What would the world look like in 2050?

Now that Bukit Timah hill is finally fully opened, Wesley and I have been back hiking. And as much as I would love to hike weekly, we’ve only been able to do it about once a month. Oftentimes on these run+hikes, our conversation tends to drift towards what the future holds for us, and very specifically, what the world would look like in 2050.

Sometimes I do feel rather alone, because I don’t find many people who tend to think about life the way I do (well, thankfully I’ve got Wesley). I’m not so concerned about my immediate future (1-5 years), I’m more concerned about the long term trends that I might be missing. And if you think about it, assuming you’re my age (27), you most definitely will live to see 2050. And, in a future of self-driving cars, solar energy, and possibly a colony on Mars (?), what value do you have to offer to the world? Shouldn’t more people be concerned about where their place is in this world and how to affect a change, rather than just being swept along…?

Some believe that robots cannot replicate creativity. Or perhaps that certain things require a human interpretation. For instance, in my field, how is a machine supposed to understand how to artistically photograph a model, or to capture a mood? I can’t seem to find an answer to that yet. However, with regards to the design of an apparel, I am pretty sure, with machine learning already beginning to take root, a robot/machine/application can eventually figure out what your customers like to wear, and design with that in mind. The human then comes in only to provide a source of unexpected creative input, something that machines cannot reliably predict.

It is rather depressing to think that in 2050, almost anyone will be replaceable, even myself. The wheels are already in motion.


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