Image credit: Report: Future 2043 by Springwise
I don’t know where to start.
No technical problems or errors in the time traveling system. Also defects that were expected to be found in the dystopian future were not there. I could see it as soon as I arrived in 2044. Weather was well under the perfectly blue sky and the air was simply clean.
I wasn’t entirely optimistic about the future, but did not expect this to be happening.
The city was not filled with heavy rain under dark and heavy clouds, shattered by unbearable numbers of neon signs. Rather everything seemed to be greener and was under control until I walked around to find that streets were not crowded at all. I toured around the city a bit more, walking. I saw seniors mostly in the city.
I kept walking around the city blocks and moved toward a nearby neighborhood, expecting to see how people spend their daily lives and what they do in their neighborhood.
There were vehicles passing by flying low. It seemed like wheels were on the magnetic field as if cars were driven by the road itself. Wheels were part of the vehicle but not separated nor distinguished like we have seen in the present day. Car was more like a single unit. No distinctive front window or side doors. Anyway, all that remained was the random pedestrians on the streets. On every street corner, there were oval-shaped figures, beaming light as if it was scanning to detect potential crime scenes or something like it.
Then I walked toward one huge sleek but gigantic building where I could see more people in transit. It was the train station. As I got in the building, I followed people to take the train. The gate to the platform was between two thin transparent glass walls. As people walked through it, there was some type of electronic message that popped up on the glass walls. Probably, some type of ID check or payment processing. I walked through it and got through it without much of trouble. It seemed like my ID was in the database.
So, I took the train to check out the people in the city. As I looked around the train, something came across my mind and I noticed something was very bizarre.
I did not find anyone reading books nor talking to each other at the station and in the train. People were not standing side by side. Whether they were standing or seated, they were wearing thin seethrough glasses. Glasses were slimmer and seemed to be much lighter compared to HMD or virtual goggles in 2023 when we streamed VR content. Some must have been streaming as I could tell from their facial expression, while most of them were talking through it just like we talk on our smartphone.
Similar scenery continued on as I moved around the entire city. Society was gone. At least not in the form of what we used to live in.
After I got off the train, I ran toward the main street and saw the sign of an AI café (that was what it said). My ID was already confirmed as I walked through the entrance. I saw desks with smart glasses. I took a seat and got sucked into the virtual space as soon as I wore the glasses. It was not the whole new world as we have seen in sci-fi movies, but rather astonishingly identical with the world we live in, the world that I have just seen.
The Metaverse in 2044 was truly a kaleidoscope where I could search for basically everything -- for food, transportation, education, work, meetings, and more. I could even select an AI agent to run the whole thing like my personal assistance. Also, I found out why people were not communicating in the real world. Everything was connected for interaction in this virtual world -- real estate agents, business owners, teachers, lawyers, law enforcement, creators, architects, financial professionals, doctors, designers, and all other occupations available. Artificial intelligence was more of a hub for all types of communication. When people talk with different languages, it is automatically translated. Everything is integrated to help people straddle both worlds, real and virtual, which are powered and commanded by AI.
I knew the year 2044 was the Post-AI era. I was assured that science and technology are fallible, but Artificial Super Intelligence means that AI is everywhere. It controls everything. It’s used in healthcare to not just cure diseases but prevent them. Those who are disabled, can move again like a normal person. These are good outcomes. However, AI is used in predictive policing where real-time data is used to not just detect crimes but prevent them from happening in the first place.
The scariest thing that I found was that AI, in my opinion, would regress mankind and society in the near future.
An ever-evolving, changing language is critical among societies across the nations. Our language changes as we change. But not in 2044. The Metaverse is the perfection of technocracy, overruled by artificial intelligence, as humans are deprived of its reign by its own creature in the name of abundance and futurism. Technocracy was the true coming of the Metaverse as the lifestyle of all generations across the world is centered around it, transitioning the physical world to virtual, completely wiping out what used to be a blurred line between reality and virtual reality, was long gone by now.
Destruction of natural language as a repercussion of advancement of natural language to empower generative artificial intelligence is the outcome of human obsession for technological prowess and singularity.
As a result, or I would rather call it the aftermath of all unprecedented events, is the metamorphosis of human society going completely virtual and every decision depends upon the super intelligence of A.I.
AI was surely a brainchild of totalitarianism and technocracy and the whole society was completely engulfed by advanced services provided such as gene editing, cloning, neural network with 7G network all became part of daily lives. All I needed was to wear simple, thin glasses, lightweight and flexible enough to bend. Through the glasses, I was able to monitor my current health condition including heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature as I was walking, I could see the neon square button to push to send my current condition straight to a nearby hospital for emergency purposes. Also, I was able to monitor traffic information, weather conditions, gas and air quality sensing, crime detection mode, and IoT device control as well. So, all I needed was simple glasses to monitor my surroundings.
I misunderstood the concept of the Metaverse. It was not just a platform created by tech giants for gaming and social content. Instead, it has led to a complete transition to a new type of society, dual reality at one point before steadily being drawn into virtual life from physical one, and a mirror world that would not just duplicate but transform for better in every facet of what we would call perfect live. The Metaverse was the most transcendental of technological prowess that I would ever have witnessed. Surveillance capitalism did not seem to be worrying people’s lives as they just live with it, not considering it as the act of the government or political party. Advanced Augmented Reality, including smart glasses, as wearable and smart fashion including jewelry, clothes, and shoes were part of daily lives already. In 2044, all of these augmented reality devices are connected together. Products worn by people in the Metaverse are connected to manufacturing factories to produce and deliver after data is shared real-time. In 2044, nobody finds this dual reality eerie. It’s just normal. In the name of perfect society, every nation was striving toward dual reality, primarily focused on a virtual lifestyle where your dream job and life awaits to be true. Physical reality is just a place for servicing those common things of the past. As I depart the Year 2044, the era of great divide and collision course of modern technology and rise of future technology of which have been under development as they take place in the real world with real use cases. Year 2044 has gone far beyond a digital transition that we all expected back in 2023; it is the true coming of imagined technology. 2044 really does feel like a sci-fi movie.
My dear friend, Now, I see it through, the future, present, and the past are all connected once again. New normal in the future is what is extremely abnormal here. I have to go back to the future once again to fix things. Exact same place at the exact same time. I found someone who can figure out how to disengage totalitarianism. Can’t guarantee if I will ever come back to talk about it like today. Until then, take care.
Jin Chung is a professional futurist based in Seoul, South Korea. He has 16 years of expertise in strategic foresight, the Metaverse, blockchain, network/ digital economy, cyber security, smart cities, gaming and more. He is the coauthor of Prospects of Occupation in the Future 2050, published by the Korean national Assembly Futures Institute. He co-founded two blockchain start-ups and has served as the executive director of a Web3 gaming studio and a Metaverse platform provider. Jin Chung earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and participated in the Executive Education program for blockchain technologies in business innovation and application through the Sloan School of Business at MIT.