Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot
Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.
In honor of 125 years of publication, the Wall Street Journal asked various celebrities and luminaries to imagine what their industries will look like in the future: Mark Zuckerberg argued that connectivity will change the world, Billy Beane explained how big data is changing in baseball, and
model scientist Tyra Banks predicted that we will live in a dystopian world in which “Natural food will be scarce.”
In Banks’ future, plastic surgery will be all the rage and everybody will have “at least one personal robot/assistant/companion.” Your robot will be able to detect your low self-esteem:
If a person allows that robot/assistant to suggest products paid for by sponsors, that person’s robot will be free of charge. In fact, that person will actually be paid to use the robot by a pool of advertisers. The robot will have super artificial intelligence and will be able to sense if its owner is having a low-self-esteem day and will then strategically give boosts of confidence to its owner. “Wow, Eloisa! Your eyes look especially lovely today.”
Also, women will be giving birth at age 120!:
Women’s empowerment will be an irrelevant concept because the balance of power between the sexes will have shifted dramatically. Women, in control of when they can have children (up to age 120!), and having more degrees and education than men, will be in charge. Men will be responsible for 70% of cosmetics sales and plastic-surgery procedures world-wide. Why? Men will be vying for women’s attention, obsessed with being attractive to females and snagging well-off ladies who can take care of them.
Racism will probably also be gone by then, since everyone will have similar skin colors and features, and “prejudices based on physical features will be nearly eradicated. Prejudice will be socioeconomically based.” And furthermore, “people with alabaster or ebony skin” will be the outliers, and will be “heralded for that uniqueness.”
Here’s the future for Tyra Banks’ future, I guess?: With everyone trying to look “unique,” people are going to get plastic surgery (which will be “as easy and quick as going to the drugstore for Tylenol”). They’ll opt to look “alabaster” or “ebony,” and then everyone will be split into different races, again, but this time, no one will be discriminated against, because we’ll all be faking it! Race is just a construct, and all of humanity will understand that, finally.
But poor people — you will still be around. You’ll have robots to tell you you’re pretty, though, so that’s something.
Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at email@example.com.More Prachi Gupta.
Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China
Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti
“Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA
Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.
Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada
Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway
Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.
Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.
Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million
Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.
Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon
Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.
Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico
Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.
Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.