Hello everyone and welcome back to another thought piece by me, ya boy, Joe Van! Today… well, today we will be doing a thought experiment. It’s one that has been done a million times before by a million people, ad infinitum, and it’s one I want to encourage all of you to do with me! I’d like this to be a communal-themed thought piece that brings out the creativity in y’all. So, the experiment in question is to guess what the world would look like 100 years from now. There have been different variations of this, from guessing what 20 years would look like, to 50, to 1000 years, and it’s been done by both elementary school kids, to the greatest international minds of their own respective times. The way I want to properly ask the question is to break down different sections of life for us to predict on. So if you have a notes app or pen and paper ready, let’s cover the bases.
The first section will be: what state of world governments will exist? Second, what kind of infrastructure will the First World nations have? Third, what kind of fashions and trends will people be accustomed to? Fourth, what new or updated technologies will exist? Fifth, what will our lifespans be? Sixth, what kind of places will humanity live in? Seventh, what social norms and/or programs will be common place? And finally, eighth, what major events might happen? With these sections in mind, feel free to comment, email, message, or smoke signal me your takes on what the future will look like! I’m serious, I want to hear from you wherever you can reach me; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram messenger, wherever. I’m the kind of guy to find dreams really interesting, if that helps you get over any insecurities about doing it. I get how some people find it boring, but to me it’s simply a story from YOUR point of view! There won’t be any other story like it, so I want to know!
Okay, now I’ll get to the body of this piece: MY interpretation of life in one-hundred years. We may overlap on thoughts, I may think of things you didn’t think of, or I may miss some things that could be obvious to you. Either way, time to jump into it before the hundred years have come and passed.
1.) Government. It’s safe to say that potentially nothing much will change here; that we will keep on a disappointing albeit safe course and continue as our current governments do. But what if incremental changes now, like carbon taxes and welfare programs slowly grow in a natural way until the big nations expand their middle class into a truly bright and sustainable place for the majority of the population. That would be great, wouldn’t it? Although, it could go the other way, of course. Both Russia and China are dictatorships and they make up 2/3’s of the superpower nations of the planet. We could see wealth inequality grow through corruption until there are no bright spots left. India among other nations has had that problem for a long time, (where the rich are crazy rich due to a broken system they benefit off of and everyone else through no less bootstrapping of their own are left with scraps) and America is quickly joining suit to destroying the middle class. So we could have a truly dark collection of nations if such un-prosperous governments grow in power and no one on the inside can change it. But to pin it down, I would say that in one-hundred years, the world’s governments will still be struggling to agree on everything, but maybe north Korea will no longer exist? Big guess there; we’ll see, if we’re alive one-hundred years from now.
NEXT. 2.) Infrastructure. Just picture it now, super-speed tunnels under Mars’ surface, taking people from one bubble city to the next. It’s beautiful. But to focus on Earth, this might be similar to the government thing where not too much happens. It’d be nice though, if we could get super futuristic looking transnational highways, and skyscrapers white and blue with sleek, curvy designs. I feel like our progress in 3-D printing and autonomous robots will put us in a place one-hundred years from now where roads are maintained way better than they are now, with drones that scan every street in existence and then fly down to make patches where needed without taking hours and blocking traffic. It could be something easily streamlined, I feel like.
3.) Trends! This one is going to be purely imaginative, because people not even fifty years ago could never have predicted social media. I feel like trying with any educated guess is impossible, so the sky’s the limit! Sports will not change, we can say that with confidence. Fashion will do as it’s always done and mix and match the old and the new. Upcoming designers will set trends but nothing as timeless as jeans. As far as revolutionary fashion changes, I feel like that would take more time than one-hundred years, but I feel like body suits will become something people get used to because of their necessity on other planets. These suits would be micro porta-potties, oxygen tanks, heart-rate monitors, and you name it. Again, maybe not a hundred years, but eventually. Now, as far as trends go, we could see social media evolving into neural-link tech. Hopefully the rest of the world doesn’t adopt China’s use of social tracking being connected to whether or not you can use the bus, but anything’s possible.
Moving on to 4.) Technologies. We know that artificial general intelligence is around the corner. Same with neurological implants. Many technological concepts we have now still need time to grow, so I’d say we see them realized fully one-hundred years from now, but the things we don’t even know about yet could also be a reality, like faster-than-light travel, or a matrix-like virtual reality. These things, we can never know until they start cropping up. One thing I’ll say is I think we can finally say goodbye to the notion of flying cars. It’s not going to happen. It was impractical from the start so I’m fine with that in the trash bin, but I could see mini helicopters being used more frequently if we are able to unlock hydrogen fuel as a new source to get around besides gasoline. That’s one type of technology that would revolutionize everything. Hydrogen cars is something that’s already been invented but it’s like a million dollars for one, so further innovations are needed. Either way, on the point of predicting technologies, it’s hard to say for things we as a society haven’t even though of yet.
