Predictions of the Future: March 2020 Edition

Predictions of the Future: March 2020 Edition

(This thread originally had 99 likes when I stopped doing predictions so you get exactly 99 of them, written March 12th, 2020... a lot has changed since then)

1 like = 1 prediction about the future with no evidence or logic provided.

Also probably many will be poorly considered.

Okie, let's get started. And sure, I'll take questions: if you want me to predict something specific, just ask and I'll do it if I have an opinion.

1. Within 10 years, most genre fiction authors will be in heavy competition with AI-generated or AI-guided work that evolves out of GPT-2 or similar algorithmic approaches to literature.

2. Post-apocalyptic literature is about get a massive popularity boost that will ripple through all forms of media for the next decade, but it's not going to be the zombie fic that's been popular for the last decade. Probably more realistic and survival/prepper in nature.

3. (Next moral panic?) Ooh, good one. Hmm. Moral panics tend to be about things kids are doing that adults don't and which are perceived to be dangerous, but which are tame enough for MSM to discuss: I'm gonna say underage VR/AR sex play in virtual or augmented spaces.

4. (What will be the theme / plot / genre of the next big fanfic-with-names-stripped that makes it to mainstream cinema a la 50 Shades?) We're a little early for vampires to come back still, fantasy/magic is on the way out with Potter and GoT's finish, and current trad trends make me think that it'll be a "return to nature and community" type love story with a poly-ish slant.

5. (Harry Walton: What I will be? Will I be pretty? Will I be rich? Will I become an e-boy?) Harry Walton is attractive enough that someone will indeed consider him pretty and is already an e-boy, but rich will be difficult unless he defines it in terms of his own self-love and well-being as he grows in wisdom and acceptance.

6. Health care reform will be the #1 voter issue for the next decade and nursing/medical technology solutions are going to give us a shot in the arm to make it possible.

7. The 90s were about gritty cynicism, the 00s were about dystopian fantasizing and media explosion, the 10s were about hopeless cynicism, and the 20s will be a return to hope and community in the wake of 30 years of collective exhaustion with these themes.

8. (How will people who like your thread each give me a 100$?) This will not happen.

9. Tech is the new finance. It's not going anywhere, all the alpha-douche guys of the next generation will keep flocking to it, and it's going to be vilified in a variety of media takes. It'll spawn a new movement that uses tech but doesn't identify as "tech" like we know it.

10. Bitcoin and derivatives will not gain the prominence as currency that true believers expect, but the underlying technological concept will become indispensable for decentralizing authority in various community dealings.

11. We're too early for another Christian reawakening (probably 20-40 years away…) but the 20s will have a strong spiritual reawakening, probably aligning with 60s and 70s themes given the drug zeitgeist.

12. Interest in home ownership will continue to grow in spite of market conditions, and doubly so if COVID actually does do some significant hollowing to elderly populations. Group homes / family homes will become more popular. Probably ~5 years out on this one.

13. Personal/community/experiential knowledge will continue to rise in popularity over expert advice, with grim results for a surge in anti-vax fear driven sentiment.

14. Despite a trad/conservative minor backlash, trans rights and media depictions will continue the media and social evolution pattern of gay rights in the 90s/00s--nonbinary folks may be a (minor) new whipping person for a bit but my guess is foreigners will be the prime demon.

15. We'll see at least one rise of a totally new type of videogame genre akin to the survival/minecraft/fortnite stuff of the last decade that'll morph out of the those genres and probably involve emergent narrative.

16. Lefty wokeism and righty NRx will go through similar evolutions as feminism in the 90s, where people will distance themselves from the label because of public perception but carry the ideas into new movements and update for the current social vibe.

17. We will have a female president but not for at least another 2-3 election cycles and more likely some flavor of new conservative that appeals to dems with health/equality/compassion positioning.

18. Self-sufficiency in the home is going to explode in popularity (this is an easy prediction, it's already happening) but it's going to spawn a bunch of new DIY biz and tech opportunities for creative people moving into more responsible tech solutions.

19. Space sci-fi is going to massively decline in popularity despite the best efforts of Musk and Bezos as people let go of their parents' space travel fantasies from the 20th century and focus on a different set of collective imagining about humanity's future.

20. Gene editing your kids will be a divisive social topic of grave collective concern and also extremely common within ~30 years. People will have Strong and Bad opinions on both sides of the issue.

