139: Predictions For 2017: Living and Loving Online
Back in 2007, I ran a program for my company which looked 10 years out into the future. It was a roaring success, and as part of that exercise, I wrote a number of “Blog Posts From The Future”, dated for 2017, which we released over the course of the month-long program.
Considering that 2017 is now upon us, I thought that it might be fun to repost those predictions and see how close I came to reality.
Please feel free to comment, highlight and let me know how close (and far) I came to reality. As I’ve said once before, being a futurist is a lot like being a weatherman, you are usually right, but at the wrong time.
This one is interesting because it doesn’t mention VR at all, which will likely be the way in which couples will communicate in long distance relationships. In 2007, most VR experiences were rare, and the technology had not progressed to the point of viabililty. The other interesting point is on immigration – I predicted that immigration would be more restricted, and that may turn out to be the case, depending on what a President Trump may do.
LIVING & LOVING ONLINE
Toronto, Canada & San Jose, CA: When this professional couple met at a conference in Silicon Valley a few years ago, it was love at first sight. The only problem: he lived in San Jose and she lived in Toronto, and they both had lucrative careers, and could not possibly move to be together. They began a long-distance relationship and suffered with the travel in order to see each other once a month.
“It was exceptionally difficult” said Kimiko Satou, who is based in Toronto and is the VP of Marketing for Expound, Inc. “Totally” agrees Theo Theodorakis, the lead engineer for Startlr.com. Neither was able to move immediately due to work and visa restrictions, since the time it takes to get a US Work Visa has tripled from 4 to 12 years in the last ten years. Luckily for the pair, Kimiko’s company specializes in virtual reality experience technology and they were able to use the technology to simulate living together. Installing full wall panels at each of their apartments, with full sound support connected to each other over the internet, the couple “live” together virtually.
“Since I work from home a lot, I can watch Kimiko driving up to her house, and meet her at the door, give her a virtual kiss and hug.” In addition to the virtual walls, Expound has provided the couple with a new product, the RealVatar™, a life-size human shaped doll which is covered with SoftScreen™ — the pliable liquid crystal display, SoftSkin™ the new wonder plastic used in skin reconstruction and RealSensors™ which can transmit a sense of touch. When Theo squeezes Kimiko’s RealVatar, Kimiko can “feel” the hug transmitted to her RealVatar of Theo. His smile is projected onto the SoftScreen of the RealVatar in Kimiko’s arms.
Prior to these advances in remote technology, a couple like these two would have to use something like Skype, suffer alone and possibly break up. However, these technologies have enabled Kimiko and Theo to have what amounts to a near normal relationship. They have even married remotely. While they are planning to have children, those would still need to be conceived in person — until next year, when Ovula’s Home Pregnancy Kit is released to the general public. “We do plan to be together in person eventually, but these technologies have made the wait so much more bearable” says Kimiko, “virtually” holding Theo’s hand.
These technologies are also a boon to military couples, especially with the new longer deployment periods in Syria, Iran and Africa.