The world population is due to pass the seven-billion mark in the next few weeks, according to the BBC. As society and technology continue to develop and as humans we continue to run out of space, What can we expect from the world over the next, say, ten years? What will our lives be like?
I'm prepared to make a few guesses. One benefit to blogging is that once you've uploaded your entry, your thoughts and predictions are date-stamped, meaning that if these thoughts become prophecies you can prove exactly that you'd foreseen the events. Thankfully, in 21st century Britain, we have (largely) stopped hunting witches. We celebrate forecasters, like 1984 author George Orwell and recession-predictor Peter Schiff, for their wisdom and do not burn them at the stake. So presumably, it's okay for me to throw my visions out there. I'm sure other people have described similar scenarios- I'm not claiming to be the second Nostradamus. But what if...
2) The government will step up efforts to curb the burgeoning population, using the points system (used to control immigration in the UK) as a model. Those wanting to give birth must attain enough points (scored from parenting skills, sustainable income, good health, good character) to be given permission to raise children. Give birth with insufficient points, and social services intervenes.
3) Nightclubs will play music louder than ever before. Music will be faster, being heavily influenced by the 90s rave scene. Establishments will stay open 24 hours. Women will wear less, sometimes clubbing in only underwear. Revellers will occasionally commit sex acts in public- even on the dance floor. Some clubs will tolerate this. Hearing problems will become more prevalent older people who had been frequent clubbers through the 90's / 00's. In younger people, these problems will arise earlier in life.
4) In clubs and bars, people will rarely approach in person as a first move. Instead, they will use the world's most popular website- Facebook. You enter the club in person. You “check in” to the club on Facebook to show your Facebook friends where you are. This will also show anyone on the club's page that you're there. You see someone in the club- in person- that you like. You check the club's Facebook place page. You check the recent check-ins, which appear like a list of friends. You find your target and send them a message. Tell them what you're wearing and where you are. Those who have completely lost the ability to converse (a shockingly high number) will use the “poke” function to get attention. If the poke-ee likes the poke-er, they approach each other. It's long-winded and tedious, and is for people who hate rejection. Some years down the line, they will realise getting blown out is the same however you do it. Using Facebook just takes more time.
5) Revellers will stay out later at the weekend, sleeping through the day and reversing their sleep pattern for two days. This will impede on the UK's economy as the work rate slumps. Those who don't go out drinking (mostly Muslims) will keep the jobs and succeed in them. Racial tension will escalate. Shares in companies that stock blackout material will soar as demand increases from clubbers, eager to block out the morning's rays from their bedrooms.
6) Meanwhile, over in Libya- a country that has seen forty years of tyrannical suppression- is experiencing a cultural overhaul. Gaddafi and his regime are dead. In 2011 it had the lowest divorce rate in the world. It will no longer hold this status as democracy creeps into the former dictator-led nation. Elections will take place in June 2012, according to the BBC. It will take a very long time for women to gain the kind of equality seen in Europe, but Libyan women's rights will steadily develop. In the next ten years, however, they will still not have the same voting freedom a Libyan men.
7) Veils and burqas will become less popular in these eastern countries, yet more popular in the UK. Tension between white people and Muslims in Britain will decrease over time, but national attitudes towards full-face veils will force MPs to make a decision, resulting in a veil ban. This will happen within the next 24 months.
8) The National Curriculum for secondary schools in the UK will see major changes. Personal and Social Education (PSE) will become a solid compulsory qualification with coursework and an exam. More time will be spent teaching sex education and sexual health. This will be to counter spiralling rates of STI transmission and unplanned teenage pregnancies, proven here. PSE will also feature information on masculinity, femininity and homosexuality. Gender roles will have become blurred more than ever before. Expect more male receptionists and more female doormen, more fathers cooking and more mothers using their mechanics qualifications to change the car tyres. Although some changes- like these- will be acceptable, there will be a growing concern for our youth's sexual identity- fuelled by broadsheet newspapers' speculative articles. Teens will need to be taught what will be fundamentally expected of them as a man or a woman in order for them to sustain relationships in the future. All pupils will be taught that gay people may or may not buck the trend, dependant on whether or not they are butch or femme. But pupils will also be taught to be aware and tolerant of how gay people might behave.
9) Due to the expenses scandal of 2009, Members of Parliament will continue to have their finances combed with increasing scrutiny. They will no longer be able to justify travelling to Westminster from their constituency and back on a weekly basis, and so the Houses of Parliament will turn to technology for a substitute. Expect banks of flat screen TVs replacing the leather benches, featuring webcam streaming from the offices of each MP. Digital TV will no longer cover debates in the HoP. A website will be set up allowing us observe debates in the commons. This interface will allow us to choose certain screens to enlarge, dependent on who's involved in the debate. This will see the end of the bizarre, droning form of cheering/bellowing we hear from the backbenchers.
10) Parliamentary debates will not be the only events to cross over from television broadcasting to internet streaming. Most TV channels will merge with the internet. Many channels will broadcast only a series of 30 second adverts for pre-recorded programmes, ending with a link to the full video that we can choose- with a click- to watch in full. Live programmes, like Parliament broadcasts, sports, news and concerts- will be the only shows to be broadcast traditionally.
Are my predictions realistic? Do you envisage things being different? Has any of this already happened unbeknown to me? Comment below...