These days, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with the present — from commercial rocket ship launches to new strains of Coronavirus to every TV show from the ’90s and 2000s being rebooted. It gets overwhelming, so picturing the world at the next turn of the century brings up images where we drive our flying cars in a virtual-reality Metaverse existence. While there are no crystal balls to show an accurate snapshot of the world to come in 2100, we asked around for some educated guesses to get a better insight as to what some think the future will look like.
When futuristic fashion comes to mind, what does that mean? While there is always the distinct possibility that future generations will dress in the bold, retro-futuristic garments depicted in sci-fi films, odds are what’s old will become new again. After all, fashion trends are cyclic and follow a 20-year rule, meaning the trends we see now will be reborn in 20 years.
“A lot of trends from the early 2000s will be coming back,” said Olivia Sayegh, a junior majoring in exercise physiology. “A lot of what we are seeing now is a lot of Y2K fashion being trendy again,” added Sayegh, who said she predicted her grandchildren would wear low-rise jeans and baby tees in 2100.
“Hopefully, fashion trends will transition into being more environmentally conscious,” said Vivian Brunke, another junior majoring in exercise physiology. While Brunke also said she sees many Y2K fashion trends resurrecting every 20 years, she hopes to see clothes made using more minimalist, environmentally sustainable materials.
While the future may not forecast flying cars and intercontinental teleportation, steady technological advancements suggest innovations and enhancements shall be made for more cruise-worthy cars and faster jet-setting.
Will Carello, a junior majoring in international studies, said, “I think the entire world will be mostly using electric vehicles, especially since they are rapidly growing right now.” Carello also forecasted the growth of public transportation because he believed people would opt for more environmentally friendly modes of transportation.
“I think faster planes will be the difference in transportation,” added Sayegh, who said she believes that flying cars are too futuristic for this and next century.
Social media is a large part of life today, with endless scrolling and liking projected to continue as digital media assume new forms. While Gen Z will likely watch these new social media take flight within their lifetimes, the question remains as to which social media platforms survive the test of time.
“TikTok will continue to be pretty huge,” said Carello. “Our attention spans seem to keep shortening with each passing generation, so it makes sense that short videos would remain popular,” he added.
“Given how consistently people have used it since it was created, I think Instagram will still be relevant,” said Sayegh, citing the platform’s steady increase from 110 million users in 2013 to 2.2 billion in 2022.
“Unless [Mark] Zuckerberg makes a major mistake, I see Instagram lasting and still being relevant in the future,” said Burke. Zuckerberg, the creator and CEO of Meta, who purchased Instagram for $1 billion in 2012, renamed Facebook to Meta in 2021. Including platforms like Facebook, Threads, Instagram and WhatsApp, Meta plans to take social media from two-dimensional screens to a virtual reality, immersive experience.
“If we’re lucky, V.R. experiences will help us to empathize with others very different from ourselves,” said UM philosophy professor Richard Chappell. Given its ability to expose us to people and places we would not meet or see in our day-to-day lives, V.R. experiences pose the opportunity to provide people with more perspective.
While ideas such as the Metaverse provide insight into the future of digital media, one cannot help but wonder what the political landscape will look like in years to come. Will the relevant issues still be pressing in 2100, and what problems will arise in the future?
Carello, who is on the pre-law track, commented on the issues he foresees dominating the news cycle headlines in 2100. “I think politics will focus mostly on climate change and civil wars over natural resources by 2100.”
“Some political issues I see being most relevant are climate change, abortion, right to healthcare and gun control,” said Brunke. “As much as it pains me to say, I think politics will unfortunately become more polarized.”
Chappell seemed to agree saying, “growing polarization is an obvious concern. The increasing tendency to dunk on those we disagree with rather than trying to understand or reason with them strikes me as an unfortunate development.”
Chappell, whose effective altruism in philosophy course at UM strives to get students thinking about trade-offs between different types of values and their causes of major world issues, said he believes moral and ethical disagreements will not disappear.
“To reduce overall conflict, we’re either going to need to stop sharing our personal views and values in common spaces, or learn to better tolerate those whose views and values differ from our own. I vote for the latter.”
Only time can tell what the world will look like in 2100. However, we can each do our parts to make the world a great place for future generations because what we do today will impact tomorrow.
words_caleigh russo. photo_sharron lou. design_laurie vuong & lizzie kristal.
This article was published in Distraction’s Fall 2023 print issue.
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