Today a small piece of plastic enables you to make a telephone call from anywhere in the world to anyone in the world. A mobile phone no bigger than a playing card would electronically transmit words to a computer screen, send a fax and receive replies on its tiny screen. Technology that was once science fiction-is now with you.
As we have entered what some call that “Zeroes” (the opening years of the new millennium), the future life has already begun to happen. Take a look in your bag or briefcase and you may find another small piece of plastic on which you can play your favourite music. Look on your wrist and it is possible that you’re wearing the latest digital watch featuring GPS, which can pinpoint your exact location on the planet via satellite. Your watch may even be one that can send electronic messages – perhaps an office memo, to someone in another country. You watch your favourite video on the same small watch face, which you can also use as a phone that also displays your call recipient on its micro-screen.
These are not fantasy predictions but reality. It is only a matter of time before the same piece of plastic can remotely control your car. You could beckon it from the garage to collect you from the supermarket and transfer you to a giant airship. Here, inside a huge floating hotel you will travel to another continent. Perhaps room service will take on a whole new meaning when on board the airship, you’ll be asked which country you’d like to have breakfast in – New York in America perhaps, and then lunch in Vienna, dinner in Cape Town and entire with coffee in Chennai – all from one hotel. After landing, you’ll drive your car off the airship and call your partner to say you will be home in time for dinner. Images of your meal could be transmitted to you on your videophone/personal computer and you’ll be able to say that you are looking forward to your meal.
As you step out, you will put on your special jacket, the one with the built-in stereo system in the sleeves and a microclimate in the lining. Don’t laugh part of this is fact. One designer has created a parka jacket with an anti-smog mask, a hood with snow-goggles and the afore-mentioned stereo. Then you may want to put on your virtual-reality glasses and step inside your soon-to-be-designed new home. You can then test the staircase, move between rooms and check out the décor, before it’s even built.
Back in your computer-controlled hotel room on the airship, you watch a film on a screen thinner than a magazine and about the size of you wall. Gas-plasma television screens are now in the market, producing giant images with precision sound and crystal-clear vision. If you fall asleep you may get a gentle wake-up call from your new alarm clock. This will be just in time for the robot butler – that can detect you and your family’s identity – to come in with coffee and croissants of your choice.
Are you just puzzled? All of these amazing inventions are either already available or on the drawing boar, somewhere in the world. The concept of an air-ship-style floating hotel carrying up to 2,000 people and flying to any continent is already being developed. And the technology being packed into small plastic boxes and wrist watches is becoming more ingenious by the month.
Your lifestyle is futuristic, with all the gadgets to go with it. You don’t work in the office anymore, you are mobile with your laptop or palmtop computer a phone the size of a match box, and a car small enough to park in the cycle shed – here, you can sip a cocktail, slip off your laser-cut suit jacket made from modern “paper” cotton by British designer such as Bailey and relax.
The new stream of cool, uncluttered minimalist hotels and restaurants wikll cater to ypur every need. But in keeping with now familiar visions of the next century, watch out for the first space-theme restaurant, perhaps using the latest technology to create its own special gravity and atmosphere with floating tables and waiters and a menu that offers crater pie, chocolate rock pudding, and moon meringue.
Then your only problem will be deciding when to book those two weeks on mars or the moon and which space station we will go from.
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