Your Planet Sustainable?Your Tribe Harmonious?Your Life Vibrant?
Future Proof Ideas since 2005, by Erwin van Lun

2020-2035: Mediacompletion

Ever since the invention of electricity we’ll building a virtual world around us. In this world we can experience things when we want to, on command, on call, preferably on our lazy couch in the living room. That world is being created step by step. Telephone was a part of it, radio and television followed. All developments under the heading ‘digital’ fall under this too. I call it the maturing of the media context.

In the coming years all sorts of new screens will be developed. Their one big similarly is that they all respond to us. To what we say, to how we look, how warm we get (how our temperature changes), to the gestures we make and even to how we walk. But we’ll get less response to what we type using a keyboard or click with a mouse. These artificial extensions of computers will disappear. The new style screens give us the sense that they’re windows to a box with in it an endless virtual world, integrated with the physical world through the window.

The experiences we have will be as real as possible. Bigger screens, matching lighting and holographic projections are part of this. But our other sense (hearing, smell, taste) will be stimulated too. In the truly long-term these experiences will be controlled by microscreens in contact lenses and deeply-nestled ear plugs. Apart from being super-tiny these micro-devices are so incredibly functional that we won’t even need a telephone anymore.

The virtual world is creating a layer around the physical world. Later we can ask questions and receive answers regarding anything we see: ‘what are they building here?’, ‘where are my car keys?’ or ‘how do they build such an igloo?’ Where young parents drop out of their children’s upbringing, brands in a dialogue continue, and that completely automated. The more advanced this world gets, the more complex the questions we can ask. What we now call ‘radio’, ‘television’, ‘navigation’, ‘game console’ or ‘telephone’ has been swallowed whole by this virtual world. We’ll get exactly what we want on every screen and we’ll be aided by coaching brands. After all, we won’t want to choose. People want to have a choice, but they don’t want to make a choice. The principle of publishing, programming a human’s time on earth and advertising will have disappeared completely later on.

Although we’re inclined to view the virtual world as something to take the developed countries further, it’ll be mostly the now less-developed countries that benefit from this. Through mobiles that’ll be connected across hundreds of kilometers and will recharge themselves through solar energy, even the most remote places will have access to knowledge that was never before available. And not as text, but as visuals so that reading is no longer needed to absorb knowledge. Also illiterates can just watch movies, ask questions and share experiences. Furthermore it’ll mean that artificial country borders will slowly disappear: I call this process denationalization.

In the mature media context, in a world which we control ourselves completely, everything is about experiences. Experiences we learn from. Experiences we can talk about later. Experiences that touch us deeply. The experience economy hyped in the physical world, has yet to begin and will largely take place in this virtual world. We’re already on the right track, but in the next decade it’ll truly shape up.

Latest observations for 2020-2035: Mediacompletion

Latest observations for 2020-2035: Mediacompletion (in Dutch)