Hurry up future, you’re looking good

What will life be like in 20 years? Try to imagine it and let your mind run wild.

No more cash? Quite likely. Flying to work in driverless cars? Probably not, unfortunately.

Microchips inside our heads and ordering pizza via telepathic messages? Highly unlikely.

Marrying a robot? Toilets that say “thank you”? Pfft – it’s already been done.

The world as we know it will no doubt experience some significant changes over the next few decades due to technological advances and societal demands.

Education, healthcare, energy consumption, travel and entertainment are all likely to undergo major transitions.

We’ve already seen small tweaks to our daily lives, accepted them and moved on. Nothing overly surprising and on the whole making life easier.

Paying for something in a store via a machine or app instead of a clerk, remote working and 3D printing have all become part of normal life.

However anyone over the age of 40 should be able to remember VHS tapes, tape cassettes and pagers. Possibly vinyl records, rotary dial phones and floppy discs. As cutting-edge as they may have seemed at the time, there have been enough advances in technology over the past 20 years to remind us that substantial change is always around the corner.

Let’s start with the most important issue that affects us all – entertainment.

Breaking down the fourth wall

The great news is that the days of watching free-to-air TV are well and truly numbered. The main reason is that most programs are absolute crap. Let’s not kid ourselves. No more will we expected to watch attention-starved imbeciles taking on a cooking challenge while renovating kitchens with their pets who are trying to lose weight. Unwatchable bile.

Streaming services have shown that if given the option to watch actual entertainment then people will vote with their credit cards and happily pay.

Live concerts and sporting events will always have their pulling power and the format is unlikely to change, other than better and hopefully more affordable seating.

How we experience film, games, social media and even the news will be vastly different. Future experts predict virtual reality and holograms will allow us to interact more personally with whatever medium we’re using.

Become part of a battle scene in a movie or game and know what it’s like to decapitate a zombie. Join Arianna Grande as she beckons you onstage at a live concert in Argentina.

There is a point where we may become too clever and simply lying on the couch binge-watching Fargo on Netflix might be as good as it gets.

If it ain’t broke, etc.

Looks like meat, tastes like meat…it’s not meat

Best to get those last sirloins and pork cutlets into you while you can, because they mightn’t be around in 20 or so years. At least not from actual animals.

Ridiculous? Apparently not.

Scientists are able to produce lab-grown meat and plant-based meat by taking stem cells from animal muscle tissue and proteins from plants.

They then combine them with nutritions and hormones which apparently end up as double cheeseburgers.

The push for lab-grown and plant-based meat is mainly for environmental and economic reasons, with a bit of showing off thrown in.

Livestock make up for around 15% of global greenhouse emissions. Land used for grazing livestock and planting their food takes up almost 80% of the world’s agricultural land, which seems like a lot.

Before meat-eaters and vegans start an actual war, it should be pointed out that the final product will at least look and taste like real meat.

So what’s the problem?

Beanstalks and other stalks

Remember the 1988 smash hit by Yazz, “The Only Way Is Up”? Of course you do.

At the chorus “the only way is up – for you and me now…” simply replace “for you and me now” with “if you’re an agricultural product” and you’ve got a new hit.

Vertical agriculture will be prominent as growing vegetables, fruit and grain products will be done in buildings controlled by A.I. The technology will control crop light, water and temperature.

Obvious benefits include the freeing up of land and less need for transporting produce as it will be mainly grown in large urban centres.

Plus, strawberries will always be in season.

Sleep like a baby – a really spoiled baby

There’ll be no excuse for a poor night’s sleep with adjustable beds. They’re already available and soaring in popularity.

Beds of the future will be tailored to suit every individual need with customized positioning and pressure relief.

Want to read or watch something? Stiff back and need relief during sleep? May we introduce the adjustable bed.

Adjustable beds also come with personalized temperature settings, massage and of course – Bluetooth. Not being able to connect to Bluetooth while lying in your adjustable bed is the very definition of a First World problem.

They’ll be so good that most people will simply head to bed straight after dinner, if they haven’t been eating dinner in bed already.

Self parking cars

Seinfeld’s George Costanza prided himself on his parking abilities. “It’s all about geometry,” he explained.  The gifted George was an exception to the rule however, as most of us see parking for what it is – a frustrating waste of our valuable time.

Using up 15 of your 60 minutes to find a space can reduce you to a sobbing, beaten wreck of a human.

Automated cars will pay for themselves by relieving us important humans of such menial tasks. As you exit the car to go wherever, the car will simply locate and park itself in the nearest and most suitable space.

Like writing and flirting, parallel and reverse parking will become antiquated skills.

If you’re like George and revel in the joy of the perfect park, then by all means do it yourself. Future generations will both marvel at and pity such prowess.

Faster air travel

Airlines have taken a hammering recently, but prospects remain bright with developments in supersonic technology which will eventually be adapted by commercial carriers.

NASA, Boeing and GE are some of the industry giants involved in perfecting engine and aircraft designs to enable 1,600 km/h flights.

This means flying from New York to London or Dubai in 3-4 hours. Business customers will be the first to fork out for these flights with the goal being to ultimately cater to everyday passengers.

This is especially heartening news for impatient travelers who simply must unbuckle to stand and retrieve their hand luggage while the plane is landing.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. It’s the light of an adjustable bed store. We’re often told to “live in the present” which is all well and good, but the present isn’t parking our cars for us.

Come on, future. We’re waiting.

1 Comment

  1. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I won’t be around to see some of these developments.
    I have to say reducing meat consumption & the carbon emissions from animal grazing appeal but it’s sheer silliness to make non meat products look like meat eh? Hadn’t heard of vertical agriculture but what a great idea. Thumbs up to faster air travel but will the designated planes burn up more fuel? Lots to mull over here Hamish Austin.

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