The Next 20 Years

10 headlines from the future


| September / October 2004


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.