Hi, I’m Gracey. Let me tell you about your future.

I’ve just turned 21. The year is 2035. These postcards describe my world. It’s a world I hope you get to enjoy too.

*Not a pic of the real me, but I’m getting there. Courtesy Eli DeFaria

Dad has told me stories about what life is like for you, and it makes me sad. The world in 2035 is very different to your world. I want to say it’s better, but I don’t know enough about your world. Dad says everyone is much happier today than they were twenty-one years ago, when I was born. I enjoy happiness and fulfilment more than sadness and slog, so I’d love to tell you what life is like for me. Maybe by telling you about my world I can bring a little hope to yours.

From what dad has told me, there are two big differences in our worlds. The first is that we think very differently. It’s almost as if our brains are wired differently, and so we measure success differently and we think very differently about what it means to be alive on this planet.

The other big difference is that we don’t rely on middlemen as much as you do. We still have banks, churches, governments, hospitals and schools, but hardly anyone goes there or uses them anymore. It’s so much quicker and easier to do things by ourselves.

These two big differences — when combined — are the main reason why we no longer have poverty, unemployment, inequality or an imbalance of power. We don’t concern ourselves with ineffective government, corrupt or incompetent politicians or even democracy itself. Institutions like education, healthcare and public science and research have long been transcended. For many years now, no-one has been concerned about personal privacy or even challenges to individual’s rights.

As for our environment in 2035, the planet is pristine. Dad tells me things used to be pretty bad. You might be worried about global warming and climate change caused by economic activities. But believe me, everything’s going to be OK — if you can find a way of achieving these two things: thinking right and removing middlemen. They must be done together.

I know this might sound like some science fiction fantasy, but this really is what my world looks like. If you’re curious, I’d love it if you’d follow along. I’m going to send postcards describing more of what our life is like. Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to figure out the “how” of getting here. But I’ll make it easy for you, by showing you technologies your world already has to help you get here.

“The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” —William Gibson, science fiction author

I’ll also send Big Questions to Explore — these are questions you can use to stimulate discussions with your friends, your class or even your fellow entrepreneurs. The questions will relate to the idea raised in each postcard and are designed to help you discover developments happening now that you might not know about.

Dad tells me that the unfolding story you’re living through is one where everyone — in every country — is becoming more discontent with a deepening economic crisis and the powers that created it. He says it feels as if capitalism is approaching its completion. From what I know:

  • Capitalism requires constant consumption for it to keep working;
  • Consumption requires consumers;
  • Most consumers require jobs in order to be able to consume;
  • Progress usually involves removing or reducing mundane tasks, so there are many jobs being automated out of existence, in the name of progress;
  • Automation reduces the ability to consume.

I don’t know about you, but this sounds like a crazy ride down a dead-end street. That’s why we abandoned capitalism a long time ago. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Stay tuned and I’ll tell you more.

With love,
May 2035

A Note from Dad

Have you noticed? Western capitalist democracies around the world are in turmoil, and there are many doomsayers quick to point out how bad things are.

There are also tech utopians who preach that technology is the silver bullet to all our grand challenges. Plenty of predictions, but few discussions of how society itself will evolve. While it is useful to understand the unraveling, it is equally important to learn to see what we’re emerging into.

I’ve always wanted to write about the vision of the future world that’s somehow been sent to me. I also didn’t want it to sound like science fiction. Soon after my daughter was born in May 2014, I started wondering about and researching what the world would be like when she turns 21. Much of what I discovered scared and saddened me, so in 2017 I made the bold (and audacious) decision to define the world I’d like her to enjoy on her 21st birthday. This is that (ridiculous) undertaking.

I’d love it if you followed along, participated, ridiculed, questioned and guided the process. It’s time to crowdsource our future.

Cape Town
June 2017

Postcards from 2035 is a series of profoundly simple interlinking ideas describing life in a highly desirable society, where everything and everyone is advanced, happy, intelligent and problem-free. It’s a blueprint of the world we need to create. The best thing you can do to help us get there is to share with your friends and get the conversation started.