Dear 2002 me

Dear 2002 me, 
How are you?

I’m writing to you from the future!

First and foremost, we’re still here! Humans I mean. I know right? Who would have expected that we’d survive this long? I would even say we have advanced as a species, but you might not think so after this letter.

I now live in San Francisco, which may seem futuristic even for most of the rest of the world (with the exception maybe of Japan or South Korea) and I absolutely love it, future living is fun!

I want you to come visit me, but I’m afraid your 2002 mind would be blown completely to pieces when you arrive here (we may not yet have the technology to time travel, but this letter is in case you fall in a coma somewhere in 2002 and wake up in 2018! )

Let me describe a typical day (for the most part) :

We still sleep, in the future believe it or not. I wake up with a nice sound of chirping birds that gradually wakes me up that comes from my phone which is getting charged on my nightstand. So far you might say, what’s so different about that? You also charge your phone overnight (I seem to remember you had a NOKIA 3310 back then?) and it also has an alarm function. It even has GPRS and you can surf the internet through WAP to read the latest news you say!

Well, we’ve progressed a little since then. Most of the phones now don’t have physical buttons, but rather they have touch screens and they are pretty much unusable with one hand now. While we may still need to charge our phones, they charge wirelessly and they are waterproof! I shit you not!

Some of them also unlock by face recognition, very similar to that hot new movie that you might have seen recently with Tom Cruise, Minority report. Tom Cruise, by the way, is still making movies and pretty much looks the same.

I don’t want to dwell on the phones too much since there’s sooo much more I need to tell you, but I want you to understand one concept. Internet, the real high-speed internet is everywhere, most of us pay a monthly subscription (not unlike you paying for a bundle of 200 SMS messages per month). This means that we’re more connected now than ever. In fact, I can call Mom from San Francisco while she’s on another continent and not pay for that anything extra. I might even call her over video, and it would not cost a cent more.

After I see mom’s new earrings and wave goodbye, I now need to leave for work.
There are still busses around, and public transport still exists, but it’s easier than ever to plan your commute with a level of precision you could only dream of in 2002. In fact, most of the busses in San Francisco are tracked with what’s called a GPS which is a military device which basically means we can pinpoint everything around the globe with precision and track it while it moves. These GPS things are so cheap now that our phones come with them too. Most drivers now plug their phones into the dashboards of their car and see a live map with directions of where they need to drive, and it even has traffic updates in real time! How cool is that?

I’m not sure when my bus will come, and I can easily check with my phone, but my hands are busy tying my shoes (it’s still a thing BTW, don’t let Back to the Future fool you, shoelaces will stay with us I think until the eventual heat death of the universe) and so I ask my virtual assistant when the next bus will come. She looks like a big microphone and has very pretty lights, and her name is Alexa. She would wake up with a pleasant chime, and then connect to the internet (I told you it’s everywhere now!) and would respond in a human-like voice that my next bus will come in 10 minutes, and the next one after that in 25 minutes.

This would make me late for work, and glancing at my watch I see that I have an important meeting (smartwatches, which are miniature computer screens on your wrist are really cool as well). I don’t own a car (Parking isn’t solved yet in 2018) but I do have a subscription with Uber, so I can use my phone again (see a pattern here?) and click 2 buttons, and a car will be dispatched to my location (see GPS above) and come pick me up and drop me off at work. The best thing about this is that Uber has my credit card info and will charge me based on length of the ride and I don’t have to have cash or give a tip. In fact, I rarely have cash anymore. Amazingly I get a car with a driver that doesn’t hold the wheel! He’s just there to observe and make sure that these new types of “self-driving” cars that Uber has don’t malfunction. I hope we don’t get into an accident since these are just at a trial period. But hey, this car drivers itself so I can’t complain.

“A shot of the front interior of a car against the blurred traffic in the background.” by Mark Cruz on Unsplash

During lunch at work, we have delivery people come bring us meals we chose the week before, however, I forgot to choose a meal today, so I’d just probably drink Soylent. Soylent is this crazy thing, it’s a shake essentially that has all the nutrients you might need and can replace a meal if you’re in a hurry and it’s only costs like 5$. It can change the world, but most people I know don’t like it.