21. Large families are coming back. We're moving away from the era of 1-2 kids.

22. Card games and board games will experience continued decline along with physical toys for kids. Imagination and social games will probably see an uptick though. Expect less Monopoly and more Werewolf/Apples to Apples/playing in the woods.

23. The hyper-protective trend for child-rearing will spark an intense counterreaction in the kids growing up and forming their own families now and we'll see that trend reverse over the next 20 years. (Gimme some more questions, I feel like I'm stuck on a few themes for the moment)

24. The future of knowledge work is decentralized and independent with a massive surge of self-marketing and self-employment advice/books/media coming. Individuals will be even more mercenary but coordinate for fluid knowledge transfer across firms.

25. (Impact of artificial wombs on abortion question?) Probably too expensive/outlandish to hit social consciousness for 20ish years minimum but once cheap and freely available it will be pushed hard by conservatives unless social systems don't get the overhaul I expect them to.

26. (Fashion?) Fashion trends for the next decade will probably increasingly favor utilitarian looks and traditional gender norms as a response to the last ten years, and then we'll get a color/whimsical pop in the late 20s/ early 30s as a reaction to that.

27. ( How bad do you think climate change is going to get? Do you think we'll slash carbon emissions, or just slowly transition to renewables as they become more economical.) Climate concerns are going to continue being a pressing issue and we'll try to solve it via collective action, but more likely adaptation and relocation will be the dominant strategy and it will provoke a lot of social angst.

28. Transhumanism and post-humanism are going to be the new scifi themes of the 30th century that captures public imagination, spurring interest in tech that makes that possible, longevity research, and metaphysics. Coincides with more entheogen use.

29. (How can we best reclaim the latent occult power of 300,000,000 peoples' attention from capitalist dystopia?) We'll see some shamanistic resurgence with the other themes I mentioned, but most people still won't openly believe in this or will misunderstand it like they do now. Individual practitioners in the shadows, just like always. This is for the best.

30. Riffing on my last prediction, if belief in metaphysics and spiritual energy does go super-mainstream and people accept that it works again, expect witch-killing and ostracism to come back. People are scared of magic when they think it's real.

31. (What's the future of psychiatrists and psychologists and mental health?) Psychology and therapy will increasingly focus on bringing spiritual concepts into their practice over the next decade or two, including more guided self-healing with entheogens, but they'll downplay the woo woo aspects of it and frame it in science.

32. (Is there a real underlying reality or is reality a mass hallucination with rules defined by an unconscious consensus?) Come on, you can predict what I'll say here. There is no such thing as "real reality" that anyone can directly perceive, just consensus reality for any given population. Awareness of this truth will remain flat like it always has.

33. MDMA and psilocybin or chemical equivalents / milder derivatives will be the wonder-drugs for healing emotional trauma, depression, and anxiety in the 30s and 40s after a bunch of research over the next decade.

34. Incarceration rates will go down in the U.S. with increasing distrust of authority figures sparking no one wanting the job of cops, and we'll see a return to more community-oriented law enforcement in about 15 years. This will have very good and very bad consequences.

35. Prepping goes even more mainstream and we handle the natural disasters of the 20s so much better than the 00s and 10s, but not because the government gets its act together.

36. Direct ownership of expensive material possessions falls even more out of favor over the next decade with increasingly creative technology-assisted social sharing schemes for private ownership of luxuries like boats and vacation homes. Ostentatious wealth displays are over.

37. Expect more weird science experimentation of fringey types on themselves along trans-humanist themes with esoteric biology mechanisms. This will become more common and within 30 years may be both a moral panic and create a new oppressed group.

38. Expect more rigid policing and enforcement of heavily gendered norms over the next 20 years than in the last 20. This will be about presentation rather than permeability. Boundaries will be crossable but we'll see a return to elevation of social roles matching presentation.

39. Cognitive overload and increased skepticism of info from untrustworthy sources will cause marketers to have to adapt their tactics for ever-increasing highly personalized and genuinely authentic messaging. Selling will need to become more about pull than push. (more questions please, I still have a ton of these to do)

40. Videogames will go the way of Netflix/Spotify and become a subscription service that you pay a monthly premium for with creators paid on a usage basis. This will coincide with more legislation banning gambling mechanics and provoke a lot of controversy about skinner boxes.

41. Videogame addiction will be elevated to a similar social stratus as alcoholism in prior decades but with slightly less personally destructive trappings. We'll see more moral panics about what to do about it.

42. Polyamory will decline in popularity over the next two decades as the zeitgeist tips traditional.

43. Expect to see a surge AND a subsequent decline in intentionally planned living communities. It will get more popular for a while but people will discover they prefer being less intimately tied to a single group over time and want their freedom of movement and action back.

