What will the future be like? Will we wear our computers on our forearm? Will we bid on next week’s weather? Will we have guinea pig for dinner?
Here’s the top ten signs to watch for. I’ll revisit this post in a few decades to see how I did.
Take it away, Mr. Letterman!
(warning, some mild spoilers of the book below)
10. The United States continues to obsess about safety, especially about head injuries. Football is declared illegal. People must wear soft helmets whenever they not in their homes or a place of worship.
9. Southern Italy and Catholicism reject the modern world. The Papal States break off from Italy and Rome is divided. (This felt much more realistic before Pope Francis was elected. Alas, a writer can’t win them all. But who’s to say what will happen in the next 68 years?)
8. Some native reservations in the US become scientific research parks, renting lab space to scientists who want to research things like cloning that are outlawed by the United States.
7. Weather prediction (and modification) is so accurate that weather is turned into a competitive market where farming regions, cities, tourist destinations, and more can bid on the weather they want to have.
6. Low Earth orbits are populated by tourists, scientists, and even some miners, who have trapped asteroids in Earth’s gravitational pull in order to mine them for metal and rare elements.
5. Women continue their rise in politics, the sciences, and all jobs requiring higher education. (see my Hanna Rosin post)
4. Because of the rise of cheap home 3-D printing for most common items, retail has a harder and harder time surviving. Instead, most retail space becomes temporary rentable “commons,” one day a bar, and the next a furniture shop, or maybe both at the same time. (Quick note: Retail is going to have to figure out the issue of home 3-D printers long before 2081. It’s happening soon.)
3. We start to wear our computers more and more. A screen wrapped around the forearm (called a wrap) is our most common computer, providing automatic translation or information about the topic of conversation, without having to be asked. It can be unrolled to lay flat and become a simple tablet computer as well.
2. A painless, regular treatment prevents most obesity, paired with a sensible diet (like protein-rich roast guinea pig, a South American import the United States goes crazy for). This increases prejudice against those who decline the treatment and become obese, however, since there are now relatively much fewer of them.
1. Personal privacy continues to erode from government, from corporations, and from each other. Eventually, people’s pasts and their private thoughts become open to anyone who wants to look.
That last one is–of course–starting well before 2081 …
Find out more about the future at haveyoujumped.com.