In my last blog I introduced a 4 Question Framework to live an awesome life. And I said, the question of when, i.e. in which era we live our lives, was irrelevant, as we don’t have a choice on when we live our lives. Well, at least not as a general rule, unless we want to and we end up figuring out human cryopreservation and Vanilla Sky can happen in real life.
But let’s imagine, for a moment, that we indeed do have choice over the question of when. I would definitely go back to the future and choose to live in the 31st century. Well, only because my imagination can’t really imagine what the world might look like after that. Hell, I am probably thinking too small and limited anyways. But hey, let’s try anyways.
You live in a beautiful 100 storey building, complete with an urban farm on the roof, where you grow whatever your heart desires. Your building has its own solar and wind energy generator, its own water distillation and recycling capability. Your building is also a little manufacturing plant, with a multipurpose communal 3-D printer where you can print your furniture, tools, dishes, and shoes. You know all your neighbours, because you have time to spend with them. Your loved ones are an elevator ride away.
You are woken up in the morning by the smell of freshly brewed coffee. Your smart curtains gradually open to let the beautiful sun shine on your face. Your coffee machine and curtain are talking to your blanket and mattress to monitor your sleep phases and make sure you don’t wake up grumpy because your deep sleep is not disturbed. By the way, your blanket can get warmer or colder to adjust to your body and external temperature.
Once you are fully awake, your favourite radio station turns on. You won’t hear any news about an ongoing war. Why? Because there are no wars. Because there is equality in the world. There are no countries, no passports. The name of your country, is merely a mailing address. There are no countries because the traditional hierarchical models of government do not exist anymore. Transcontinental networks set the principles and standards to ensure technology interoperability, equal human rights and sound legal systems. Decision-making occurs more and more at the local level, more democratically.
While you’re drinking your coffee, the water in your shower pipes heats up to your desired temperature, without actually running or being wasted. While you’re showering, the water waste goes into a recycling tank that removes the waste and chemicals from the water so that it is suitable for watering your urban farm, if mother nature is not cooperating. You come out the shower, to freshly heated towels that your smart towel hook hands to you. You feel cozy and instantly happy.
Your smart fridge tells you the options you have for breakfast. You order it verbally, and the fridge prepares all the ingredients in a basket, just like a vending machine. Oh, and there is no App for that. Apps are so two-zero-five-zero. Because this all happens in the background, seamlessly, without the need for your activation or manipulation. If you don’t like making your own breakfast, well, there’s a robot for that! Your live-in-robot takes the ingredients from the fridge, makes you an amazing omelette, and serves it on the plates you designed and made by your 3-D printer last month.
Your job is probably something you have not heard of today. And forget commuting, you work from home. You have virtual meetings (yes, with handshakes) with avatars of your colleagues or clients. There is no need for introductions, your smart contact lens automatically curates everything you need to know about the person and projects it onto a (virtual) screen; their resume, their hobbies, the initiatives they have led or killed. If you know them, you get right down to business. And if not, you get right into small talk: “oh I see you’re an avid golfer”. And that meeting you set up? You don’t need 20 emails back and forth to find a mutually agreeable time. Your calendar is talking to their calendar.
Your children’s schedule is also way more flexible. They do a lot of their theoretical learning online, on their own time. Then they apply their learnings in group projects. They brainstorm with each other to solve problems, create, develop ideas, build things. They are not students, they are little entrepreneurs, little philanthropists, little artists. They are way more physically active, because their classroom is out there in the world. And they can totally play on the street. Because the streets are safe. They form meaningful friendships with their neighbours and classmates.
You fall asleep easily, because there are no blue screens, because your home creates the serenity you need in order to fall asleep and works to maintain your circadian rhythm. You fall asleep easily, because you are not stressed, because you are proud of what you accomplished today, because you did something meaningful today, you met someone interesting today, you mediated today, exercised today. You are happy, you are content, you fall asleep with a smile on your face.
Technology, has become your quiet, obedient, always steps ahead of you, personal assistant. Technology has enabled falling costs of goods, services, and resources. Technology has enabled equality, safety, transparency, peace. Technology has helped our planet earth to take a sigh of relief, to take a deep breath, to blossom. You go back to your roots and appreciate the smaller things in life. Like spending time with your loved ones, gardening with your neighbours, building your community, building the future, traveling, playing. You have time to do what really matters in life: to love, be loved, and make a difference.
This fantasy, was fuelled by movies, books, conferences, tweets, and recent announcements of disruptive technologies and/or business models such as Google’s contact lens and acquisition of Nest, Amazon’s drones, etc. As a start, check out the films “Her” and “Robot and Frank” and talks by Ray Kurzweil, Rodolphe el‐Khoury, and Don Tapscott. If you want more, subscribe to my Twitter account @ABoloorchi as I tweet such sources frequently.
Thanks, and happy fantasizing!
See below for a slideshare presentation: