2035 in (p)review: Life as we may or may not know it in 20 years

January is predictions season. And here at Banfield, we take our forecasting duties very seriously.

So in addition to reporting on how new trends and technologies will impact 2015, we are going a step further — putting on our self-lacing shoes, packing our hoverboards into the DeLorean and Marty McFly-ing twenty years forward to see what the world will be like in 2035.

Why? Because how much can you really learn about what’s coming if you’re walking with your head down looking at your feet? True future vision can only come from setting your sights far, far ahead. There’s a reason why Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is building a thousand-year clock somewhere in a mountain.

Granted, some of the insights listed below may not be as “scientifically backed” as others. And some are just downright prediculousTM. But hopefully a few of them can at least give us a fresh perspective on the decisions we’re making today, both as marketers and as human beings.

Plus, who knows, some might even come true by the time we’re back to the future.

January 

– Faced with declining voting numbers, governments around the world borrow a page from dating apps Tinder and Grindr, allowing citizens to cast their vote for a party or another by swiping left (liberal) or right (conservative).

– After accumulating information over several decades, big data has become so big that marketers are able to anticipate reality a few seconds before it unfolds. It is not uncommon for people to receive ads for chips or candy bars a few seconds before their stomachs grumble, for example.

– Everyone’s parents finally understand what “the cloud” is. Or do they really?

 February

Driverless cars remove all dangers and distractions for people who are only on the road to send and receive text messages.

– As the Earth’s population continues to get older, cryopreservation — freezing bodies to extend their lives — becomes more and more common. Recognizing an opportunity, TV networks start developing content for people to watch in their minds while they are in a suspended state of consciousness.

– The gamification of everything is upon us, including of education, work, civic life and personal hygiene.

 March

– Due to exponential growth in the processing power of computers, accurate simulations of the human brain are now possible. Researchers immediately focus their efforts on solving one of the most puzzling mysteries about human cognition: why some people are still keeping up with the Kardashians.

Tween Texting Lingo 101 appears as part of the Linguistics curriculum at Oxford University.

– After going through a series of different liquid diet crazes — and with juices, shakes and smoothies having replaced nearly all solid meals — assisted chewing devices start popping up in households and restaurants to address what experts are calling a mass “lazy jaw” epidemic.

April

– Inspired by the success of Google Glass, the iWatch and other wearable tech, a start-up launches Internet-enabled contact lenses. The first prototype allows users to blink in the direction of something to get more information about it, squint to zoom in and closing your eyes to browse content in a private window.

– Lasers! Lasers everywhere!

– Audiences around the world finally stop responding to beautifully-lit, emotionally touching commercials where a person does something nice for someone, while slow uplifting music plays in the background. You know, like this one, this one, this one, this one, this one, this one and countless others.

 May

– Reading is replaced as a skill taught in schools by “video watching”.

– The expectation of real-time responses from brands on social media leads some of them to start putting out content at random in hopes that an event will happen that is related to it. Inevitably, the marketing teams behind these lucky coincidences are praised as visionary.

– Mobile map apps now feature drones capturing live footage in real time around the planet. Users can connect to drones flying predetermined paths or take control of others remotely through their smartphones.

 June

– Michael Jordan makes a comeback to basketball at age 71 to help Bugs Bunny and the Tune Squad defeat a group of evil aliens called the Monstars, who stole the talents of real NBA players.

– With surveillance equipment covering every inch of every major urban centre, all people have to do to share photos or videos online is command one of the interconnected smart cameras to capture a moment and automatically push it out across their different social media accounts.

– The world population reaches 8-billion people. Users of the newly unified social media network Snaptwitbookgram reach a total 9 billion. Clearly, bots are to blame again.

July

– After 20 more years of humans not being able to get enough of cats and cat videos, our feline friends are accepted as a special “almost-human” species, with its own civilizations and culture. A big trend in the early years of cat society is to watch videos of squirrels doing funny things on the cat Internet.

– Our society’s obsession with youth and undiscovered “specialness” reaches new heights when a reality TV show aims to discover singing and dancing talent in hospital nursery rooms across the US.

– Every brand promise comes to fruition at the same time. Of note, Redbull made the most impressive contribution to human civilization by unlocking the secret to human flight in order to “give you wings”.

 August

Selfie enthusiasts no longer get the “I’m-such-a-unique-individual” rush they used to out of sharing photos of their outside appearance. To up the ante, they begin sharing even more invasive visual information about themselves, including their x-rays, photos of their inner ear and their DNA code.

– All international conflicts are now resolved completely free of violence, with wars being waged and won on PlaystationXL by the best Call of Duty players from each enemy country.

– Meat farming becomes so ethical that animals don’t get slaughtered at all. Instead, you get to take home your pig alive to have a few drinks together, play board games and exchange stories about high school.

September

Hashtags make it into speech in an even bigger way. Using the same referencing properties as their online counterpart, verbal hashtags allow people to track the use of words and expressions across all conversations they were used in, ever. This brings absolutely no benefit to communications whatsoever

–  The demand for viewer control over TV and movie content becomes so great that a subscription to Netflix or Shomi now gives you access to every character, set, storyline, song and theme ever featured in any kind of production so you can create episodes that are entirely customizable, in real time.

The Mona Lisa is generically engineered into a living person (her DNA was in the paint pigment all along). Within months of being alive, she releases a platinum-selling rap album entitled ‘Watcha Smiling At!?!’.

October

– After investing millions in research and development, savvy marketers figure out how to turn naturally occurring weather conditions into a marketing platform. Audiences start associating rainy fall weather with the urge to buy a pumpkin spice latte and boiling hot sunny days with deodorant. Money well spent.

– Scientist find a way for the food photos people take to bring them nutritional value. Like, the act of taking the picture actually nourishes them. It’s the future!

– Social media ‘Likes’ are officially recognized as a currency. When asked if the news was going to impact the global financial climate, a leading expert from the London School of Economics responded: “OMG, tots!!!”.

 November

– Members of the Millennial generation are now fully grown adults in their 40s. Somehow, marketers are still completely confused about who they are, what they want out of life for and how to market to them.

– The first human baby is born through a 3D printer.

– The digital world becomes such a large part of our lives that we begin to fetishize in-person moments to near religious levels. Mundane everyday life activities — like being bored on the couch with a friend or waiting for the bus in the cold — have now become something you have to pay to experience.

 December

– NASA’s Mars One program lands its first manned mission on Mars. Crew members are pleasantly surprised to discover that taking an Uber cab is cheaper than using the rover to get from the shuttle to the space station.

– The world latest billionaire reveals he made his fortune after trademarking the feeling you get when a cute stranger makes eye contact with you in a crowd.

– A person does something “because they feel like it” for the last time ever. All leisurely activities are now done or not based solely on their inherent nostalgic value —how good of a story they will become when recalled later or shared with friends online.

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