I remember that I wanted to cook a nice meal for the wife in the evening, but I don’t have time to do grocery shopping today after work. In fact, we don’t even do grocery shopping that much anymore, we order everything and it get’s delivered straight to our doorstep! How convenient is this? One service we use, delivers 3 recipes and just the right amount of ingredients so all I have to do is cut, chop and follow some instructions and voila! A home cooked meal without visiting the grocery store.

On the way back home, I casually browse the news on my phone. Something about a Pornstar suing the President of the United States or something, I don’t really want to get into politics to not scare you too much. I decide to meditate instead. I take out my wireless headphones since my phone doesn’t have any audio jacks in it and open a guided meditation app that streams (that’s using my internet on my phone to download on the fly content that I don’t have) a meditation lesson. This “streaming” is also possible with video, and I could either watch live TV, or what most younger people now seem to do, watch some gamer’s screen and watch him compete in a league of what’s now called E-sports! 
 
When I come home, my wife’s already there, and she’s reading a book on her tablet. Oh right, a tablet is a thing that is basically a handheld screen that has a computer inside. It’s really nice, however, people rarely buy them anymore. They were all the rage in 2010 and since then everybody who wanted one already has one. They are very nice for reading e-books, however.

My wife decides to prepare a meal using the groceries that just arrived, and meanwhile, I decide to unwind and play some video games. I put on my VR glasses and get transformed into another world. VR is the best let me tell you. You can get transported to the beach or to space and fly around in what feels like 0 gravity. You can explore museums and distant cultures and even experience what its like to be a baby inside a womb.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

The best part about VR though is playing with other people. Doing quests and fighting monsters while relying on people you just met online a second ago, without knowing what they look like or who they even are.

I need to cut my VR session short, since food is now ready, and we go into the living room to eat and watch a tv series. I politely tell our virtual assistant, that its time for our dinner and she turns on the TV, turns off the lights and turns on the heater (Its untypical cold outside, 2 weeks ago it was really scolding hot. Weather is really crazy these days, but I’ll tell you about this later.)

Remember this “streaming” that I’ve told you about 2 paragraphs above, this is how we consume our TV now. They even changed the way TV works, so that we now get a new season of a TV show, with all episodes all at once and you don’t have to wait week over week anymore! 👏

(By the way, that hands clapping icon is called an emoji, a Japanese thing that took over the world, and now this is the main way of how we express emotions over text. There 🎽 are 🤯 some 🤥 weird 🤹‍♀️ ones 💠 and some have different meanings that everybody knows about 🍑 🍆)

After we finish with the food, my wife is checking social media and chats with her friends.
Social media is a general world for a bunch of websites that connect people and let them share links and articles with he world. A lot of people get their news through social media, but the news is pretty much the same. Everything is great and nobody is happy.

According to the News, it’s apparently very scary and dangerously close to the end of the world every week, so I don’t want to waste this letter telling you about how Vladimir Putin is still running Russia and how there’s still no peace in the middle yawn yawn yawn.

Some amazing things in the world did change however since 2002 for the better:

Gay people can get married, and male/female balance of power is changing. Women are more empowered, and it makes me happy to bring a tiny woman into the world soon.

Bill Gates is no longer with Microsoft but instead is spending his considerable fortune to help eradicate deceases like polio and malaria. 
A private space company has managed to create a rocket that can land back and be reused, essentially lowering the cost of space travel by a factor of 5. And they are planning to go to Mars soon.

Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash

Gene editing is a real thing now, which has huge implications for our future health and diseases prevention.

And last but not least, it seems that the whole world is racing towards who builds the first General AI (artificial intelligence) and what would it mean for the rest of the world.

Anyway, I hope I haven’t blown your mind too much 🤯 with this tip of the iceberg update on what has majorly changed in this future we live in.

Buy some Amazon stock for me ;)

Let’s talk again in 10 years.