- Sam Polakoff
A Writing Exercise: Imagining the Future
I am in the process of writing my third novel entitled, Escaping Mercy. The story takes place in the year 2175. As I write, I find myself continually challenged to imagine what everyday things might be like so far in the future. Here is a trick I learned. To help envision how quickly things will change in the future, revisit the past, and accommodate for the speed of technology as you look forward. Here’s how to begin.
To imagine what things might be like in 2175, start with anything in your current daily routine and look back at the way things were in 1870.
* Getting a cup of coffee – People bought green coffee beans, roasted and grinded them and then brewed over a fire
* Going to work – People could walk, bicycle, ride a horse, or travel by steam locomotive.
* Doing laundry – People would soak clothes outdoors in a wooden barrel with soap, wringing excess water by hand and then ironing.
* Shopping – Using one of the previously mentioned forms of transportation, people would go into town and make a purchase from a locally owned retailer.
Okay, now we have a bit of perspective on how much things can change in 150 years. Today, we have near- effortless Keurig machines to make flawless coffee, automobiles, high speed trains and even Uber to get us to and fro, computerized washers and dryers and online shopping with delivery of almost anything right to our doorstep.
Now that we have the proper context, let’s cast our minds forward 150 years. My morning coffee might be ready for me at a pre-appointed time based on a voice command given to a portable, futuristic cellphone. Getting to work might be challenging because the streets will be overrun with people. So, if I cannot telecommute, I will simply hop into my personal airpod and fly myself from rooftop to rooftop. When I get home and need to do laundry, my clothes will be placed in a closet-based sanitation chamber that cleans, presses, and folds them all. I’ll still have to put them away but hey, maybe a robot maid will do it for me. And shopping? I will go online, customize everything to personal taste and it will be produced in my home on the next generation of 3D printers.
We just completed a simple writing exercise to help you envision the future. All we did is take basic elements of everyday life and used the past to determine how we might shape the future. How does this work if we take subjects that are less tangible than a coffee maker? Consider things such as air quality, fresh drinking water, adequate food supply and, medicines to combat global pandemics. These items are challenging by today’s standards. How do these topics unfold if the global population reached one trillion by the year 2175?
The beautiful thing is that you are a writer which means you can imagine the future any way you want. There is the improbable, but no one can ever say you got it wrong, can they?