10 headlines from the future
The Slow Dating Movement
With digital dating having reached warp speed thanks to text-messaging 'flirt' services and webcam profiles, more and more potential lovers will decide to slow down the process, joining f2f (face-to-face) dating clubs and even spending long, leisurely afternoons getting to know one another.
Our Possessions Talk to Us
With microchips implanted in everything from luggage to important documents, we'll be able to find anything we own by punching in a request for it on a cell phone -- and getting an instant readout of its location.
The Presidency Becomes Purely Ceremonial
A proposed constitutional amendment would make the U.S. presidency a purely ceremonial office, like the German and Israeli presidencies. Under the amendment, executive power would be invested in a 'troika' made up of the president's chief political adviser, personal counsel, and campaign finance director.
The EU Model Goes Worldwide
The North American Free Trade Agreement and its ilk having proven major busts, there will be a vogue for European Union-style regional groupings, which, while removing many trade barriers, will also create transnational authority to protect worker rights, culture, and the environment.
Regional Art Cities Take Off
Following the lead of increasingly hip regional centers like Minneapolis-St. Paul, Omaha, and Atlanta, small North American cities will develop lively art scenes, exchanging artists with each other and with New York in a major decentralization of culture.
The Wild Tiger Vanishes
The death of the last wild tiger will lead to a tipping point in global attitudes about nature. Momentum will build for vast new continental parks into which tigers and other endangered species can be reintroduced from zoos.
The Rise of Private Peacemaking
Personal diplomacy will spread as clergy, educators, parents, and other ordinary citizens set up various vehicles (hotlines, Internet groups, meet-ups) to facilitate real dialogue between warring parties in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Historical Reenactors Turn Left
Historical reenactment, once the preserve of Civil War buffs and other military types, will expand to commemorate labor struggles like the Pullman strike of 1893 and grassroots actions like the anti-Vietnam War protests.
AIDS Threatens Outsourcing
As AIDS spreads rapidly throughout the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, threatening America's 'outsourced' workforce, U.S. corporations will demand that the pharmaceutical industry provide low-cost palliative care and step up the search for a vaccine.
GANDHI Replaces the GNP
Inspired by the Gross National Happiness index (GNH) used in the small Himalayan nation of Bhutan -- and the 'pursuit of happiness' clause in the Declaration of Independence -- forward thinkers will lobby for a nonpartisan Gross American National Democratic Happiness Index (GANDHI), a measure of Americans' happiness, and particularly their satisfaction with the political system, via polling and web-based surveys.
Thanks and Credits: Slow Dating: for dating technology, Jane Weaver on MSNBC. Private Peacemaking: Susan Skog.