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Douglas Coupland

A radical pessimist's guide to the next 10 years Add to ...

While it's already hard enough to tell how others perceive us physically, your global, phantom, information-self will prove equally vexing to you: your shopping trends, blog residues, CCTV appearances - it all works in tandem to create a virtual being that you may neither like nor recognize.

17) You may well burn out on the effort of being an individual

You've become a notch in the Internet's belt. Don't try to delude yourself that you're a romantic lone individual. To the new order, you're just a node. There is no escape

18) Untombed landfills will glut the market with 20th-century artifacts

19) The Arctic will become like Antarctica - an everyone/no one space

Who owns Antarctica? Everyone and no one. It's pie-sliced into unenforceable wedges. And before getting huffy, ask yourself, if you're a Canadian: Could you draw an even remotely convincing map of all those islands in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories? Quick, draw Ellesmere Island.

20)

North America can easily fragment quickly as did the Eastern Bloc in 1989

Quebec will decide to quietly and quite pleasantly leave Canada. California contemplates splitting into two states, fiscal and non-fiscal. Cuba becomes a Club Med with weapons. The Hate States will form a coalition.

21) We will still be annoyed by people who pun, but we will be able to show them mercy because punning will be revealed to be some sort of connectopathic glitch: The punner, like someone with Tourette's, has no medical ability not to pun

22) Your sense of time will continue to shred. Years will feel like hours

23) Everyone will be feeling the same way as you

There's some comfort to be found there.

24) It is going to become much easier to explain why you are the way you are

Much of what we now consider "personality" will be explained away as structural and chemical functions of the brain.

25) Dreams will get better

26)

Being alone will become easier

27) Hooking up will become ever more mechanical and binary

28) It will become harder to view your life as "a story"

The way we define our sense of self will continue to morph via new ways of socializing. The notion of your life needing to be a story will seem slightly corny and dated. Your life becomes however many friends you have online.

29) You will have more say in how long or short you wish your life to feel

Time perception is very much about how you sequence your activities, how many activities you layer overtop of others, and the types of gaps, if any, you leave in between activities.

30) Some existing medical conditions will be seen as sequencing malfunctions

The ability to create and remember sequences is an almost entirely human ability (some crows have been shown to sequence). Dogs, while highly intelligent, still cannot form sequences; it's the reason why well-trained dogs at shows are still led from station to station by handlers instead of completing the course themselves.

Dysfunctional mental states stem from malfunctions in the brain's sequencing capacity. One commonly known short-term sequencing dysfunction is dyslexia. People unable to sequence over a slightly longer term might be "not good with directions." The ultimate sequencing dysfunction is the inability to look at one's life as a meaningful sequence or story.

31) The built world will continue looking more and more like Microsoft packaging

"We were flying over Phoenix, and it looked like the crumpled-up packaging from a 2006 MS Digital Image Suite."

32) Musical appreciation will shed all age barriers

33) People who shun new technologies will be viewed as passive-aggressive control freaks trying to rope people into their world, much like vegetarian teenage girls in the early 1980s

1980: "We can't go to that restaurant. Karen's vegetarian and it doesn't have anything for her."

2010: "What restaurant are we going to? I don't know. Karen was supposed to tell me, but she doesn't have a cell, so I can't ask her. I'm sick of her crazy control-freak behaviour. Let's go someplace else and not tell her where."

34) You're going to miss the 1990s more than you ever thought

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