Visions of Our Not-So-Distant Future

What the present can teach us about the next 50 years

LLast night, I couldn’t sleep. I’m sure I wasn’t alone. I was struck by that end-of-summer feeling, that back-to-school feeling, that Sunday-night feeling — but on a news-heavy Wednesday on the second day of 2019. I found myself thinking about the last seven minutes and the next 72 hours. And then it was the last 72 hours and the next seven minutes. Again and again, a spin cycle of anxiety that we all seem caught in these days. What I wanted, as the minutes ticked to hours, was a way out.

The gurus tell us all we have is this moment — and they’re right. But sometimes the moment can be so overwhelming that we find ourselves no longer living but simply surviving, caught in a digital whiplash of news and sensation. Instead of the mindfulness we need, we end up with mindlessness, the tumult of now.

At a time like this, it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen next week, much less next year. But at Medium, we think this period of rapid technological, social, political, economic, and even psychological change is the best time to think about what the developments of today will yield. What the world will be like in the not-so-distant future. It doesn’t mean you should close your eyes to today and all it brings. But it’s worth pondering what it all amounts to. What 2019 can teach us about 2069.

Bionic brains. Robots. Cutting-edge efforts to blunt the effects of climate change. The future of health care, and tech, and business. Our January issue of Medium magazine — 2069 — will offer dozens of brilliant, competing visions for what awaits us in the second half of the 21st century — which is coming faster than you think.

Follow us all month long in 2069.

VP, Editorial @Medium. I write and edit, usually in that order.

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