5.) Lifespan. It’s a 50/50 if we find a way to tackle the reality of our lifespans in a hundred years. It’s not a matter of being as healthy as we can be, it’s a matter of regeneration. Every time our cells self-reproduce inside us, a fraction of their chromosome is lost or shortened. This leads to the cells becoming weaker at their job and hence, aging. So if we can find a way to somehow revitalize EVERY cell in our body, whether it be a single treatment thing every fifty years, or an ongoing daily medication, I don’t know. As far as I understand it, the science is beyond us. It’s just a reality we have to deal with. Besides, if society found a way to allow one to live 1000 years, it would go to the dictators first and then the richest and least-worthy of that technology. One would hope for an impenetrable system of dishing out the deal equally, but we may or may not see so in the upcoming decades.
6.) Location. Yo we BETTER be an extra-planetary species in a hundred years! It’s embarrassing that we’re not so right now. The movie 2001 was a dream that still has yet to come to fruition. If we’re still only living on Earth in one-hundred years, what can we expect? Aside from a potential nuclear holocaust, I feel like the population’s going nowhere but up, and because of this we could see many small towns across every country slowly but surly metropolized. Heck, that’s my current reality living in the greater Toronto area. Towns are turned into cities every ten years and it keeps spreading out further and further to make way for more people. The only thing about this that I’m against is that the roads aren’t changing with the population growth, so traffic is becoming disgusting at most hours of the day. In one-hundred years if we could have expanded subways, that would help immensely.
Moving on. 7.) Norms. No more animal factory farms for Pete’s sake! Aside from that, most nations are living in the past as far as policies go. I can see our current work towards an open and equal society eventually becoming systemic. Take something like mental health programs to help rehabilitate those with drug addiction instead of jailing them. Same goes with the norms of nations like China. Right now, businesses like the film and video game industry minimize or remove people of colour in their art for the Chinese market, and increase boob sizes of women in video games. I’m not even kidding. And these are demands from the GOVERNMENT of China. So if they could stop being racist and sexist on a systemic level, that’d be greeeaaaat. Something someone once said to me about their experience working in the Canadian film industry was that even though he had been working in it successfully for 17 years, when being given funding on commercials next to their Caucasian peer, they were given a fraction of the budget, and when addressing this they were told they should feel lucky to be getting anything at all. Others who might have opposed the words of the higher up in this exchange, instead of backing their colleague, just shrugged in awkward solidarity. In something called ‘silent acceptance,’ letting bullies or sexists or racist in power continue to perform as they do because you don’t want to lose your own place of power, is something that has allowed the toxicity to continue in every business, not just the film industry. But I already see things changing so I’m not worried about society’s current trajectory. In one-hundred years time I’d hope that systems and norms give people the ability to work AND be happy.
Finally 8.) Events. This is another one that’s left completely up to one’s imagination. For me, I want to go over every possibility I can think of, that way I always end up on top. One possibility is another pandemic like COVID-19. Considering the Spanish flu happened in 1920, it isn’t far fetched to think there might be some kind of century-seasonal viral attack going on. It would make 2120 ripe for pandemic-ing. ANOTHER possibility, World War III. If nations get more territory like the moon and mars, then a nuclear fight that doesn’t kill everybody would be on the table. ANOTHER possibility, A.G.I. is actually achieved and the centralized, location-less entity takes over the world. This could be for good or ill, honestly. It could go either way. ANOTHER might be a regression in technology. There could be a Russian cyber attack that wipes out all electronics and puts us back a hundred years, or I guess two-hundred years if this is in the future. ANOTHER, China could take over the world! ANOTHER, aliens make contact for the first time! That would honestly be so mind-blowingly huge! I don’t want that happening not in my lifetime. ANOTHER, America delves into another civil war and outside nations pick sides. China and Russia help Trump’s side and he wins, turning America into an authoritarian nation like the other two superpower nations. THAT is a scary one. ANOTHER, the queen of England breathes her last breath, and Canada declares independence, somehow becoming a major superpower nation and ushering in a new space race that brings unimaginable wealth to the globe through mining celestial bodies!
And on that note, I’d say that covers it! I’m sure more events could happen, both less insane and just as life-changing that I simply couldn’t think of, but I’ll leave that for you to think of! As I’ve said, I’m dying to hear what possibilities you conjure up, so let me know wherever you can and I’ll read them! Thank you again as always for being here. I appreciate your time, wish you nothing but love in your life, and ask you to remember, to keep on thinking. Ciao for now.