Future City

futurecity1280With all of the doomsday scenarios and apocalyptic predictions, falling by the wayside as the years progress, tend to lose credence in general. To generations that we precede, we will probably be compared to Chicken Little crying, “The sky is falling. The sky is falling.” If we try to extrapolate what that future might be, by using logic and common sense, rather than crystal balls, we may see where some of the current trends will lead us.

For the past 100 years, more and more of the world population is moving either into or around cities. There is no reason to think this will stop. Agricultural work is one of the lowest paying jobs, and some of the least sought after work. It will eventually fall to machines who don’t complain or get upset about the long hours. We strive to get more production out of smaller areas of land, as the population increases. This trend will surely continue along with finding ways of producing food from areas of the Earth we don’t normally think about growing food. One such area is the shallow shelf ridge around all the continents in the Ocean.

Trying to predict the future of the internet and communication is certainly problematic, but some patterns are starting to emerge. The line between the Internet and communication systems is already blurring. In the modern countries the average inhabitant has a cell phone, a music player, a watch, and other accessories such as video players, cameras, text messaging, bluetooth wireless, and computer like storage devices. One that combines many of these functions already is the iPhone by Apple. If you take all of the current home theater, computer capabilities, phone, video and camera functions and put them into a single device you would basically have a full powered computer that could play movies or television with full surround sound. It would have the capability of recording any pictures or sound like a video camera as well as single frame images. It would have your calendar, things to do, spreadsheets, word processing, games and everything you do on a computer available to you anywhere and anytime. The software on computers is already learning to adjust and customize itself to each individual based on the way they use it. That will continue in the form of a virtual assistant, who is the central point of this communication system. It could all be driven by voice commands or even our thoughts in the future. On the way to work you could be composing a video message to your Aunt on your way to work, while your assistant organizes your itinerary for the day and reminds you of the people who you are going to be meeting with, what their children’s names are and if their spouse has a medical condition or job you should ask about. You would never be lost or lose anything because everything would have GPS capability. Theft would make a steady decline as more and more devices are given GPS capability. Just ask your virtual assistant where your keys are, and it would access the GPS position of the keys and relay that information to you in a friendlier manner such as, “They are on top of the master bedroom dresser.”

MegaCorporations will eventually take over the operation of the planet. There is already the tendency of larger corporations to devour their smaller competitors until only one Monopoly emerges in each market. Government’s try to keep Monopolies from forming not to protect the citizen’s pricing, but to keep any business from gaining too much power in any specific venue. In the United States, Almost all of the newspapers, television stations, movie production studios, and media control in general is owned by six companies. They will eventually merge into one, and that will be one of the strongest monopolies in the World. By controlling media and what information reaches the population, you can control governments and who is elected. All communication will probably be returned to AT&T which was broken apart, but is already starting to merge its children back into itself such as Bellsouth. All food will be controlled by one corporation. Who knows, General Foods might be a good candidate.

Peace will come not from treaties and the United Nations, but from the corporate markets. You can’t be selling Coca Cola to both sides of armies at war. There will probably be Corporate wars during the transition from governments to boards of directors. But think about what drives politics right now. These same politicians that are taking their campaign money from huge corporations in exchange for favors down the road, can’t turn around and bite the hand that put them there. So the corporations have already set up the system to take over. They are just increasing their leverage until the time is right. I’m not saying it is necessarily a bad thing. It wouldn’t even be that different. Don’t we already spend our whole lives working for one corporation or another? Our whole quality of life is determined by our status within that work organization. If we do well we are rewarded, and if we do poorly we either stay at that level or are fired. It will basically be the situation similar to the current environment of whether a company is good to work for or not. A good boss, like a good government will take care of you, but the inverse is true as well.