Life in 2035

A fictional futuristic view of challenges the human race faces due to the ever-increasing number of screens in our lives.

It was way back in 2007 on the 29th day of June when Steve Jobs introduced the world to the first iPhone. It immediately changed the way us humans reacted with non-living objects and changed the dynamics of interaction in what is possible between a human and an object. We became so obsessed interacting with this object that both consciously and sub-consciously we forgot that it was just a piece of glass that we were rubbing and touching with so much diligence every single day.

I remember publishing this photograph (sorry, it is not in VR) way back in 2015 on one of my blog posts highlighting what we are actually doing subconsciously…rubbing on a piece of glass!
What we are doing isn’t natural, is it?

It has been 28 years ever since and as I am sitting here in this messy cabin in the hot month of May 2035 and narrating this article to my handheld, I am astonished as to how nobody saw this coming! Our world became so full of screens, so fast that we completely forgot to research the side-effects it may have. As humans we have (selfishly) neglected the thought of what might happen if we kept rubbing glass for more than two decades! I think we should have taken the case of the young gentleman, who lost complete sensation on his fingers 5 years ago, a bit too seriously. A few doctors did speculate that it was because he was too addicted to his handheld but we rubbished their claims then. And as of last year, research has proved it definitely that rubbing these glass touch screens indeed make the sensitive nerve endings on our fingertips numb. While doctors are heavily experimenting with medication, I believe that designers and engineers today have this huge liability to mankind to solve this problem and I hope they have gone back to their drawing boards already. Yes, in the midst of the third decade of the 21st century, the need of super tactile surfaces have emerged and it’s better late than never!

It feels so funny when you think about how nature plays with our lives. Since Facebook launched in 2006, we were on (what seemed like) a never ending journey to becoming the most egoistic, selfish species in the universe. And honestly, with the addition of Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, it seemed like we were never going to stop.

A few of us did highlight this to the world (see the grabs from a funny video shot back in 2014 below) but that didn’t make us stop.
A great representation of how egoistic we have become due to social media

As mankind got enough of portraying themselves to the social media and as and when social media started to integrate closely within our lives, being egoistic and the false portrayal seemed, well…stupid. I do not know if you have noticed, but mankind has come a long way from what we were a decade or two back. We have become more and more altruistic as a society today. We do not portray our fake selves anymore. That whole gap between who we are online and who we are in real life no longer seems to exist today. You have so many people helping others out selflessly with real life solutions to their real life problems. I think it is very interesting to see how the social media, irrespective of the medium, has transformed into a place where you can simply vent out your real life problems to people for moral support. It is amazing as to what extent connectivity has solved real life issues of human beings, even of a 44 year old man like me. Who could have imagined of the way we even live today? I think a concept like shared housing would have been a taboo back in my day. Who could have thought decades ago that by 2035 we would be living like nomads and meant it in a good way? The pace of this transformation of the home in today’s hyperconnected world is unbelievable. We move from one place to another without even owning a single place, work, live and socialise remotely and if you asked kids these days to imagine a time without connectivity, I’d be damned if anyone came up with an image of the world I grew up in!

Yes every society, in every age, has its challenges. Today mankind is faced with the problem of reducing the number of screens and making more products labelled with “Super Tactile/Finger Friendly” coupled to a health rating! However, I am an optimist. I credit the society in its ability to transform into this altruistic structure and I am hopeful for the future. I see it as a new age of interesting interactions with the products I own, I perceive. I have more people supporting me in my times of low than what I could have wished for, ever. I can’t wait to get my hands dirty with whatever new products are on their way for us to consume and make us feel, well…a bit more human!

This piece of fictional content has been written in context to my design project where I am exploring human altruistic behaviour through super-tactile faceless interaction methods within the home of 2035. Thank you for reading!