As baby Hunter nears his first birthday, I have been wondering what the world will look like when he’s 18, in 2033. Here are my predictions — or really punts — enjoy!
- He won’t use cash, ever. He may, though, have a ‘cash collection’, the same way I used to have a stamp collection.
- Neither he nor his friends will have a drivers’ license. He will either use public transit, bikes, taxis, or self-driving cars.
- Neither he nor anyone he knows will smoke cigarettes. There will be fewer cigarettes sold than marijuana joints in the western world.
- He will not have any passwords. All his access will be fingerprints or facial recognition.
- He won’t need a passport, or any ID.
- He will be as practiced in making music and videos as we were in writing essays. And he’ll use them to express his ideas, both academically, extra-curricularly and socially.
- He will apply to university by providing the school a database with every homework assignment, test result, school newspaper blog entry, social media post and music video he’s done. The universities will then run their artificial intelligence algorithm to build a class that optimizes for cultural fit, future potential and diversity.
- Flights will be three times as expensive as they are now, and he will travel half as much.
- Meat will be three times as expensive as it is now. He will use it as garnish rather than a main part of a meal.
- Streets will be quieter, with more public transportation and electric vehicles.
- He and all his friends will speak Chinese.
- He won’t be able to board an airplane if he’s sick, to stop the spread of some global pandemic. Health scans will replace security scans at the airport.
- He will feel safe from crime, as police departments are given more powers and technologies to prevent criminal activity.
- He will fear the government, though, which will have expanded its powers to combat an ever more vague definition of terrorism. He will find himself self-censoring what he says online to avoid seeming anti-establishment in the years before applying to university.
- 90% of what he learns in school will be fascinating to him, and stick with him. He will be an agent in his own learning, actively exploring topics, pursuing his interests, and connecting with others inside and outside his school that share his joy of learning. His daily curriculum will not be History, English, Math, etc., but some cross-disciplinary, immersive, skills-focused new thing I can’t even imagine.
- He will assume almost everything is knowable. Instantly.
- He will be addicted to getting the latest information about everything from politics to fashion to friends, and be 100x better at quick analysis than deep analysis.
- He will get his grocery deliveries by drone.
- Half his friends will live with their parents when they start working; the other half will sleep on lofted beds to save space. He and his 3 friends will live in a 600 square foot flat and pay over 50% of their income doing so. Owning a home in London will be reserved as a ‘post-IPO’ fantasy.
- He will not apply for his first job; his employer will select him based on the online reputation he has built for himself in that field.
And things that won’t have changed:
- He will be tired and stretched too thin from all the academic, social and extra curricular things he wants to do.
- He will celebrate his 18th birthday with a cake, candle and the Happy Birthday song.
- He will still get the common cold. Tylenol/paracetamol and a cup of tea will still be the main treatment.
- He will still wear jeans on the weekends, and a button down shirt to important meetings.
- He will still develop a crush on the popular girl. And though he makes her the subject of his music videos, she will not know he exists.
- And of course, when his first love breaks his heart, or he runs out of money, or fights over dishes in the sink with his flatmates, he will always be welcome home to mom and dad.