On January 1, the estimable Slime Mold Time Mold requested that I write down some predictions for the year 2050. I don’t know why they did this. I’m not a technical person, I don’t read much about politics, I can’t even crudely sketch the most basic macroeconomic principles. My opinions are pretty stupid.
Nevertheless, this is what will happen. So prepare yourselves.
China will sort of stall out. European countries will hire the Chinese firms that duplicate European cities to do the same thing in Europe. The Czech Republic will have five Pragues, all equally beautiful and antiquated.
For basically everyone I know personally, climate change will mean using more air conditioning for a few decades or moving to somewhere with more favorable weather. American startups will happily hire a wave of climate refugees.
With the psychedelic renaissance complete, and the mainstreaming of hallucinogen-assisted IFS, crippling depression will be a thing of the past, although melancholy and ennui will not. Our chosen party drugs will be ketamine, MDMA, 2CB, and a lower-key version of GHB. Marijuana will be looked on as an old-fashioned affectation, and alcohol will still be culinarily relevant, but not a preferred intoxicant in young people.
My children will book a family trip to Marrakech with an AI that will take care of the whole thing, and I will be indignant about its decisions when the staff in our hotel are rude, ranting about how this is why we did things ourselves in the old days. This is basically the most significant impact that AI will have on society.
Those same children will have huge families, created by improved fertility technology, aided by government baby credits. Some children will be genetically enhanced, which will be illegal in the US, but not in the Cayman Islands, part of a freaky abundance of medical tourism that will make it normal to go to Roatan and come back super jacked.
After the next bioengineered pandemic, we’ll have to do a whole new insane set of things at airports. Airplane food will be replaced entirely with Soylent, in fun new flavors like Sweet Sriracha.
I will watch a YouTube video on how to abrade the stain-proof coating on my white shoes, in order to achieve a fashionable level of dinginess.
Great obesity drugs mean that we’ll finally be able to eat as many cheeseburgers as we want to. Artificial steak won’t be great, but there will be excellent imitation pate and cheese of many varieties.
Going to Mars, like going to Antarctica, will mostly be a status thing. It’ll be just like going to Dubai, but shittier.
Cancel culture will mint too many cancel coins, resulting in their devaluation. The world will wake up from its collective hallucination that gaffes matter; it will be not only acceptable, but desirable, for politicians to send consensual dick pics, leak their nudes, be seen smoking crack, etcetera.
I’ll take a helicopter taxi to Disneyland, and visit the sub-park Newspaperland, opened after Disney’s acquisition of the New York Times, where adorable mascots with giant ink-stained fingers will whine adorably about the controversies of yesteryear. This will be boring, so the following year, we’ll go back to the San Diego Zoo, which will have wooly mammoths. Investigative journalism will be done by a few hired guns running small publications, funded by warring moguls.
On his deathbed, Trump will convert to Eastern Orthodox, resulting in a whole new wave of right-wing mysticism.
A Giuliani-style mayor will take over San Francisco on a platform of bringing back law, order, and plastic straws. They will be part of the extended Kardashian family, or a Cyrus scion. The streets will be surveyed by drones, and suspected drug dealers will be shot with stinky gas, and publicly shamed on official civic social media accounts.
Most things will be similar. This will upset some people. Others will write feverishly about the beautiful new world yet to come, making it clearer than ever that the desire for transmogrification is an inherent feature of human consciousness. Lust, fear, and mimesis will remain the great movers. Humanity will live for at least another 100 years.
Thank you to Victoria Hogan for her priceless feedback on the first draft.