We live in strange times don’t we? I’m sure every generation has said that, but of course I’m fully convinced we are the exception. I’m 32 years old. The last of a group of people who grew up in a time where it was not common at all to have a cell phone in high school. We had to do stuff like make plans to meet in advance and deal with this awkward moment – when a love interest’s dad picked up the phone after making that first phone call to their land line. That was a thing, like cassette tapes were a thing.
There is no research to back up what I am going to discuss. At least nothing that I am directly aware of. It is all just stuff I’ve picked up along the way because of my own enthusiasm.
So what do we have to look forward to? Well foremost, the disruption of the auto industry and public transport. This is needed so much now and I am not sure most people appreciate the amount of change self-driving vehicles are going to bring. Imagine using an app, much like Uber to signal a driverless car to pick you up at any time.
There will be no need for personal transportation. Towns and cities will pass ordinances outlawing non-commercial vehicles within city limits since self-driving vehicles will communicate with each other to alleviate any traffic issues which are mostly caused by human response.
Transport and shipping will become cheaper as we move goods across countries with self-driving trucks. This will hopefully make goods cheaper and will complement the cost gains we achieve by moving completely away from non-renewable resources for energy.
Solar power and advances in fuel cells will allow us to capture power freely and store it to any capacity for much longer amounts of time. Already today, homeowners are enjoying negative power bills. This is something I would never have imagined 10 years ago.
As more people move away from the country and into urban centers, the smart city will hopefully become commonplace. This is where I see a lot of focused effort sooner than later to bring into reality as old technology and ideas of city planning may not evolve as much as communication and information technology have recently. At some point we will be users of cities, as well as citizens.
What I would like to see are more centralized cities with less urban sprawl. Gardens and farms that thrive as part of skyscrapers with whole neighborhoods that have a strong sense of community within these residential towers. Cities should use more of their land for leisure and park space to decrease urban blight with the residential centers incorporating as much natural essence as technologically possible. The land should be left natural and beautiful with only small footprint residences in rural areas for those who really do want to live outside of the city.
A more centralized city will allow for more efficient waste management and especially traffic control. You should be able to live downtown very close to where you work in living spaces that are large enough for a family, unique enough to want to own, and space close enough to enjoy the same activities you would with your own yard. The schools and communities in these places would be the most desirable for anyone to start a family. You will no longer have to worry about commuting in and out of town while fighting traffic for hours per day. We don’t have anything like this in any inner city today. As the population gets higher and urban sprawl becomes more of a problem for daily life, we will then see development generally head in this direction. The sooner we do this the happier I will be.
Now the most recent and probably interesting social and vocational development will be the ubiquity of augmented and virtual reality. Users, I mean people, will be able to exist as any avatar or character of their choosing in a seemingly real world. We are going to see real enrollees in Hogwarts School of Magic, developing different spells that they may use in this virtual world based on Harry Potter. This character will follow them as they grow older and develop their skill sets. Some may never leave their house at all as virtual pornography and completely online relationships become more commonplace. This is already happening.
Using augmented reality, people will be able to query our linked in account as they pass by and glance at each others face. If someone is in the job market, they will expect to be approached while out and about on a Friday night with a job offer. We may carry a virtual whuffie score, that accumulates your accomplishments and character traits, vetted by colleagues and friends. This with the availability of free energy and a basic income will lead to an economy of accomplishment where work is conducted only in hopes of recognition and badges much like that in gaming.
It will be more common to work less and practice leisure more. Gradually we will work towards a 4 day work week of 6 hour work days. We can then use or new found time for continued education, enjoy enriching but non-vocational activities like art and writing, go to the beach to surf every week or simply do nothing.
What a wonderful time to live in. Let’s not screw it up allowing ridiculous politicians to continue play us like they are. 😛