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A Day in Your Life, Fifteen Years From Now 687

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-travel dept.
Fifteen years from now, your alarm goes off at 7:30 AM, pulling you out of a dead sleep. You roll over, grumbling a command, and the alarm obediently shuts up. You drift off again, but ten minutes later the alarm returns, more insistent. It won't be so easily pacified this time; the loose sensory netting inside your pillow will keep the noise going until it detects alpha waves in drastically higher numbers than theta waves. Or until it gets the automated password from the shower. Sighing, you roll out of bed, pull your Computing ID (CID) card from the alarm unit, and stumble out of the bedroom. Pausing briefly to drop your CID into your desktop computer, you make your way to the shower and begin washing. Your alarm triggered the shower's heating unit, so the water comes out at a pleasant 108 degrees, exactly your preference. (42 degrees, you remind yourself — the transition to metric still isn't second nature, after almost two full years.) You wash quickly to avoid exceeding your water quota, and step out refreshed, ready to meet the day. (Read on for more.)

After your shower, you grab a bowl of cereal and head to the living room. Your desktop has already torrented last night's episode of your favorite comedy show, saturating the municipal gigabit fiber connection for almost a full minute to grab the 20-minute program. (You have it set to download in basic 8K, eschewing the 3D and live mashup feeds.) At a spoken command, your TV turns on and begins playback. When a confirmation box pops up on the screen, you state your name to authorize payment for the episode. Unfortunately, because you spent extra time sleeping, you're in too much of a rush to finish the episode. You tell the TV to send the rest to local storage, pull your CID from the desktop, and put it into your phone. While you get dressed, your phone plays back your social streams from last night, filtered to only the closest tier of relationships. After listening to your mother's voice detailing plans for the upcoming holiday, and your best friend summarizing the game he went to, you tell the phone to retrieve streams from one tier further. Ten seconds into yet another political rant from your cousin, you tell it to cancel and you set off for work.

As the door closes behind you, you absently wave your phone by the doorbell panel. The embedded RFID chip triggers the locks and security system, and sends a command to start your car. You climb in and place your phone in its dock. Quickly checking the car's charge and its wireless connection, you say, "Go to work," and lean back into your seat as it rolls out of the driveway. Telling your phone to resume playback, you watch the rest of your show as you wait for your commute to finish. (You're vaguely aware that the car isn't going to the freeway today — there must have been a hack-cident — and you feel irritation yet again at the arbitrarily low speed limits, wishing there was a way to ignore them.) After the show is over, you call up your work email and calendar, and prepare for the rest of the day. It's not until the car comes to a halt and beeps at you that you realize you've arrived in the parking structure. As the induction coils top off your car's charge, you exit the structure and walk over to your building's entrance. After waving your phone past the entry sensor, you stand as still as you can and slowly think your full name. The fMRI sensors process the input quickly and decide you are who you think you are.

Walking into to your office, you drop your phone into its dock and flip on the display, thus interacting with the only two objects on your desk. The display, nearly five feet across (1.5 meters, you mean) scans your CID and instantly restores the projects you were working on yesterday. You notice a handful of button icons are different than they were before. There must have been an OS update overnight. Your mild curiosity over finding a changelog fades when you realize you can't remember the name of the OS to look for it. It's unlikely anyone else at your agency does, either, except perhaps the CTO. Frowning at one of the dead pixels on your display, you remember when you used to have co-workers who dealt with that sort of thing. As your attention returns to your projects, you begin to manipulate the contents of your screen, sometimes moving your hands along the top of your desk, sometimes gesturing in midair. For particularly precise work, you detach a stylus from the side of the display. Occasionally you pause to read or listen to an email and vocalize your response. Pushing your work to the side, you take a moment to check in on your subordinates' screens, watching in real-time as they manipulate data and imagery. When needed, you open the intercom channel and provide direction.

After a couple hours, the advertising campaign your team is working on is nearing completion. You package it up and open a connection to your company's AI provider, working quickly to minimize the fees. Setting the AI to "Human Approximation" (and using "Moderate" fidelity to make it finish in a reasonable amount of time), you run it through the ad campaign and monitor the psychological reactions over a matrix of common phenotypes and personalities. The response from the Super-Rationals isn't good (but then, it never is), and you spot weaknesses in your campaign's ability to reach females in one subculture, and males in two others. You make a quick list of potential improvements to background music and the facial expressions of the computer-generated actors, and send the list off to your team. This project has been particularly stressful; in addition to the legislation currently being debated over how AIs can be used (or whether they can be turned on at all), several patent suits involving advertising methods are hanging over your company's head, and you have to carefully review your team's work to ensure it doesn't cause another. You know far more about patents now than you ever wanted to, but you don't want your company to be one of the early victims. You hope the advertising industry doesn't go through a reckoning as happened with the computer and entertainment industries. There's still money to be made in those sectors, but nobody's getting rich, and you want to retire into one of the planned orbital communities.

