown Auckland is half-smothered by the rising seas. Sooty buildings are spewing neon-orange sewage into the Pacific ocean, creating enclaves divided by cesspools.

This is the future awaiting the city known for its beautiful environment, as envisaged by an image generator software, Midjourney, that has been fed keywords such as “photorealism”, “futuristic” and “cinematic”.

USwitch, a UK-based price comparison website, used Midjourney to demonstrate versions of iconic cities in 2100 such as Los Angeles (surrounded by wildfires), Tokyo (covered in smog) and Rio de Janeiro (pounded by heavy rain). The visuals are far removed from being a scientific projection as many look like oil paintings and some feature alien-looking birds.

But USwitch says the project, launched last month, helps people visualise the future if climate change is not taken seriously today. It referenced the latest United Nations climate change report on future impacts, and also generated a set of images showing idyllic scenarios if the world manages to halt carbon emissions in the coming decades. 

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Eco Business, 19 Dec 2022: Here's how Asia Pacific's biggest cities might look in 2100