The past is a foreign country, or so it’s said. Well, so is the future – especially in these times of rapid change. Fear not, Almanac readers, our psychic has the inside scoop ten years early so you can future proof yourself.
There’s a lot of talk these days about 2030. The boffins say we need to be well on the way to saving the planet from the worst effects of climate change by then. This might seem depressing, but I can see hope for the future. Here’s some other things I can see for 2030.
The 2020s will be a period of massive transformation. In fact, this is already underway, and it will gather pace in the coming years. Recent political trends are part of the pattern – darker forces, threatened by the coming changes, are trying to manipulate us and make us feel frightened. But I am not seeing these efforts succeeding.
By 2030, things will have come full circle. We’ll have a new world order that no longer values economic growth above all things; saving resources will be the new priority. But things won’t be perfect by any means. The world of work will be completely different; many of the jobs we take for granted now will no longer exist. With robots making people redundant, lots of people won’t be happy with where society is headed. There will be social unrest for a time.
But we will iron out these problems. It’s true that robots will take over lots of the work that humans do today, but we will create new jobs. Plus, governments will begin to pay their citizens a basic income, regardless of whether they work. And the rich will be forced to contribute more in taxes. This might seem crazy in today’s world, but a hundred years ago, the idea of social welfare would seem just as ridiculous.
By 2030, technology will be almost invisible. I’m seeing smaller gadgets, worn in the ear or possibly elsewhere on our bodies. These will give us constant information; they will even translate foreign languages instantly.
Holograms will be part of everyday life, and technology will be activated by a simple gesture. I think computers and smartphones will be quaint memories of a bygone era as I’m not seeing these familiar devices; it seems instead that technology will be all around us.
Virtual reality will also be big. This will bring a new set of social problems as some poor unfortunates become addicts, preferring their own personal utopia over reality. And who could blame them? But I can also see humans connecting with each other – otherwise it would be a very lonely future indeed. Most of us will learn to use this technology for our benefit, so it’s not all bad.
For those who can afford the latest technology, homes and offices will look very different by 2030. If you’re one of these lucky folks, you’ll be able to change your decor with a wave of your hand. When it’s time for work, you’ll command your building’s integrated computer to load the workspace programme. You’ll still have annoying co-workers, but you’ll connect with them remotely.
When work is over, the living space can become whatever you want. A home gym? No problem. A dinner party setting? Sure! Or perhaps a romantic theme to impress your date. If you’re not one of the privileged few, you’ll have to wait a few more years to take advantage of instant backgrounds.
By 2030, medical treatments will be individually tailored. Nanobots will deliver treatments wherever they’re needed in the body. I’m also seeing a handheld device that’s passed over the skin, but I’m not sure if this is for diagnostic purposes or if it’s a treatment in itself.
‘Real-fake’ or ‘deepfake’ videos are going to cause problems over the next few years. For a time, we won’t know what to believe, as celebs and politicians caught up in scandals claim they’ve been ‘faked’. Public opinion will split on many issues. The good news is that this won’t last long because before 2030 arrives, we’ll have new technology that can weed out the fakes. On the plus side, think of the memes we’ll be able to make!
In the cities of 2030, technology will make our surroundings more pleasant and efficient. You can forget about the depressing future we see in sci-fi movies. I’m seeing beautifully designed high-rise buildings covered with greenery. The people walking along the city streets seem happy, the air seems clean.
Everything from traffic planning and public transport, to waste management and energy supplies, will be instantly adjustable. We’ll feel safer, and you won’t need to phone your local council three times get the streetlamps outside your house fixed, or to have the rubbish your neighbour dumped in the laneway cleared; it will be done before you even know about it.
Across the world, cities will get much bigger, although I’m not seeing huge cities here in Ireland. But we will see other changes. I’m seeing robot builders putting together walls made from something other than concrete. Buildings will be taller, with lifts that don’t just move up and down anymore. It seems we’ll have more options as to how and where we build.
I think the houses of 2030 will be much cheaper as a result of these changes – great news for many young people who think they’ll never afford their own home, not so good if you’ve invested a lot of money in property.
Not everyone will be content to live in the cities of 2030 where everything is monitored. In this cashless society, you won’t even be able to buy a packet of crisps anonymously. Some won’t be happy with this level of scrutiny and will live in ‘off grid’ communities where they can barter and grow their own food.
Food & Farming
In 2030, farmers won’t have to do all the hard work themselves. I think they’ll spend much of their time overseeing robots. I can see robots tending to animals and crops, and drones flying over plants. It seems that everything will be controlled to maximise efficiency and output. A good thing too, as there will be lots more people to feed.
There will also be different types of farms – we will grow food indoors and in cities. In fact, by 2030 some parts of the world will no longer grow food outdoors. This doesn’t seem to be the case in Ireland, although I think Irish farmers will branch out into new types of farming. I’m seeing meat products growing on plants and vending machines that ‘print’ food at the touch of a button.
I’m seeing uncertainty around the climate of 2030. It seems that parts of the world will no longer be habitable. Building under the ground will begin to make sense – although we might not be ready for underground skyscrapers just yet!
There will be public debate about climate refugees, as some countries try to avoid doing their bit to help these poor unfortunates – some things never change. Luckily, things appear to be fairly stable here in Ireland. We will gradually adjust to more extreme weather: our buildings will be climate-proofed, and crops will either be grown indoors or protected.
There will be unprecedented efforts to save the planet. We’ll plant more forests and invest in carbon capture. Plus, transport will be turned on its head because by 2030, driving to work alone will be almost unheard of. Working from home will be the norm for most office workers, even when Covid is a distant memory. For those who must commute, there will be car-sharing schemes and clean fuel public transport. Traffic jams will be a thing of the past.
And speaking of transport, cars won’t look like they do today. With the transition to self-driving cars almost complete, they will be re-imagined as spaces for work and recreation, so you can make the most of your time while getting from A to B. In fact, by 2030 we’ll be talking about flying cars!
There’s plenty more changes on the way – both good and bad. The future will be whatever we make it. And we’ll continue to adapt and survive, just as we’ve always done. Bring it on.