I’ve always been a big fan of sci-fi, space exploration, and adventure movies set in the future – from cult classics like The Fifth Element to more recently, The Martian.
The joy and entertainment I get from this genre is sometimes from the crazy, outlandish, action-packed plots…or the really bad acting and cheesy lines. But almost always, it’s that glimpse into a possible future that just sparks my imagination around what can be accomplished when you combine human ingenuity with super cool tech.
That’s why when Vodafone approached us with the opportunity to support their new brand positioning focused on the theme of optimism about the future, I was totally sold. Launched just over two weeks ago, I’ve been seeing their new strapline everywhere – ‘The future is exciting. Ready?” and every time, I can’t help but agree (sometimes in my head or out loud at busy tube stops), “You know what? The future IS exciting!’.
The work we were commissioned to do was a piece of research to identify some of the most exciting and optimistic trends that could dramatically change our lives for the better in the next 10-20 years. Working with renowned futurists from around the world, including the awesome Gerd Leonard (who was kind enough to drop by our offices and leave us a copy of his latest book Technology vs Humanity), along with the combined power of the great Futerra brain – we came up with an initial list of over 100 trends (!) before boiling it down to the top 10.
You can find our briefing paper here.
Ranging from smart, connected, livable future cities, and large-scale projects that can bring clean energy and water in abundance to remote areas, to shifts that will completely transform the way we travel and what we eat – there are some amazing examples of how our world could look very different from the way it does today – for the better. Many of these trends could be traced back to one key driver, which is the exponential speed of technological advancement.
It’s truly fascinating, and take it from me – a true gadget girl with everything from an Apple watch to the Amazon Echo (aka Alexa) – I am all for technology helping make life easier. But what I’m talking about goes way beyond being able to track my steps and fitness goals at the tap of a button. It goes beyond calling my mom by speaking into my wrist whilst my hands are tied making dinner. It even goes beyond asking a little cylinder in the corner of the living room for answers to things like ‘what’s the weather today?’ or ‘tell me a fun fact about dogs’.
What our research dug up are signs of incredible technological developments in areas like healthcare – where it will become increasingly affordable to be able to analyse our DNA and treat hereditary diseases decades before symptoms start to appear. In travel, imagine having access to mass public transport that can propel passengers at speeds of 600mph or higher – that’s like going from London to Zurich or from New York to Chicago in one hour – how insane is that?
What possibilities will having access to clean, cheap, abundant energy unlock for people around the world? As artificial intelligence becomes more useful, saving us from having to do boring, menial, repetitive or even dangerous tasks, what will that mean in terms of how we choose to spend our time and brain power? Will we have space to do more of what we enjoy and develop new skills, or learn a new language? Imagine living a life where you no longer have to be burdened with the responsibility of car ownership and were able to connect with others to get the things you need for a fraction of the cost. Sharing really is caring!
Obviously, technology can be good or bad depending on what you make of it, but you can say that about most things. After all, you can use a backpack to carry your laptop to school…or wads of cold hard cash robbed from a bank. Okay, maybe not the best example, but you get what I mean.
Let’s for just a moment, think about the future in a positive light. Away from all the doom, gloom, and wariness sometimes portrayed in our favourite robot thrillers, and instead, towards a reality that is bright and full of promise – it’s exciting! Well done to Vodafone for choosing to shine a light on it! 😎