2020: not looking so good

January 17, 2010 at 2:00 am 4 comments

Do you ever wonder what the world will be like in 2050? Frankly, I think we’ll all be stuffed and the planet frizzled up. But if the climate change scientists are wrong, then what do we have to look forward to?

I had a hissy fit over full-body scanners being installed in airports as a knee-jerk reaction to the underwear bomber – so that led me to thinking – why bother with the tardis-like machines that x-ray the heck out of you? Why not have machines that quickly read a passenger’s mind? Shove us in booths with flashing lights and zapping sounds (for special effects) and read our minds to see if we have evil intentions to blow up planes.

Mmmm…..seems there are some great minds out there thinking the same thing. Whilst the technology isn’t quite there yet to read what’s on my mind, an Israeli-based company called WeCU are developing “brain-fingerprinting“. It involves a combination of infra-red technology, remote sensors, and flashing subliminal images (such as symbols associated with a certain terrorist group), which will detect someone’s stress reactions. I don’t think you would get shoved into a tardis-like booth as it seems the sensors would be hidden and assess passengers as they mill around an airport. Perhaps, sensors will be hidden in walls and seats. And then there’s a suggestion that airport walls might be alive with the sound of….not music…but sophisticated sensors that will literally sniff out would-be terrorists.

Crikey, as we say in Australia! But what will the world of work be like? And what medical advances will there be? The Independent rounded up some futurist dudes and asked them to imagine the world in 2020 (mainly the UK). I think they should have imagined 2050 but they stuck to 2020. And here’s what futurists think our world might be like:

  • the 2010s will be called DOA – the Decade of Austerity. Frankly, this is in line with my thinking: we’ll still be feeling the effects of the GFC and there’ll be a crisis in public finance. Carbon taxes will make people think twice about purchasing new appliances or doing home improvements (gee: maybe we’ll return to a time when we mended things and kept items for years rather than tossing them out). Fair trade goods will be more popular.
  • there’s an increase in neighbourliness. Property prices never returned to the dizzy heights of the start of the millennium, so people stay in their homes longer and shun the excesses of pre-GFC times.
  • SADS or Shared Adult Dwellings are multi-occupancy homes that are popular with single people under 35 or over 65 who realise they can live more cheaply sharing costs whilst still maintaining independence.
  • at airports “naked x-ray machines” will be the norm and passengers will be required to use see-through suitcases or purses. One futurist is suggesting that every passenger will have to undergo an interview just to get on a plane (I don’t think he’s wrong about this actually). There’s even a suggestion that a budget airline has introduced a “standing room only” service on its planes (mmm….if this comes to fruition, I’d bet it’s Ryanair that first introduces this service).
  • because of rising fuel costs (oil will be over US$300 a barrel) people abandon cars and cities have car graveyards. Fast electric cars that you unlock via fingerprint scanners are the norm.
  • organs and tissues will be grown from stem cells making it possible to grow a replacement heart for example.
  • blogs, Facebook, Twitter, text messages and email are seen as middle-aged obsessions because people under 25 actually like to talk to people face-to-face.
  • there is a swing towards wanting leaders and politicians who are older and more experienced, rather than young, untested Presidents or Prime Ministers.
  • a decade of economic woes finally leads to the collapse of free admission to national museums and galleries.
  • by 2020, citizens have grown accustomed to the Nanny State. The State has made smoking and alcohol unacceptable social habits. Employees are forced to submit to mandatory urine testing to flush out anyone who has defied the smoking or alcohol bans.
  • work-life balance and flexible working hours has died out, replaced with more presenteeism and clock-watching. Because of the after-effects of the 2008/2009 recession and the need for Governments to pay off humongous public debt, a new generation of employees work harder.
  • CCTV cameras are everywhere, scanning faces in shopping centres and eavesdropping on conversations (heck, I think this is wrong: this won’t happen in 2020, it will be 2015 or sooner if you ask me. “Listening” CCTV cams are already being trialled in Scotland and artificial intelligence software is being used to “teach” CCTV cams to recognise aggressive sounds such as breaking glass). Personally, I think that biometrics will mean all CCTV cams will be loaded up with a scan of our faces and they’ll use this to monitor us in shopping centres and public spaces.
  • but most theft is now committed on the Internet, so the CCTV and biometrics paranoia is largely ineffective. Tasers, stun grenades, tranquillizer darts and hand-held computers are used by police to combat crime.
  • DNA of citizens will be stored in a central database and because of severe public spending cuts, there’s a large army of civilian investigators involved in police work.
  • climate change has been slower than predicted by scientists back in 2009 but marine life has migrated northwards, sea levels have risen, the UK is warmer and sharks are sighted off the UK coast. One futurist is even hedging his bets that the UK might experience 40℃/104℉ temperatures. Wild weather patterns will also be experienced.

The article is in two-parts but I’ve summarised the main stuff for you. I would add to these predictions by suggesting that the 5-bedroom McMansion homes everyone seems to be so keen on will be albatrosses around homeowner’s necks by 2020 if not before. You won’t be able to sell them because of rising electricity costs and a return (I believe) to a simpler life.

What do you think the world will be like in 2020 or beyond?

Advertisements

Entry filed under: Airport security, Biometric identification, Future predictions, global warming, Society. Tags: , , , .

Dancing with the dragon Transboundary waters

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Paris  |  January 18, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Happy new decade!

    I agree with the “simpler life, more mending, more housesharing and fewer MacMansions”.
    But I don’t think people will agree to work harder for a decreased standard of life, rather I believe the Japanese are showing us what will happen: less career oriented people, more nomadic lifestyles, and a deeper plunge of birthrates while young people are sucked up of their income by an evergrowing old, retired and sick population.
    Well that’s my scenario for “develloped” countries: North America, Eruope, Australia+NZ…

    As an Australian reported in a soon to be relised movie, todays youngsters are angry about adults letting go of global warming and that’s why they’re telling stuff like “if they think we’ll care about them when they grow old!…”

    Actually this might be more the predictions for 2030 than 2020….let’s see

    Reply
  • 2. thinkingshift  |  January 18, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    Paris! where have you been? you’ve been missed. Thx for the comments. I think what you say is a good point – Gen & and the so-called Gen Alpha (which are those being born now) will be pretty pissed off with older generations – accusing them of stuffing up the planet and leaving them with a shell. Can’t blame them. And probably no-one will look after the elderly as governments will have run out of money for pensions, old-age care and so on.

    I’ll look into the Japanese a bit more – interesting what you say about the trends.

    Kim

    Reply
  • 3. Rod  |  May 1, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    2011 has been a shocking year for Natural Disasters. I truly believe we are headed for bad times. People will start to leave the cities and head bush. My mate and I are already considering heading bush and have our families live together.

    I don’t agree with the electric cars though. Power is a huge issue and I think by 2015 we will be living in the so called dark ages. Everything is running out and becoming way to expensive I really fear that WWIII is just around the corner.

    Reply
    • 4. thinkingshift  |  May 1, 2011 at 8:24 pm

      Don’t disagree with you at all Rod…that’s why I moved to a sleepy part of New Zealand – with enough land to have animals, grow crops, generate our own power etc. Make your decision to leave the city sooner rather than later. The edges are already fraying.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Search ThinkingShift

   Made in New Zealand
     Thinkingshift is?

Flickr Photos

 
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia License.

ThinkingShift Book Club


Kimmar - Find me on Bloggers.com

%d bloggers like this: