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Life in 2020: Frog Design's vision


May 15, 2010

Are we heading for a future where currency needs are determined by social ranking?

Are we heading for a future where currency needs are determined by social ranking?

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For most of us here in Gizland, technology and gadgetry have become central to our very existence. Given the huge advances seen in recent years, where will be ten years from now? Frog Design has been doing some serious pondering on this very subject and has recently presented a vision of what our increasingly computer-centric lives might be like in the year 2020.

The folks at Frog Design should be already be familiar to regular readers of Gizmag. An inspired vision for an Intel point-of-sale kiosk was featured last year and before that Motorola benefited from numerous ideas for wearable electronics. They've now looked into a digitized crystal ball to offer a vision of life in 2020.

A load of old Whuffie

The digital revolution has had an immense impact on the way we socially interact. Love them or loathe them, the likes of MySpace and Facebook and more recently Twitter have changed the way we communicate with others. The Frog workshop takes the concept of popularity being judged by how many virtual friends you manage to attract to extreme levels with the Whuffie Meter.

The term Whuffie refers to a currency based on popularity or reputation amongst ones peers and was first used in the 2003 book "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" by Cory Doctorow. Such a system already exists today, so is it such a leap to imagine Doctorow's vision being realized in a future where brain implants project visual representations of each person's karmic value for all to judge?

As it stands at the moment, we are all guilty of readily and willingly revealing far too much of our so-called personal lives to vast numbers of (essentially) strangers all over the netosphere. Given the incredible pace of technology at the moment, by the year 2020 such information might just be on constant display above our heads, with live feeds no doubt going online at the same time. Privacy. What privacy?

Too much of a good thing

"Like Google for our bodies" is the way Frog has described Bodynet. As we go about our daily routines, our health status will be under constant scrutiny. Will you want to down that extra bottle of beer if your real-time health monitoring system is telling you that you've had enough and warning of the dire consequences should you choose to ignore its sage counsel? Knowing exactly how your next meal will impact on your health is quite empowering but the future I see for such a device is one where it's likely to remain switched off most of the time!

Shopaholics' delight

Rather than popping to the mall, shopping online or even using Intel's point-of-sale kiosk, shopping addicts in the future may well be able to carry instant purchasing power with them wherever they go. Augmented-reality eyewear or a suitably enhanced mobile handset (with projection capabilities or interfaces controlled by spatial hand movements for instance) will allow instant point and choose purchasing gratification. If you see a pair of jeans or a jacket that you think will look good on you, taking aim with such a device should bring up the best price and retailer details.

Frog's vision is both titillating and a little scary. Given the blistering pace at which advances in personal gadgetry are being developed, such things may see reality a great deal sooner than ten years from now.

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag. All articles by Paul Ridden

so...we\'re all going to be carrying around 3d holographic transmitters with us at all times? Powered by our walking around? Hmmm, doubt it.


Ed- good point. This whole idea of projecting a source of photons into thin air is a bit ludicrous. As utterly cool as it would be, I have yet to hear of any evidence that you can photons to project into a plane (or volume) of space and then redirect away from that plane, forming a real image.

You would have to excite the actual atoms of air in that space into emitting photons. Where is any evidence that this can be done? I would love to see it.

Nehemiah Spencer

This makes me think of having a Flattr button floating above me (as opposed to on a side bar - see up right of this page) only instead of Euros its some manner of virtual currency (likely created by the good folks at Ohai, that Susan Wu knows her virtual goods).


I don\'t think so.

Ben Koshkin

Ben Koshkin

\"You would have to excite the actual atoms of air in that space into emitting photons. Where is any evidence that this can be done? I would love to see it.\"

See this device

Darwinian Roadkill

I think y\'all are missing the idea here. The floating info would be virtual, but seen due to either glasses or contact lense interfaces. Someone without such an interface would see regular old boring life. Switch your whuffie glasses on to see the info.

Bob Folker
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