Genetic coder and silver girl power - life in the year 2030
Buzzword megatrend — Demographic change, globalisation and climate change, dynamic innovations and new technologies will shape our life over the course of the next 15 years. In addition, sharing economies and the increasing scarcity of resources are changing well-known processes. So what can we expect from 2030?
Roland Berger, internationally renowned business and strategy consultants, recently published a trend report for 2030 examining various areas of life.
You can probably forget about the dream of a renovated farm house — the future holds high-tech building block houses in store for us.
They will be ecologically friendly, energy efficient and economical — once the newest technology has been installed, they will automatically save water and efficiently use solar power as required. Also, instead of roofs, randomly expandable, mass-produced (living) units will shape the street scape. This means that numerous generations can live under the same “roof”, extensions can be built without issue and care for the elderly will be vastly improved. Furthermore, your appartment will recognise your needs the moment you walk through the door, will react to spoken commands and interconnect all electronic devices.
5D video streaming will be completely integrated into our daily lives allowing your friends and family to participate in your life via virtual video conferences. Notifications via the in-house network will appear on your wallpaper when, for example, your dinner is ready.
Food & Drinks
We will no longer ‘just’ eat. Instead, “pharming” will become an essential component of meal times. Food and drinks will not only be geared towards food intake but will simultaneously dope our bodies: food will contain substances that promote concentration, digestion and sleep, will make our synapses work faster and increase creativity.
Fast food will no longer be burgers but will be replaced by quick, ready-made, organic and healthy meals that will naturally be ordered online and delivered by bike. Packaging will contain RFID chips to enable radio-transmitted data storage: for example, the stored data might include useful information on how long the body requires to digest the food. We will obviously do all our shopping online and paper money will cease to exist.
Tomorrow’s teachers will be “global superstars” who teach virtual courses that are automatically and simultaneously translated. Also, children can start learning once they feel ready in the mornings. Courses are taught with the help of 3D technology and telepresence as well as interactive links and media, and groups will be able to use formerly independent computer-based e-learning platforms together.
Virtual assistants and “gurus” will choose customised life-long learning programmes for us, adapt these to our needs and keep them up to date. Our children will have a much greater understanding of the technological advancements and interactions in virtual and real worlds much better than we do, and will therefore become our mentors. Our multilayered worlds will have a positive influence on learning and promote critical thought and the development of problem-solving strategies.
Home office fans gather round — in 2030, we will only be spending 5–8 hours per week in the office. The rest of time, we will work from home or on the road; thanks to overarching connectivity (everything is connected to everything else) we can even work easily and securely on planes. Paper will become superfluous.
People will keep getting older and, thanks to new biochemical and medical technology, stay fitter and independent longer. The 65+ women, in particular, will remain at work longer and independently manage their finances (“Silver Girl Power”).
The professions of the future will also change. We will encounter fewer and fewer doctors, lawyers or mechanics — our children will aspire to be tissue technicians, genetic programmers, pharmers, data miners, virtual reality actors and simulators or knowledge engineers.
Our vehicles will be intelligent — there will probably still be a percentage of carbon-emitting cars but that number will decline. Instead, we will be driving for example hydrogen-powered cars that reject any dirt with the help of nanotechnology, and determine the car’s individual taxes and insurance through GPS devices and black boxes.
Car sharing and pooling will become extremely popular in cities as congestion charges and toll roads are introduced in order to reduce smog. In general, holidays will be faster and shorter. We will go on short trips around 4 to 5 times a year. Thanks to supersonic aircrafts, we won’t need longer than 5 hours to get anywhere in the world (if we are willing to pay). China will become the most popular travel destination.
Space travel will also become a reality and 20 years after market introduction it will even be affordable for the man on the street. In three hours, we will fly 100km to enjoy the view of the earth while experiencing zero gravity before we set off back home. The total cost will be between USD 3,500 and 100,000 — the main travel operators will probably be located in Dubai.
Communication using mobile devices will be much closer, more regular and more consistent than today. We don’t only log into websites for work, we also have private dashboards to organise our dates, calls and messages, to connect with others or attend virtual conferences.
Furthermore, we will no longer need to learn or speak foreign languages. English will remain the lingua franca but thanks to automated simultaneous translation, everyone will be able to communicate with everyone else. The result is that minority languages and dialects spread much further and become more developed. Linguistics will be able to concentrate on a completely different area namely communication between man and beast.
In addition, there will be numerous community platforms that are not hierarchically structured where members are accepted due to personal interests and preferences, and in which they network, debate or take part in 1-on-1 interactions. This means that complex cultures and decisive systems will operate hidden from governmental bodies and are no longer virtually measurable.
We will redefine the concept of the family. The term family will no longer be restricted to the core family, e.g. parents and children, but will also include the so-called ‘periphery family’ such as avatars, community partners, networks, e-teachers and personal assistants. Time spent with the actual core family will be reduced. In this sense, our idea of cohabitation will probably also change.
Digital vacations: As digital media is sometimes better, more extraordinary or special than reality, we will spend entire weekends or longer in the visual world.
Simply doing nothing: If you can’t be bothered to do something — fine! Thanks to functional nano materials, we will have self-cleaning windows, bathrooms and furniture; the personal digital assistant will take of your daily routine by organising appointments, trips and medication, will give you financial and legal advice, and will monitor your home networks. If you can’t make it home after work, you will be able to find solace in special T-shirts that simulate the presence of a loved one.
I consider the vision of the future as presented by the strategists at Roland Berger slightly too positive. Won’t there also be other developments? What do you expect to see in 2030? Does that fact that tracking software can measure your daily exercise level and communicate this to health insurance providers not remind you a little of the police state in “1984” (George Orwell)?