What does the future look like to you?
***This blog segment is the work of 3 contributors; digital media consultant/mother-of-dragons, investigative journalist/Minecraft noob and youth correspondent/18-year-old with serious FOMO. We are regular people just like you and other people you might know. These are our stories. Please join us by sharing your own story in the comments below.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE TO YOU?
KAYLAH FAULKNER, YOUTH CORRESPONDENT | LINKEDIN
What does the future look like to me? I’ve been asked this question a few times and to be honest, it stumps me every time. I think it’s because I’m a planner. I like to have everything planned out. So, when I’m asked about the future, it makes me feel slightly uneasy because I know how unpredictable life is. Especially when it comes to not just my future, but our future as a society.
We have seen rapid growth in all aspects of how we do things and most of it is due to technological advancements. It is seen in the way we communicate, work, dine, find love, play, transport, collect information, the way we basically do anything in our day to day life. Just within my lifetime I find it crazy the advancements that have been made within the realm of technology and internet. I feel that as a part of Gen Z I have grown up surrounded by tv’s, phones and social media, which has made me and my cohort reliant on it because for us it has always been there. We’d rather get our news via the web than by reading the paper; we’d rather go to the self-serve checkout than to a register. I’m saying this because that’s what the future looks like to me. We will, whether consciously or subconsciously, always turn to technology for everything we need.
It’s widely thought that most of our physical interactions will be replaced by machines. As highlighted in Hackernoon’s article, 'How will the world look in 2050?’, when our jobs are replaced by robots, we will be left with less jobs in the industries we know now, and the cost of things will reduce due to less labour costs. Even writing, something I am passionate about and hope to do in my future, is being threatened by AI. Companies such as Narrative Science use AI to create sports reports and financial updates. This threat to the art of writing and journalism is shown in Medium’s piece, ‘The backbone of Narrative Science’s NLG Platform – It’s Quill System’, where it proves their system is going beyond it’s simple mission just to mimic human produced journalism – it seems to be doing it better, and faster.
To wrap it all up, to me the future looks like just what it is now but with a few differences, all surrounding technology. It’ll become cheaper, smarter and more influential. It is up to me, and up to you, to decide how exactly we will let it influence us and how much we succumb to its ever-tightening grip. Let’s see it for its good and what we can do with it.
CAYCE HILL, DIGITAL MEDIA CONSULTANT | LINKEDIN
When I think about the future, I get kind of overwhelmed. That’s because things have been changing so rapidly within the past few decades, it’s hard to imagine how much life will have shifted in the next few. But also, sometimes I think we have this tendency to get ahead of ourselves and so maybe the next 30 years won’t actually be that transformative. Maybe we’ll even regress a little.
There is a lot of talk about climate change at the moment and the dire predictions for the survival of our species , but I’m not going to go down that track. What I’m going to do instead is to consider the ways in which things will be better in 2050 because I’m an optimist - or at least I’m trying really hard to be!
I think, or I hope that we as a people will accept some facts that seem super esoteric at the moment - namely that we are all connected in some way or another. I think the idea of ‘hive mind’ - which has seemed to occupy a space exclusively for bees and nothing else, will start to evolve because of the internet. Now the weirdest thing about this is that I just did a quick Google search and when you put the words ‘the internet’ and ‘hive mind’ together you get an album review. But this kind of gets me to another point, which is that art and science fiction are intrinsically interlinked and will occupy a special place in predicting (or directing) what our future looks like.
So if we look at books, movies, poems, paintings, all the stuff that is beyond our understanding really of whatever it is that the future holds, it becomes clear. We’re all making it up as we go along, and maybe that’s part of it. We have to dream it first.
And if there is some collective think happening, some giant storage space for everything that humanity has thought up and/or conjured into existence, then maybe we’re already tapping into that. And with the internet, maybe things will become a lot clearer - we’re all in this together.
ALASDAIR MCDONALD, JOURNALIST | LINKEDIN
I remember when there were commercials on television selling the idea that the internet would one day be in everything. There was kitchen and laundry appliances with touch screens, and talk about how Bill Gates could help you cook the perfect breakfast by embedding his latest operating system in your toaster.
While I don't go online while standing at my fridge, or get words of advice from my talking toaster, the internet is almost everywhere. The year 2050 is almost 30 years away, and if the last 30 years is anything to go by then the future of the internet is going to be one hell of a weird ride. This year marks 50 years since the US defence department's internet precursor was launched. Since then the internet and the "darknet" have become a place for subcultures to blossom and grow.
The future will see these subcultures grow, with the internet shaping the outside world and the people around it. With the global population set to almost hit 10 billion in thirty years, a shift will see Nigeria become one of the most populated countries in the world, and India will have far more people than China. I think these shifts will see these nations and their people influence popular culture more and more. The movement of people as they migrate due to changing climactic, safety and economic conditions will also shape the way the internet is used.
By the year 2050 the internet world will be more diverse, with Africa having more influence on the world and new and emerging subcultures. With more users and influencers online from these nations a new voice may help shape the cultural discussions of the day, adding a fresh voice to the next 50 years.