Look back 50 years to when The Beatles first graced our black and white television screens on The Ed Sullivan Show.
This year, 50 years on, pop culture along with the whole world has changed dramatically.
Now let’s travel forward 50 years and imagine the world as it may be.
It’s 2064. A girl sits in her room. She’s going through a phase and she is obsessed with anything and everything vintage – she’s wearing her Gran’s old Katy Perry: PRISM World Tour T-shirt from 2014, jelly shoes circa 2013 and she’s got One Direction’s Midnight Memories blasting out of her thumbnail music box. She swoons over the wall-sized Justin Bieber poster. The guys these days, with electronic snapbacks and gif tattoos, just don’t hold the same appeal for her.
Her friends don’t understand the times before them, the simplicity of the early years of the 21st century, when cars gripped the roads rather than hovering above them. Her gran’s photos show grass in the city. If only!
Life is so different now…
8am: She wakes up and steps out of her plastic cocoon, picks her outfit from the approved wardrobe and downloads it. Her friends don’t seem to care that teens once had the freedom to wear whatever they liked.
9am: She visits her regular Wi-Fi free café where she escapes the overwhelming feeling of being online all the time, of being watched. Gran reckons that back in 2014 Government surveillance was not the norm: you could even walk around your house naked, unseen.
10am: As she travels to work on the anti-gravitation light rail system she wonders what the city looked like before her time… when buildings featured natural materials like stone, even concrete.
11am: An alarm light flashes on her virtual desk – government officials have instructed that all genetically modified humans report to the front desk… a handful of people leave the room. Her mum remembers when genetically engineered Government officials were introduced. Before then they were seen as equals, symbols of hope and equality, not power and greed.
Noon: Her window fogs over as rain that falls from the grey sky. Far below, people glide along the city streets in their temperature-maintaining sensitive jackets, neither hot nor cold. Her mum tells her of cities rushing with people scurrying around like rats in a maze, ants rushing to their queen… “working for the man” mum says.
1pm: Finally, lunch break… She heads for the barriers and pricks her finger… HUMAN flashes on the screen and she is allowed to leave the building. There’s no sign of the workers summoned earlier, but soldiers – everyone knows they are mind-controlled killing machines – stand guard at the door.
2pm: Her plate lies empty on the table, silver staring back at her. Cold. There was no warmth, no colour in her scheduled diet.
3pm: She returns to find a mindmail advising that her faculty plans a day trip to space… but she’d rather stay at home room and read history books.
4pm: Idle for a while, she fantasises about visits to Hawaii, France, New York and London. Different cultures… There are no trips now, no crossing the border. She knows of such places only from the books she has read.
5pm: It’s time to go home… A prick of her finger and she leaves. But she knows she’ll never escape.
5.45pm: She sits at the end of the city and looks out at the bare roads leading nowhere. Certainly not back to 2014. But everyone knows the road ahead, now that use-by-dates are branded on arms.
9pm: Her bed awaits. Guiltily she again dips into her Gran’s secret cache of old books, reading about a different world while her peers plug into their virtual gaming docks.
10:15pm: She downs her sleeping pill and drifts to sleep. If she’s lucky she’ll dream of grasslands, a world without clones. A world that lacks invasion of privacy, where technology is not king.
Since 1964 there has been an enormous shift in how we live our day-to-day lives, in what we do, listen to, think and feel.
Where will you be 50 years from now?