Mid-afternoon rolls around before you realize it. Hunger gnaws at your stomach and, perhaps because of that, you're mildly uncomfortable all over. Grabbing your phone and leaving work, you walk down the street to a restaurant. You seat yourself at a booth and call up the menu on the table's display. Finding a likely-sounding sandwich, you browse quickly through pictures, a few reviews, and the nutritional information before confirming your order. Switching the table to browse-mode, you catch up on the news while waiting for your food. It seems another Middle-Eastern country has severed its last wired connection to the outside world as a desperate defense against continual cyberwar. The local police force has been tasked with controlling wireless transmissions, and they're being run ragged trying to construct monitoring stations and conduct wardriving patrols with limited manpower. Nobody is willing to take chances after last year's nuclear incident. Browsing more, you see nothing is new with the coastal flooding situation in Europe, though China has once again increased its level of economic aid. You note with dismay that the U.S. election campaigns, underway for over a year already, are both distancing themselves from the current plans to return to the Moon. The organization that took over for NASA is likely to face budget cuts regardless of who wins.

The server robot finally rolls up to your table and deposits your sandwich, along with a glass of water (soda is a rare treat these days, because of the tax). After eating half your meal and picking at the rest, you realize it's not hunger that's making you feel poorly. You briefly remove the CID from your phone and wave it across the table to pay for your food. You leave a small tip for the robot maintenance engineer, then walk to your car, calling work on your way to notify them you're feeling ill. Once you've instructed the car to go home, you recline the seat and take a short nap. The car gently chimes to wake you when you're safely home. Heading inside, you walk to the bathroom and root around in a drawer for your phone's medical attachment. Once connected, you instruct it to contact the CDC's servers for a virus definition update. You quickly swab your nose and throat, and place the samples on the attachment's sensor, then step into the kitchen to make some tea while you wait. In 20 minutes, the results come back, showing a very strong likelihood that you have the seasonal flu. Your results are automatically sent to the CDC, where their algorithms verify your CID and confirm you had contact with several other people now exhibiting symptoms. An antiviral drug is prescribed for you immediately. You dispatch your car to pick it up.

Laying back down in bed, you pull your CID from your phone and place it into your tablet. Checking your social feeds, you see several get-well-soon messages already from friends and family. You distractedly browse through some of the media your friends have been reading, watching, and playing, but nothing strikes your interest. After your car returns, you take the meds and settle back down with a cup of tea. Undoing the small latches at the corners of the tablet, you pull at the sides, stretching the screen until it's 30 centimeters across. You lay it down and fire up a game of chess. After quickly losing two games, you suspect it won't be good for your rating to play while sick. You briefly consider pulling the CID and playing anonymously, but decide against it. Returning the screen to its default shape, you detach it from the tablet and grab an e-ink screen from the drawer. Once you've firmly seated it on the tablet, the ebook you've been reading appears on the screen right where you'd left off. After reading a while, you begin to nod off. At the increase in theta waves, your pillow's sensor web shuts off the tablet, dims lights throughout the house, and silently monitors your vital signs to see if your symptoms are getting any worse. As you drift off to sleep, you wonder what the next fifteen years will bring.

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A Day in Your Life, Fifteen Years From Now

Comments Filter:
  • Really? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Pikoro (844299) <init@nOspaM.init.sh> on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @10:59AM (#41607531) Homepage Journal

    How about, in 15 years, you'll have the same dead end job where your managers are getting paid more than you are and you have nothing to show in your life except for some bytes on some company's hard drive and you still get up and perform the same routine you always have?

    We're really at the top of the curve for technological advancement without some kind of major energy breakthrough. If you want to practice your writing skills, do it somewhere else.

    This whole article is tl;dr. Read an Asimov book.

  • So many absurdities (Score:5, Informative)

    by JDG1980 (2438906) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @11:43AM (#41608231)

    the transition to metric still isn't second nature, after almost two full years

    About 25 years ago, when I was in elementary school, we were taught the metric system and told that the US would probably be transitioning Real Soon Now. When I told my parents, they laughed and said that they were told the same thing when they were in school.

    Transition to metric in the US? Never gonna happen.

