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??