New Year, New Outlooks, New Utopias?

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Image: flickr.com/Josh Boles

So, here we are. It is the first week of the new year, the holidays have ended and everyone is slowly getting back to their busy working mode…after all several resolutions have been written down and new goals have been set, right?! J

I am also settling back into my work routines, catching up with the latest global mobility news and looking through several outlooks and predicted trends for the upcoming year(s). One such outlook posted by the World Economic Forum especially caught my interest, as it invites the reader to the year 2030 and described a somewhat utopian picture of the future.

According to Ida Auken, Member of the Danish Parliament, by 2030 we might be heading towards a scenario, in which we own nothing, yet have access to everything. How come? Well, by 2030 we would rely on clean energy, which will have become free and dramatically lowered the different transportation costs. So why own cars, if there are freely available services of driverless and flying cars? The ease of transportation will generally change many products into services. In the author’s scenario, you wouldn’t even bother to own a pasta-maker at home, as it can be easily delivered to your door within minutes.

So, as soon as we stop buying products, we would stop motivating producers to make things with a short life-span. And how do you make things to serve for long-term use? You make them durable, repairable and recyclable. Isn’t that a beautiful vision? Clean energy and clean products! In this scenario all alarms about global warming seem like a bad dream.

Naturally, in a world of driverless cars, there are many more jobs and industries taken over by robots and AI. What is left for us? Thinking, boosting our creativity, and enjoying the remaining free time doing other things we like.

Sounds like an environmentally friendly socialist paradise, doesn’t it? A clean environment, easily accessible services, no ‘work’ in its traditional sense anymore… But what about the cost of living in such a society?

In Auken’s world it is the total absence of privacy: ‘Once in awhile I get annoyed about the fact that I have no real privacy. No where I can go and not be registered. I know that, somewhere, everything I do, think and dream of is recorded. I just hope that nobody will use it against me’. Indeed, in this world, people do not even have to pay a rent, because their space is being used by others, when they are not there…

So, is it utopia, or rather dystopia, where there is no privacy and, hence, no freedom? Some food for thought as we embark towards the New Year!

3 thoughts on “New Year, New Outlooks, New Utopias?

  1. Here’s to hoping that driverless cars never catch on. To me, they’re not just transportation. I love cars. I love the driving experience and being able to head to the mountains for a weekend. I love working on my cars. I like reading about cars and debating which is the best. I personally would never want that taken away.

  2. I’m kinda sad reading this, because it means that it is more challenging than ever! “What is left for us? Thinking, boosting our creativity, and enjoying the remaining free time doing other things we like.”

  3. Not too fond of the idea of an Utopia. I think as long as we stay human (meaning we arent merging with machines becoming cyborgs) then we need some sort of struggle, its a part of us. Without it we become slobs, unhappy, unfulfilled. We can see this already IMO.

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