How Will We Live in 30 Years?

Pieter Ardinois visited NextUp today and, as I always do, I went to his blog to check it out.   He has some really great posts about imagination, creativity and new media and I recommend that you read some of them.  He also pointed me to a short film that was made in 1967 by PhilCo-Ford simply entitled “1999 AD”.  It provided an imaginative view of how the “instant society of tomorrow” would live.  They got the basic concepts right: e-commerce, e-mail, e-banking; but some of the tools used are based on the way things were done at the time (letters were generally handwritten so no QWERTY keyboard, just knobs and a handwriting digitizer). Interesting that they did envision flat panel monitors and fast personal printers.  

What stikes me the most about this film is the realization that people in 1999 would be connected and that connectivity would be a major factor in how we would live our lives.  Pieter makes this great observation about the implications for today:

To understand where we’re heading to, it’s really important not to focus on the techniques. We can’t get past short term imagination. It’s important to abstract the possibilities and imagine the impact those possibilities could have on our lives. Imagine that people back in 1967 started to think what impact the global connectivity could have on their daily lives. Not the fact that they could pay bills online, not the fact that they could by a nice shirt, but the abstraction of that all: the fact that they could share knowledge.  When we’re trying to get a grip on the future, I think we need to abstract the habits from their material context and focus on the possibilities. When using those possibilities to design a solution instead of creating a product to a known solution, we’re creating the future.

How will we live in 30 years?? Given my age, I only hope to be living comfortably and healthy with my mind still sharp.  But what about my daughter and her children?  In a world of rapidly accelerating, discontinuous change, we are so busy trying to keep up that we can hardly image what things will be like in 30 years.  How will we live, work, get from place to place, be entertained, conduct commerce, communicate?  How will “local” be defined (actually, thats a good question for today). 

What are your abstract ideas on what the future will look like in 30 years???

Bonus trivia question: do you know who is playing the part of the dad??

4 comments so far

  1. Pieter Ardinois on

    Thanks for recommending and sharing yout thoughts.
    I really like your quest for the definition of local. History learns us that technological (r)evolutions are in some way almost always serving the need to communicate. The improvements resulted in a faster communication, over a longer distance and reaching a bigger audience. I think that model is changing now. That model is applied when assuming there’s one source of information and the need of big audience. Right now, we’re entering a time where the audience is the source of information. Perhaps because we reached the speed limit in transferring the message. What extra is there to add when I can reach the world in one split second? I think there will come a need to improve the message. Improvements like authenticity, genuinity, open, …. The time of using technolgoy as added value to speed up a communication model could eventually change in embedding the technology to standardise a communication model.

  2. Audio Equipment Speakers on

    Seeing how the economy is going today I can see even more of a connection between the different countries. With the advancements in the past taken into consideration I can only imagine what the world will be like in 30 more years. How will medical technology advance? How will communication advance? If you look at what we have today with the internet and cell phones the possibilites are endless. This reminds of a show on the History Channel I watched recently on the technology of Star Trek and how they had all of these props on the show that are now becoming a reality.

  3. Paleo « Ardi XIV on

    […]  Hoewel er niets overeind bleef van dat blog, vond ik vandaag nog een extract hier: https://nextup.wordpress.com/2007/06/24/how-will-we-live-in-30-years/ To understand where we’re heading to, it’s really important not to focus on the techniques. We […]

  4. best niches on

    Awwww what a video! How high tech and convinient this is. It is interesting to see the thoughts that people put into products of everyday use.


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