The Next 20 Years

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.

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