These 3 Fixtures of Modern Life Could Completely Disappear Within 25 Years
Back in 1993, an eerily prescient ad for AT&T tried to mine the predictions from its in-house research wing Bell Labs about the inventions we’d get to enjoy in the future. Directed by the famous director David Fincher and suavely voiced by Tom Selleck, the spot You Will, got a ton of stuff right.
Voice activated doorbells? Yup. University classes with students joining remotely from around the globe? You bet. Video conferencing, phone call receiving watches, and work meetings by the beach? Check, check, and check. My local ATM isn’t renewing driver’s licenses quite yet, but that’s about all they got wrong. You can watch the full series of spots cut together in the video below.
It’s no surprise then that the company is taking the 25th anniversary of the ad as an opportunity to take something of a victory lap. On Wednesday the telecommunications company released a new series of videos that brought together futurists, designers, and scientists to try and do the same thing for the next couple of decades. This time around, some of the most striking predictions aren’t the future inventions that we’ll get to enjoy, it’s the fixtures of modern life AT&T’s futurists says will completely disappear.
Here are the three fixtures of modern life that the sequel to You Will predicts will be replaced by cutting-edge innovation.
1. Walls (As We Know Them)
Today, drywall, wooden ceilings, and concrete buildings make up the skeleton of both bustling metropolises and rural townships. But this could all be swapped out for walls made of glass that constantly changes in appearance.
“What if our buildings weren’t four square walls and we build virtual glass walls that can constantly be computing, constantly be taking use someplace else in an office or in a park,” mused production designer Hannah Beachler.
Windowless rooms would cease to exist. With the click of a button, you can take your workspace to a rain forest or a serene beach.
2. Monitors and Smartphone Screens
Startups and companies like Magic Leap and Microsoft have made strides towards bringing augmented reality to the larger consumer market. But as it stands, this tech is still clunky. It requires users to sport steampunk-style goggles that are either cumbersome or can obscure regular vision. But with more fine-tuning and better hardware, this concept, along with technology like holograms, will pretty much eclipse the screens we use for communication and entertainment today.
“In the future, we’re going to be looking at each other, we’re going to have more information that’s augmented that the screens would just disappear,” said futurist and philanthropist Gray Scott.
The video predicts seamless AR integration in office, educational, and social settings. Imagine putting in contact lenses that let you use the palm of your hand as a tablet or having Wikipedia information pop up when you look at an animal at a zoo or sculpture in a museum.
In short, there would be no more need for screens. All of the information they hold would be sprinkled into the world around us.
3. Personal Vehicles
Fully autonomous cars are well on their way to hitting the highway. But in a somewhat predictable irony, this automotive innovation will probably do away with the need to own an automobile at all. As the video explains, once we have self-driving cars, humans will likely move toward a system where everyone hops on and off a system of autonomous vehicles that gets them where they need to be.
“I think all of the cars will be replaced by autonomous cars and there will be a completely controlled traffic system and it will reduce traffic incidents to almost zero,” said Michaela Rose, co-founder of Not Terminator.
This would transform cars into mobile lounges where people can chat, have a drink, and even have a meal. This would make concepts like Mercedes’ F 015 a reality.