    You're vaguely aware that the car isn't going to the freeway today â" there must have been a hack-cident â" and you feel irritation yet again at the arbitrarily low speed limits, wishing there was a way to ignore them.

    First off, what kind of dumbass would make a driverless car that can be hacked from the outside? The worst an intruder without physical access to the vehicle should be able to do is jam GPS, and even then a well-designed system should be able to use cached map data.

    Secondly, the reason speed limits are set arbitrarily low is so the cops can collect revenue from drivers. In a world of all driverless cars, speeding tickets go away and so does the rationale for these limits. With drivers (voters) complaining and the cops and local governments no longer raking in ticket money, raising the limits becomes a political no-brainer.

    Walking into to your office, you drop your phone into its dock and flip on the display, thus interacting with the only two objects on your desk. The display, nearly five feet across (1.5 meters, you mean) scans your CID and instantly restores the projects you were working on yesterday. You notice a handful of button icons are different than they were before. There must have been an OS update overnight.

    Good thing you're in advertising because I can't imagine anyone trying to get any real work done this way. The truth is that the desktop/laptop PC isn't going anywhere. It's being supplemented, not replaced. Tablets and phones are consumption devices. And no sensible IT department is going to let a third party vendor change user interfaces overnight with no time for training. That's a recipe for disaster. Whoever wrote this knows nothing about how corporate (or even small business) IT works.

    The local police force has been tasked with controlling wireless transmissions, and they're being run ragged trying to construct monitoring stations and conduct wardriving patrols with limited manpower. Nobody is willing to take chances after last year's nuclear incident.

    Is the premise here that everyone forgets everything they know about computer security in the next 15 years? Who exposed a nuclear system to the public Internet to the extent that some idiot could hack it via a WIRELESS connection?

    soda is a rare treat these days, because of the tax

    This kind of crap is very popular among a certain sector of policy wonks, but it will never happen because it's absolute political poison. No one who cares about re-election will propose it.

  • Re:Live free or DIE (Score:5, Informative)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @12:03PM (#41608511) Homepage Journal

    I have relatives in the Midwest of the US that apparently don't pay per litre, but in every other country I've ever been, water usage is metered just like electricity or any other utility.

    Yea, we call that "having a well."

    FYI, having a well is far from free.

  • Re:Live free or DIE (Score:5, Informative)

    by serviscope_minor (664417) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @12:19PM (#41608743) Journal

    The UK has historically been mostly on unmetered water,

    And also historically lurches between flooding and hosepipe bans. Not that metering will fix the legendarily leaky pipes. Or fix the fact that after selling off the water authorities, the companies went on and sold off all the resevoir land for development.

  • Re:Just too far out (Score:5, Informative)

    by mark-t (151149) <markt@lyn x . b c .ca> on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @02:36PM (#41610603) Journal

    Canada managed to do the conversion... so it's not impossible. I was in grade 2 when the switchover started, in 1971, and I distinctly remember the school textbooks being one of the very first things to change. I won't try to argue that there wasn't any confusion during metric's introduction here, but from my understanding, it wasn't anywhere nearly as bad as a lot of people speculated it might be. Its adoption was in Canada was actually quite gradual, and if I remember correctly, the overall transition period lasted somewhere around a decade, completing just before I graduated high school.

    I'd never get used to trying to figure out how to dress if it was 20C out

    You might be surprised. When you're exposed to a particular system on an almost constant basis, you'll eventually get to a point that your brain will think in that system, unless you are actively trying to resist change.

    I remember that my parents sometimes struggled with metric when it was introduced in Canada, but in the end, they still managed to get by. In fact, over time, both of them appeared to eventually acquire an intuitive way to convert between the systems. Although their conversion was not truly numerically accurate, it gave them enough of a mental picture of what they needed to know, in ways that they could relate to. I remember when my family was visiting them last summer, and I mentioned to them that the temperature the next day was supposed to be 30 degrees according to the weather report, my dad immediately commented about that being about 85 degrees, which is close enough in Fahrenheit that you wouldn't have a problem knowing how to dress for that weather, even if you only ever previously thought in imperial.

  • Re:But... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zeio (325157) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @04:05PM (#41611763)

    One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - Alexander Solzhenitsyn

    The Gulag Archipelago - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    We - Yevgeny Zamyatin

    Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell

    Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

    Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

    Animal Farm - George Orwell

    The Road to Serfdom - Friedrich August (F.A.) Hayek

    Wealth of Nations - Adam Smith

    The Creature from Jekyll Island - G. Edward Griffin

To the landlord belongs the doorknobs.

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