44. We're all just going to accept mass public surveillance because the genie is out of the bottle and trying to evade it will be seen as very weird and suspicious. Room will be made for privacy in personal spaces though because people need and want it.

45. ( Will artificial intelligence become self aware? ) Yes, but we'll still argue about it endlessly. Eventually we'll just accept that it doesn't matter and that our language around this is imprecise and we'll communicate/deal with it just like anything else that manages to express preferences.

46. The path to emulated minds will turn out to be not via direct-brain scans to produce copies of one-self that experiences itself as a copy but in a reproductive transmission of personal values and preferences to a self-aware AI simulacrum that closely mirrors your personality.

47. Direct-brain technology insertion for computer-assisted cognition, recall, and communication will not be a mainstream thing in the next 40 years but the military will lead experiments with it and it'll be like the next internet.

48. People will still be playing EverQuest and Minecraft 20 years from now.

49. Voice commands with natural language processing will be the private primary tech I/O of the future, but we'll need solutions for public I/O and communal workspaces that allow us to not constantly be mumbling out loud as we walk around.

50. Cats will not decrease in popularity. (pausing to eat some lunch and wait for more questions since I'm running out of steam and have been doing this for 2 hours)

51. I will return to this thread in five years since I saved it in Roam and laugh about how wrong I was about everything.

52. Recycling will become less popular within 20 years unless we find a better way of actually dealing with reusable materials and you'll see more of a push for reusable or disposable alternatives if green trends continue.

53. Stargazing and knowledge of constellations will continue to fade as both an activity and a meme from collective consciousness as we continue to look down at our screens instead of up at the sky. This dovetails with less interest in space travel.

54. The elevation of world travel as a desirable and laudable activity for personal discovery and enrichment will take a roughly 8-year hit in the public consensus eye.

55. The U.S. will lock down immigration controls even tighter over the next 15 years corresponding with a new wave of xenophobia.

56. Education trends will create a decrease the value of an undergrad education and push for an increase in certification and training programs. Trades will become more popular. Knowledge work gets more competitive.

57. There will be a strong push for legislation allowing for looser controls around alternatives to the existing medical/hospital framework and community nursing practice, tech-enabled remote prescribing, etc

58. Driverless vehicles will become mainstream within 15 years and the norm within 30. This will have MASSIVE and difficult to predict impacts on everything in our day to day lives.

59. Choosing to drive your own vehicle will become a hobby activity over time and be considered irresponsibly reckless in 30 years, akin to not having anyone in your car wear seatbelts.

60. Someone will come up with a solution for passive/interest/availability for casual conversation signalling to friends in a way that zoomers don't read as sad/desperate and it will become wildly popular once it's integrated into a mainstream phone OS

61. The weird insect die-off thing will continue and people are going to get REALLY WORRIED about it in the next 10 years.

62. While we won't get official confirmation ever, belief that 9/11 was known to government officials in advance and allowed to happen will become an increasingly common POV as we continue to gain distance from it in coming decades.

63. Salesforce is going to continue eating the sales and marketing industry as a colossal behemoth of integrated solutions for another ten years and then nimble competitors will start making real traction at cutting out their dominance.

64. Computer operating systems will become less and less visible and open to user modification over the next 20 years in favor of tightly controlled prefab OS solutions that present excellent UX/usability for the most common PC activities.

65. We're going to see much tighter controls on public communication in the U.S. over the next 15 years and private communities will increasingly be where any interesting discussion happens.

66. Phone calls and video chat are going to become very popular again as people seek more human connection and also because their content will be harder to transcribe/monitor than text

67. Drone wars and proxy wars and biological weapons are going to capture the public imagination as we continue to decrease voluntary military enrollment and military narratives become less relevant to the average citizen than immediately post-WWII and Vietnam

68. We'll see a MEGA-popular trans musical artist emerge in the next 15 years (like not Taylor Swift popular but probably Lady Gaga popular) but they'll be somewhat neutral on the activism front until they get really big.

69. The next wave of mega-popular boy-bands will include at least one trans FTM member in one of the bands.

70. If an increased sense of spirituality and metaphysics hits pop culture, the popularity of Otherkin will explode as the new hotness for teens looking for a way to piss of their parents.

71. Trends in teen drug and alcohol use and reduced frequency of teen sex will continue for at least another 20 years, hard to say beyond that--this won't reduce the frequency and furor of various moral panics over new stuff that pops up.

