Almost 100 years ago, the world, and especially America, experienced an exciting economic boom. Everything seemed possible through the new modern technologies, such as the automobile, movies, radio, the telephone, TVs and airplanes. Society broke with many long-held traditions and embraced great change. The popular TV show and movie, Downton Abbey, helped many of us see what a decade of disruption and change it was in the Roaring 20s.
On the brink of a new century’s/millennium’s 20s, what will this upcoming decade be remembered for? Will it be an economic boom, fueled by a bull stock market continuing the last decade’s run? Will it be new technologies, such as driverless and electric cars, streaming videos which are watched on our watches, smartphones, laptop computers and tablets? Will it be space travel, flying cars and drones? Will it be AI, robots, smart homes and generally an era that was depicted on the Jetsons as I was growing up? Will offices become obsolete as more work is done remotely and telecommuting becomes the norm? What will happen to all the high-rises in the cities when their work spaces are replaced by coffee shops, home offices with standing desks, and laptops in airports?
Will it embrace growing societal sentiment and end our own “prohibition” against pot (the last century’s prohibition of alcohol actually lasted from 1920-1933)? Will we see the continued decline in brick and mortar stores and explosive growth of online shopping? Will we see the disappearance of books, replaced by digital versions to be viewed on our various screens? Will we see auto ownership become a rarity, supplanted by Uber, Lyft and some new company which has not even started yet? Will we see a cure for cancer and Alzheimer’s with the eradication of other diseases which have long plagued the world? Will we see our average life expectancies extended to the century mark?
What current cutting-edge technologies will become obsolete? What big-name companies will go bankrupt because of new market disruptors? What history will be erased or re-written for the sake of political correctness? Will couples still be getting married? Will America still be a capitalist country and will we still have our long-cherished freedoms? What new products will Alexa, Amazon, Facebook decide we should buy based on our browsing history? Will we still be writing checks and paying cash for our purchases? Will the world be wireless? Will it be faster? Will it be better?
I wonder if in 10 more years I’ll be an old man reminiscing about the good ole days, or will I be so fascinated with the future that I embrace our exit from the Roaring 20s 2.0?