Welcome to 2030. Welcome to my city – or should say “our city”. I don’t own anything. I don’t own a car. I don’t own a house. I don’t own any devices or clothes.
This is the concept of the future presented in a text published by Forbes magazine in 2016.
We transmit the text in its entirety:
It may seem strange to you, but it makes perfect sense to us in this city. Everything you considered a product has now become a service. We have access to transportation, accommodation, food and all the things we need in everyday life. All these things one by one became free, so in the end it didn’t make sense to own much.
Communication has become digitized and free for all. Clean energy became free, things started moving very fast. The cost of transportation has dropped dramatically. It no longer made sense to own cars, because within a few minutes we could call a driverless vehicle or a flying car for longer trips.
We started to transport much more organized and coordinated when public transport became faster and more comfortable than cars. Now I can hardly believe that we have accepted congestion and traffic jams, not to mention air pollution from internal combustion engines. What were we thinking?
Sometimes I use my bike when I go to a friend’s house. I enjoy exercise and driving. Some things never lose their significance: walking, cycling, cooking, drawing and growing plants. It makes sense and reminds us of how our culture came into being in close connection with nature.
We do not pay rent in our city, because someone else uses our free space whenever we do not need it. My living room is used for business meetings when I’m not there.
From time to time I will choose to cook for myself. It’s easy – the necessary kitchen equipment is delivered to my door in a few minutes. Since transportation became free, we have stopped cramming all things into our home. We can simply order them when we need them.
This also facilitated the breakthrough of the circular economy. When products are turned into services, they are never interested in short-lived things. Everything is designed to last, to be repairable and recyclable. Materials can be easily transformed into new products. Environmental problems seem far away, because we use only clean energy and clean production methods. The air is clean, the water is clean and no one would dare touch the protected areas of nature, because they represent such a value for our well-being. In the cities we have a lot of greenery and plants and trees everywhere. I still don’t understand why in the past we filled all vacancies in the city with concrete.
Shopping? I can’t really remember what it is. For most of us, this has been turned into a choice of things to use. Sometimes this is fun for me, and sometimes I just want the algorithm to do it for me. He knows my taste better than I do.
When artificial intelligence took over much of our work, we suddenly had time to eat well, sleep well, and spend time with other people. The work we do can be done at any time. I don’t really know if I would call it work anymore. It is more like a time of thinking, a time of creation and a time of development.
At one time, everything was turned into fun and people did not want to bother with difficult questions. It was only at the last minute that we learned how to use all these new technologies for better purposes than just killing time.
My biggest concern is the people who no longer live in our city. The ones we lost along the way. Those who have decided that for them it is all too much, all that technology. Those who felt useless when artificial intelligence took over much of our business. Those who were upset about the political system and turned against it. They live out of town. Some founded small communes. Others simply live in empty and abandoned houses in small 19th-century villages.
From time to time I am annoyed by the fact that I have no real privacy. I can’t go anywhere without being registered. I know that everything I do, think and dream is recorded somewhere. I just hope no one uses it against me.
All in all, it’s a good life. Much better than the path we took, where it became so clear that we could not continue with the same model of development. All these terrible things have happened to us: diseases, climate change, the refugee crisis, environmental degradation, completely congested cities, water pollution, air pollution, social unrest and unemployment. We lost too many people before we realized it.