72. Increased knowledge of and access to birth control methods, trad values swinging back, and decreased sexual activity among teens will lead to less teen pregnancy than in the last 40 years.

73. Because of increasing distance of the average person to military narratives, work environments will increasingly move away from obvious command and control type management on the surface while still finding levers to direct and control employees.

74. Between the already trending remote work stuff and the viral push for solutions to WFH, we'll see way way more of it and supporting industries and tech, but these will mostly involve finding ways to monitor output and work activity better. Some positive, some negative.

75. Handshakes aren't going anywhere as a social norm. We'll see six months of avoiding it and then it'll be everything back to normal in that regard.

76. Decreased trust in institutions and traditional ways of investing for the future after the 2008 and current stock hits will cause people to invest their money in new, creative, leveraged risk-averse ways and invest in themselves and tools for mitigating future risk.

77. Nothing will materially happen with the availability and ubiquity of firearms, either handguns or rifles, in the U.S. over the next 20 years. You'll probably see a surge in demand and production actually.

78. Unless they massively change some marketplace strategies or are able to adapt in a way other large corps haven't been able to, Amazon is going to have 15-20 more years of market dominance, Bezos will retire for humanitarian projects, and someone will disrupt their model.

79. Disney is going to own every remotely interesting mainstream media property over the next 30 years and we still won't have any decent sprawling Star Wars RPGs.

80. Bio-engineered weapons targeting the longterm fertility of specific categories of genetic makeup are going to both increasingly be a trope in scifi and an actual thing governments will develop. Someone will test one within the next 40 years and it will be a Very Big Deal.

81. Within 10 years, we're going to see a wildly popular technology emerge seemingly out of nowhere that's as mindblowing to our current selves as bluetooth or iPhones were and its impact is going to be wild. I have no idea what it will be.

82. Portland will continue to try to position itself as a tech hub alternative on the West Coast to Seattle and San Francisco but will fail to gain real traction there as social attitudes toward tech continue to worsen

83. Nothing materially different will happen with women burning out on traditional tech and we may see additional decline in favor of women opting into friendlier, newer tech-adjacent industry alternatives with the same set of skills but a different legacy

84. The next big up and coming industry to do miraculous things and capture the public imagination and excitement is going to be biotech, most likely.

85. We're going to see a renewed elevation of caregiving and motherhood in the public imagination even though it still won't coincide with financial rewards over the next 10-20 years.

86. Someone will create a mega-popular solution for private ownership of your whole body of personal information (medical, psychiatric, preferences, etc) that you can personally opt to instantly share with individuals or institutions at-will at any level of granularity you like.

87. The previous prediction, if true, will cause a MASSIVE disruption to existing advertising models and supported industries that will dramatically shift power away from the big tech firms unless they get in early, which some will.

88. If neither previous prediction is true, businesses are going to spring up around generating disinformation and noise tied to one's personal identity and info gathered by third parties.

89. Email in its current form is going to become a thing most of us don't bother with anymore within 15 years, much like how physical mail communications have changed, and a new dominant type of communication for biz/professional correspondence will spring up.

90. A new (but traditionally-influenced) model for masculine ideals to aspire to will capture the popular imagination within 15 years as a response to the current zeitgeist around masculinity--unsure if this will be easier or harder for men though. This one's kind of a fuzzy idea

91. Big, towering gaming and artistic PCs are going to look very, very quaint and "old-timey" within 20 years.

92. Programming will continue to become more user-friendly and abstracted for most common purposes as more and more people get into it and additional tools and layers are placed over existing structures.

93. No one will remember anything about John McAfee in 20 years except a vague association with drugs and dolphins.

94. Bezos pulls a Gates and goes mega-humanitarian as he continues to age and tires of his empire, directing his resources towards whatever he thinks the biggest problems in society are.

95. Musk goes down in history as an interesting guy with wild ideas and some success but gets increasingly conservative and withdrawn as he ages and gets overshadowed by other upcoming mega-genius types within 15-20 years.

96. The drug war does not get reignited but also decriminalization outside of marijuana doesn't happen for 20+ years outside of very specific medical settings. It just kinda stops being a thing people talk about much.

97. If COVID affects the supreme court substantially we'll see a major conservative shift in legislation.

98. Trump is still President in 2022.

99. Kids growing up in the current weird YouTube TikTok children's entertainment era won't think it was any weirder or more damaging to them than our childhood entertainment was for us, but there will be larger gaps across generational understanding of shared ideas.