What does the world of 2030 look like?

Some interesting thoughts about the future we want to create…

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

I recently took part in a “Dialogue in the Dark” session at a Futurist conference where they literally turned off all the lights and had the audience put on blindfolds and simply listen. There were expert panelists but they weren’t on stage, they were strewn throughout the audience so they were “part” of the conversation.

It was the most fascinating and moving experiences I’ve ever been to. The fact that the topic of discussion was about the future of the world only served to heighten its viscerality in my memory.

Some recent predictions about the year 2030:

  • India will surpass China as the most populous country.
  • There will be 8.5 billion people on the planet.
  • The international community, United Nations, World Bank will have eliminated extreme poverty.
  • Internet access and literacy will be universal.
  • 3D printing will have grown dramatically. Buildings as well as human organs will be printed.
  • Because of the products available on the internet and growth of 3D printing, half of the public malls & shopping centers in the United States will be closed.

That’s where we started and there were 4 futurists who started the conversation off by talking about speculative fiction and how the stories we portray of our future help us to ask the hard questions such as: If you were faced with a Kidney transplant, would you take a 3D printed one or a real one from a real human body?

Some of them painted what a typical life might look like in that distant year.

They say that the human mind can’t really fathom things beyond a year out, so it becomes difficult to think of something that’s 13 years out.

But just even think in terms of decades. If you’re 30 today, then in 2027, you’ll be 40, and in the year 2030, you’ll be 43. What kind of world do you want to live in?

There’s an exercise that I came up with that I play with myself when trying to predict the future.

A Predictable Time Machine Exercise — Give it a try!

This is an exercise in WHAT IF? So say, you want to predict and foresee the world 10 years from now. You ask yourself, “Could I have predicted where the world is 10 years ago?” That year would be 2007.

That’s not too bad. We’re not too far removed from where we are today. In 2007, the iPhone had just been released. Most of us had flip phones and blackberries were the hot new thing. The concept of the “cloud” was just starting to be discussed in research facility hallways. You can imagine your life in 2007.

But say you wanted to predict the future 20 years from now, say in 2037. Then you have to ask yourself, “Could I have predicted the world of today 20 years ago?” That would be the year 1997.

Now it gets more tricky because only people good at reading some very faint signals could have predicted what we have today.

In 1997, Google hadn’t even been founded yet. There was no YouTube. There were no “smart” devices. AOL was in its prime and going strong. In fact, a year later You’ve Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan would be released. This Buzzfeed article explains more.

So, looking at all the things we have now and the devices we can’t live without and internet sites that have become part of daily living, could we have predicted the advent of mobile devices and products that can be delivered in under 2 hours with Amazon Now, etc.???

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” ~Abraham Lincoln

It becomes very apparent that it is a hard thing to be able to predict the future because there are just so many variables that contribute to it.

So rather than predict it, why don’t we then inspire it?

We have so many dystopian stories out there. Movies that spell doom and gloom and warn us of the dangers of AI or machine learning. We even have an aversion to a utopian world because we think that a world that is too perfect is a boring world. We’re full of contradictions.

But if you ask yourself what are the qualities that we need to build a better and brighter future?

You come up with the qualities of Curiosity and from there you get Hope.

The one thing that stuck out to me the MOST during the entire 90 minute discussion in the dark, where we could only listen and not see the participants was the apparent fact at how influenced we are by each other and the words that we use and the paradigm that we have.

To change the world, we have to change our narratives.

That one singular sentence was a lightbulb, a flash in the dark (no pun intended), that shown so brightly in front of me that everything else fell away into the darkness that already filled the room.

It’s the stories we tell ourselves as a culture, as a society, as a world that define the future that we all end up living in. Why aren’t we creating more aspirational stories that are full of possibilities? instead of scaring ourselves constantly with the threats of too much technology.

There are whole fields out there that are just emerging. Such as meta-genomics that talk about the microbial beings that live in our body, on our body, around our body and all the genetic contributions happening on that scale in the fields of health and medicine. It becomes more and more apparent that we’re all interconnected. And that to progress as a human race, to push us forward, we all need to come together in some sense.

A Big Beautiful Tomorrow

What this “Dialogue in the Dark” did was demonstrate that we’re all equal. If you took away the visual queues of how someone looks, we all have a very similar voice (whether introvert or extrovert), and that’s a voice that is starved… Starving for HOPE.

We need better stories. We need positive stories. We need stories that uplift us and demonstrate what’s possible not only for our own lives, but for the future of the world.

Let’s change the language we use. Let’s change the narratives of the world. And maybe, just maybe, we can create a bright, big, beautiful tomorrow.

Call To Action

If you have any positive uplifting stories about the future that you would like to share, put them in the comments below!

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Jonathan Chew is a Disney Imagineer, Positopian multipotentialite, writer, coach, inspirational speaker, and work-in-progress. He lives in Los Angeles with his newly-wedded wife. He’s on Twitter @jonathangchew, is the co-author of Secrets to Being a World Changer, and is on a mission to “Chews” Joy.