13 Ordinary Things That Will Become Unthinkable in 50 Years

Jane Palash
4 min readOct 13, 2020

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What will the world look in 50 years if we reverse climate change, get our shit together, keep our hands off the nuclear bomb launcher, and not get into petty civil wars. In design, we call a prediction like this the “happy path.”

  1. Laptops. While nice and convenient, they are already moving away from being your main device. What we’ll get after everything moves into cloud leaving no need for hard drives is a mix of a phone and a tablet, something paper-thin and foldable, maybe with a keyboard, maybe typing text right from our neural impulses. In any case, dragging a large aluminum rectangle around with you will look very funny.
  2. Meat from real animals. We’ll probably still consume animal meat, after all it’s an easy way to maintain a balanced diet but it’s going to be lab-grown. Eating meat from slaughtered animals will be seen as the same type of freak show as monkey brains or live snakes, enjoyed by the rich who seek excitement in perversion. Same goes for animal milk.
  3. Chemotherapy and antibiotics. It would seem batshit crazy to carpet-bomb the body with medication or radiation to fix a localized problem. Hardly efficient and with uncountable damage, almost like bloodletting. Most diseases will be predicted by constant tests run for us everyday on portable labs within our homes. Our family docs will be AI. Robotic surgeries and stem cell tissue regrowth for severe cases.
  4. Humans driving motorized vehicles. Most cars, including maglev (magnetic levitation) and flying vehicles will be autopiloted. There could be designated areas for human-operated machines but they’re going to be secluded from the rest of the transport system and used for fun and racing. People are not to be trusted to drive and we’ve seen enough proof.
  5. Retail. If either nano-tech or 3D printing take off properly, the main thing to sell would be raw materials and blueprints/instructions for the printers. With AR to try things on or view in your house, you’ll shop for things and then make them in-house. It will work for simple tools, clothes, and furniture. There will still be demand for complex electronic devices and large items like cars.
  6. Malls. They will evolve into experience centers with brands exhibiting items to impress, not to…

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