Monday, 14 April 2014

World's Fair 2064

As you may well know, this year marks 50 years since Asimov produced an article for the New York Times which attempted to predict the technologies that might be on show 50 years in the future, at the World's Fair of 2014.

Recently I was pleased to contribute to a similar article in issue 92 of SciFi Now magazine. I produced a couple of brief versions - the optimistic and the pessimistic - and to my surprise the editors chose the optimistic one, which you can read in the mag.

I was quite fond of the other version, so I thought I would print it here instead:

The World's Fair 2064: the pessimist's version

Anti-drone sprays are a big attraction at the 2064 World’s Fair.

Drones are now small enough to sit on a fingertip, their use so widespread that the surface and skies of the Earth are infested with them. Drones are mostly operated by marketing firms seeking to spy on consumer habits, and the anti-drone sprays are promoted as a simple way to kill these new household pests. Still, most people will tell you that a cat remains the best solution.

The Fair also features a range of new health technologies; expensive gene therapy drugs offer the rich and their progeny enhanced physical and mental capabilities; Thumb patches - simple devices which, when pressed to exposed skin, instantly identify disease - provide an important new advance in world health, but also an effective method for employers, insurers and bankers to discriminate in their choice of worker and customer.

Other exhibits sell living space on vast new “Seasteads” – exclusive, ocean-going city platforms that provide wealthy residents with splendid isolation from modern evils like the augmented reality virus and the bacterial “superbug”.

Still, since the first ever Seastead, the Atlas, struck an iceberg and sank with all hands, sales remain stubbornly low.