Eric Woodford’s Letter from the Future
In 1999, as the new century approached, Futurist.com sponsored a writing contest, offering a cash prize for “Letters from the future.â€ We picked several award winners, whose task it was to imagine the world 45 years in the future, and to write a letter back in time from then, addressing the people living in 1999. Our March 2000 winning entry was submitted by Eric Woodford.
Eric is a college graduate who has been working since ’95 as an IT Professional. He is also an inspiring author, currently working on a techno-thriller and that he hopes to publish some day. Eric has won $50.
November 20, 2050
Dear Citizens of 2000,
My “Late 20th Century History” professor asked my cohort to research and write a letter to you about my life in 2050. In class, we are learning about your economy, education and entertainment. According to my professor, there have been a lot of changes since 2000.
My mom is a nanobiologist and dad is a software engineer. They spend about 10 hours a day working in their virtual environments downstairs while I attend classes in my room upstairs. When they do have to leave the apartment, they use the magnetic train, which leaves from the basement. They are always connected to work via a digital headset and a pen-sized computer.
My pen computer is about 1000 times smarter and faster than your best computer. I interact with my computer using gestures, eye movements and voice. Using 3D video telecommunications, I can interact my friends all over the world. Genetic information, stored in the pen, allows me to buy my schooling securely online and opens security doors for me. Wireless technology has advanced to a point to where no matter where I am I have instant access to all my files, including video recordings, classes and reading material. Manufacturers have made the computers smaller, but people kept losing them. They have tried implanting them, but like your heart transplants, our bodies are rejecting them. Maybe the next generation will solve it.
My parents and I live in a two-story apartment on the 207th floor of a complex downtown. Our apartment is in one of many smart buildings. Every room has wireless network access. Using my pen’s digital signature, I have access to various floors and rooms throughout the building without needing keys. If I am the highest seniority person walking into a room, the lights, window tint, music volume, and temperature change to my presets. I can even program the wallpaper to change color and texture. Today my wallpaper is set to download live from the Yosemite vid-cams. With the sound on, I feel like I am actually there. If someone else walks into the room with a higher seniority, the settings change depending on preset rules. I have seniority over everything in my room, except the music volume. To conserve energy, our windows tint darker in the summer and lighter in the fall. Another neat thing is that all our appliances are integrated together. I can pull up the inventory of our fridge from my headset. If something breaks, the building’s handyman knows about it before we do.
Before I was born, I was diagnosed with Down syndrome and three types of cancer. Doctors using gene therapy learned from the genome mapping, where able to correct these diseases at birth. Disease is still a major problem. Our current dilemma is a virus that mutates every few months. Nanites, or microscopic robots, have been employed to fight this virus but they are not learning fast enough. Mom is frustrated.
I currently take 18 units of level-five education everyday. At level five, I take classes equivalent to your college or university level. People nowadays start school at a much younger age than you ever did. I am not the brightest kid in my group, but I spoke three different languages fluently before my sixth birthday. My level three classes had me solving theorems in advanced calculus by my tenth birthday. Next semester, I plan to buy classes in interstellar physics from a professor in New Europe and an advanced holographic artistry class from an artist in the Sony district of Japan. I also plan to purchase all of Albert Einstein’s lectures on physics and relativity.
Government regulations have greatly limited the visual arts. Officials say that paints, and dyes are too toxic to the environment and have been outlawed. Woodworking and metal sculpture has been banned because of the lack of expendable natural resources. Artists are now forced to use 2D and 3D holographic mediums to work in.
Our last vacation was to the low-gravity amusement park on the Moon. Next year it is a virtual holiday to the ocean, but I can’t wait until we visit my great-grandparents again at the farming community on Mars. They live in a clear, glass bio-dome that uses the water trapped in the soil and the Sun to grow most of Earth’s food. On clear days, I link to the high-definition telescope in Southern America to watch my great-grandfather working the fields.
My grandparents, Gen-Xers in your century, are starting new professions. They had just finished their second retirement and had started getting bored. Now they plan to be actors in an upcoming vid-play. They promise it will be a great comedy with some adventure. I can’t wait to download it. I have all my favorite shows stored on central storage. I have downloaded all the previews for the upcoming HDTV lineup and have pre-purchased all the shows that I like. When they come out, I can access them at anytime, commercial free and watch them at my leisure.
I have just received news from my digital-buddy Oscar, that dinner is about to be served. Oscar helps me with my homework, quickly locates information for me and plays all sorts of games. In return, I have taught him French and to play the piano. In a few months, mom says I can upgrade Oscar with the holographic module, so I can talk with him directly without the headset.
Breakfast and dinner are delivered from the complex’s kitchen every day. My parents say, this way no food goes to waste and we always get what we like. I am having Minestrone soup and crackers, while my parents are having a mixed vegetable quiche. Seldom do my parent’s friends come to our apartment. Socializing is most commonly through the vid-wall or a digital headset.
Have a nice life and come see me in about 50 years. I would like to introduce you to Oscar; he’s a blast!