Life was pretty different 100 years ago. There were a few Model T Fords around, but with only 1 in every 50 people owning a car, most walked or travelled by horse. And life expectancy was a lot lower; you’d be very lucky to live to 50 years old, and flushing toilets, bathtubs and hot water were luxury amenities…
How much the world has changed. Multiple forms of travel available to everyone, convenience stores on every corner, and revolutions in technology have given us access to instant chat and video calling around the globe. So what about 100 years into the future? Presumably people will look back at the way we live today and chuckle at our old-fashioned ways and routines. That’s what we’ll be exploring, in this episode of The Infographics Show, Things We Do Now that Will Seem Primitive In 100 Years.
Today we are transporting ourselves into the future, 100 years from now, so we can imagine how people will perceive 2018 when they look back…what they might see as ancient, crazy or just downright primitive.
At number 10 is Manual driving – We are at the beginning of the driverless car revolution, spearheaded by Elon Musk and other forward thinking entrepreneurs. There are now 52 different companies that have been approved by the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test autonomous vehicles on the road.
These include names such as Tesla, Ford, Waymo, Uber, BWM, Apple and many more. There will no doubt be hiccups, and an unfortunate recent fatality involving Uber dominated the headlines last week, but with a long-term view, we can imagine roads with driverless cars will be far safer. Figures in 2016 and 2017 show that road related fatalities in America topped 40,000 per year…driving a car to the office in 2118 will be likened to riding a horse to work today.
At 9 is The War on Drugs – The phrase war on drugs was popularized by the media shortly after a press conference given in 1971 by President Richard Nixon. With good intentions, the administration’s agenda was directed toward eradication, interdiction, and incarceration.
But 40 years on, and nearly 50 percent of America’s current criminals in prison for drug-related crimes, the debate continues about the effectiveness of this war. Since 2011, the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which includes names such as Sir Richard Branson and Kofi Annan, have been promoting an agenda to advocate for drug policies based on scientific evidence, human rights, public health and safety. The future society will look back on this era and wonder why we continued to push policies that were ineffective, and locked people up instead of rehabilitating them.
Number 8 is Gender Labeling – It has never been easier to make a personal decision on gender beyond the physical attributes you are born with, and as medical capability continues to advance and gene manipulation becomes more accessible, this will only become easier. Societies around the world are currently in disagreement about how to label or not label gender variations, with Canada leading the way in 2017, after they placed gender identity and gender expression into both the country’s Human Rights Code and the hate crime category of its Criminal Code. In the future, concepts such as male and female will have less meaning as gender takes on a far wider variance.
At number 7 is Manual Labor – Artificial intelligence is a hot topic right now, particularly as people question whether it will increase unemployment rates as robots continue to replace workers. A recent study by the Midwest Economic Policy Institute (MEPI) estimates that by 2057 robots could replace or displace 2.7 million jobs in construction. But is it really that terrible? Many business leaders argue that to balance the onset of AI, developed countries will need to introduce universal basic income to ensure citizens are not left high and dry. So maybe our 100-year future is more utopian than we can yet imagine. Robots doing our jobs while we sit back and drink Margaritas.
At number 6, Traditional Education – Though school facilities and skills of teachers have improved dramatically, the education system itself has barely changed in the last 100 years. But new technologies like AI, machine learning, and educational software are changing the shape of education for students, and disrupting the role of educators, by creating philosophical shifts in teaching approaches. The future is likely to look very different with systems catering to the large number of different learning styles. Instant access to information will mean that many things do not need to be taught and there may even be a day when we have information chips merged with our brains. Kids will look down from their classrooms on Mars and ponder at our backwards existence in 2018.
At number 5, World War – For decades people felt world war 3 was coming and that it would be nuclear, ending our world. But a threat can sometimes be a deterrent. It hasn’t happened, and we’ve had nuclear capabilities since 1945. The next war is likely to be cyber centralized, as the economic damage that can be caused by taking down a nation’s communications systems, is far greater than nuclear war.
But can war ever end? Sci fi writer John Horgan argues in his 2012 book, The End of War, that war is an invention, like cooking, writing or marriage, and humanity can abolish war, in part because we abolished slavery. Horgan says that to end war, we just have to advocate for the unacceptability of it. In all countries, at all times, especially when tensions rise. Even if there is another major world war, it’s likely that 100 years from now we will have worked out how to live peacefully, without it.
At number 4 is Physical Money – Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last 12 months, you will have heard the terms Bitcoin and Cyrptocurrency thrown around. There is much hype about these decentralized digital financial exchange systems. More will come and many more will disappear, but as the Internet becomes more greatly entrenched within our everyday lives, it’s only a matter of time before physical cash disappears forever. If a 10-dollar note exists 100 years from now, it’s likely to be found hanging on the wall of a future museum.
Number 3 is Plastic – Plastic has been around for about 100 years but it was only in recent times that we have started to realize the devastating side effects it has.
A recent study showed that a patch of plastic garbage in the Pacific Ocean amounts to twice the size of Texas. Newspaper The Guardian states that for the past half century, plastic has infiltrated modern life to such an extent that our oceans may have more of the stuff than fish by 2050! But things are already starting to change with bans on single use plastic coming into effect, and continuing shifts in our habits when it comes to recycling. In the future, it’s likely that much of our energy will come from waste recycling and the things we use plastic for today, will be replaced with materials that can either be consumed or that are biodegradable.
At number 2 is Fossil Fuels – Our reliance on fossil fuels began in the 1700’s when the industrial revolution kicked in, but as electric cars become more affordable and charging stations more commonplace, gas-powered vehicles will slowly disappear. Add to that the reduced cost of solar and other alternative energies, and it’s hard to see a world in 100 years that has any necessity to burn the heavy CO2 fuels we rely on today.
And finally, number 1 is Processed Sugar – 100 years ago you could buy heroin, cannabis and cocaine over the pharmacy counter. Today one of the most addictive substances on the planet is abundant in many foods and consumed by children. Last year The British Journal of Sports Medicine wrote that sugar could act as a gateway to alcohol and other addictive substances. Like cocaine and opium, it is refined from plants to yield pure white crystals. As more health related issues are realized from the effects of over consuming refined sugar, it is certain that regulations will be introduced to reduce how much is in the food we buy and eat. In 100 years, it’s not unimaginable that people will question why there was no war on sugar when there was a war on drugs.
So, what other current things will seem primitive 100 years from now? Let us know your thoughts in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video called Do These Things to Survive If You’re Stranded on an Island! Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!