The following is all poorly researched opinion based on gut feelings derived, vaguely, from a lot of news sources and I'm sure folks here will pick it apart soon enough.

Way back in the early Eighties, the cyberpunk cliche was Japan, which given the Japan's economic doldrums in the Nineties and Aughts, seems terribly dated now. I mean, sure, Japan still has a very powerful effect on global culture and despite it's decline and slow revival, it's still the fourth biggest economy in the world (After China, India, the US and, according the World Bank and CIA Fact Book, the leader, the EU.) but this is all in the all too obvious present.

What I've noticed in science fiction writers attempts to project things into the near future—say over the next century—is that they are often strongly warped by what's happening in the present—even if that present was not immediately obvious (Consider Gibson's realizations about Japan in the Seventies, which at the time, weren't so obvious.). And because of this, now we have, I think, a lot of cultural obsession with China and, to a lesser degree, India.

But again, this is the present. In another five or so decades, who knows? Given the propensity of multinational companies to search around for the cheapest labor and laxest regulations, eventually China and India (And Russia, Brazil and similar mid-level countries.) are going to price themselves out of the market. Will we be talking about China and India then as we're talking about Japan now?

With that preamble out of the way, where do I think the cultural and economic churn will be happening more than a century from now? I'd say in the countries in Africa:

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All this art is due to Brooklyn, NY resident, Lekan Jeyifo, and his attempts to depict what Lagos Nigeria might look like in 2180. These images I shamelessly swiped from this page.

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Pretty art out of the way, what do you think?

  • Will Africa be the economic powerhouse of the future, just as Asia and the Subcontinent is now?
  • Is there something wrong with my projection?
  • Will robot labor become so cheap by then that no human anywhere in the world be able to compete?
  • Or are you one of those pessimists who thinks that Africa will remain mired in corruption, civil war, dictatorships and ruthless resource exploitation by the multinationals? (Which personally I think sometimes verges on racism.)
  • Or are you one of those really boring pessimists who thinks that global civilization will be so badly hammered by global warming and fossil fuel depletion that we all all doomed?