Looking Back at Today from the Future

Imagine thinking about the ideas from the first two decades of this century — but from the future — and how hilarious they might seem in hindsight.

Things weren’t always the way they are today. So many things that we take for granted today actually were considered outright wrong and in some cases even outright illegal. People went to war over some ideas that today appear irrelevant and irrational.

Marijuana was considered illegal by most major countries and governments actively fought to educate the people about its supposed harmful effects and how they were protecting them.

People used to get very touchy on topics of racism especially in the white/black categorisation. Also women who called themselves feminists would get very touchy if someone made a comment that put classified women differently from men.

Censorship was at an all time high because of how easy it was. All broadcast media like TV and music was subject to extensive censorship of words even though everyone knew what was being spoken. As if everyone was playing along in the game of acting like a few words did not exist.

Governments of different countries used to treat their own currencies as something unique and every other country was a separate distinct thing. You had to pay large fees to convert between these different debt certificates that the government would give you.

People used to walk into secure locations to press a button to give their vote to a representative who would then act on their behalf. At that time, such a system existed because it was believed that not everyone can actually participate in the decision making process of the government and hence would elect a chain of representatives

At its peak, the realty business for greedy and went bust. But it came back because governments were afraid of the chain reaction it might cause to let capitalism work they it is supposed to work. Hence the illness and virus continue to live for a few more years. But of course it was no longer important to get a restaurant in a prime location because people would generally simply order in. Even if they did eat out, it would be something closer to where they live.

People’s choice of where they live would no longer be a function of where they worked. Office was relegated to not being a place of work, but a place of collaboration — going to office meant that something was seriously wrong and everyone needed to get into a room to figure things out.

Offices stopped trying to fight for the most exotic tech spaces as it was not very important to have an office location.

Instead of people migrating onwards to the city centre, everyone started spreading out. Cities grew in area and smaller cities became larger. Population that traditionally used to concentrate towards dense areas started to instead radiate outwards into less dense areas — like a gas molecules diffusing into vacuum.

This essay is inspired by “What You Can’t Say” by Paul Graham. You can read it here: http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html

Written by

Software guy. When you try to tell computers what to do, you eventually learn about human nature as well. (http://paramaggarwal.com)

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