I will be 69 years old in 2072

50 years ago, I wrote an essay with my predictions of life today. This is what the world looks like and, most importantly, what still is the most surprising.

Let’s start with the latter.

In 2022, no one expected the human population in space to exceed 2 million people. With more than half on Mars, the rest on the Moon, and multiple 5,000-person spaceships going around the universe exploring, researching, and renegading. During this time period, a group called the Renegades began to emerge.

The Renegades had the most advanced technology with gravity-defying spaceships, slowing down time, and pushing the limits of science and engineering. At first, people thought they were aliens but the Renegades were just a disillusioned group that had distanced themselves from Earth.

rzuzm during her work.

Starting in the 2020s, many programs were created for smart, motivated young people to do what they wanted, avoiding the moth-eaten system of going to college and engaging in a broken system. These programs provided young people the freedom and infrastructure to work in their own way while following their extreme curiosity and desire to build things. Collectively, these programs led to one goal, and that was enabling people to think for themselves and improve their world. Groups like this began as scattered fellowships and slowly grew together and gave themselves a name:

The Renegades.

rzuzm during her work.

The Renegades spent decades building space infrastructure. But the world, for some reason, opposed their ideas and efforts to the point where they weren’t even allowed to live on Earth. Just like in the 2010s, when people were being canceled, the way of canceling people is to prevent their return to Earth [1]. Everybody else began treating them like a virus because truthfully, they almost were, operating on many different wavelengths and projects.

They had the most advanced technology from rocket ships and robotics to pill-a-day meals and even the unification of physics. That was the other reason why they were called “Renegades.” They weren’t. They were insanely curious about technology and engineering but also were deeply philosophical. Some people argue that the reason why they were able to develop these advanced technologies is because of the creation or discovery of new mathematics and physics. No one knows for sure but it was leaked that they finally unified quantum mechanics and relativity. This was the game-changer for them.

We’ll come back to the Renegades.

When I was in college in the 2020s, I worried about the future of young people. Colleges were encouraging bad habits such as the complete disconnection from your intuition, endless distraction of “learning” to get jobs, and boring tedious homework.

The disconnection from one’s inner intuition was the most worrisome. I don’t know whether this was a new phenomenon but people were lost. Some were self-aware enough to realize they didn’t know what to do or study. While others drank their way through life and those questions never showed up until way later in their fifties.

People still blame social media for most problems but no one knows for sure. Drugs like Adderall paired with hyper-accessible short-form dopamine content messed up many people because they could not focus or think, and in moments of clarity, they chose the wrong topics.

In 2072, the most successful people have an interesting pattern. All of them without exception made their devices boring and distraction-free. They had to go out of their way to take care of their minds. The scientist, engineer, and entrepreneur, Kedi stands out. He deleted social media from his phone, silenced all notifications, and used focused versions of apps.

Nowadays, people are obsessed with Kedi, similar to Elon Musk in the 2020s. Kedi had an extreme ambition that powered him to will the unimaginable into existence. Kedi didn’t go to Silicon Valley and stayed away from startup culture. Far, far away. This is subtle but important because his companies and startups are some of the most successful ever. His main motivation was to carry out his imagination, create the things he wished existed, and advance humanity forward.

In 2072, many people are not interested in doing little incremental things to get famous. The culture shifted from “Let’s make an iPhone app to get rich” to “Let’s do something cool to advance humanity forward.”

I could not have predicted that. I wanted it but didn’t think it could happen. This is one of the reasons I’m sixty-nine years old and continue to be excited to keep living. And I’m sure of that because humanity keeps creating and inventing things no one thought possible.

Enough philosophy. Why don’t I describe to you my day-to-day life?

It’s a Monday. I get up at 5:00 AM. Since it’s the first day of the week, I take my weekly two-second shower. I’m old school but most people take monthly showers, and rebellious teenagers, yearly. Mornings are efficient because I don’t have to shave, brush my teeth, or get haircuts. It’s all genetically programmed in the body.

I go to my “kitchen” (aka my nightstand) and I take my daily meal in the form of a pill. Some people take the weekly and monthly food pills but I often like to travel and eat the good old way. Last week, I went to eat lunch in Italy and dessert in Iceland. That’s another thing. Travel isn’t supersonic. It’s a lot faster.

After the morning is done, I go to work. I have a couple of ways to get there. I could take an autonomous flying car. I could log in to a physical robot. Or I could tell an AI to do the work for me. Just kidding. AI has not been as bad as we originally thought. So far we’ve created a nice symbiosis but we’re still very careful.

Brain-computer interfaces are here, too. They were released around the 2050s and after 20 years of iterations, they fit us well. Activities such as searching, calculating, plotting, logical steps, assumptions, and hypotheses are all done by my computer counterpart. Then we use our brains to think, make decisions, and learn new stuff. This is important. Before, we’d spend about 90% of our time getting a place to make the decisions. Now, the BC (brain-computer) gets us there instantly and then we just make decisions.

BCs shifted our view of how the brain works. We stopped seeing the brain as an information processing unit and we started seeing it as a way to understand information itself. Before, we would ask, “What is computation?” because that’s what we thought the brain was doing, and it still does that. But without information, there is no computation, which is why we think information is more fundamental to understand. One thing is clear, we still don’t fully know how the brain works.

Anyway, I took my autonomous flying car. Every time I get on it, I always think to myself, “Finally, flying cars!!!” But taking or having a personal vehicle is rare. Most people don’t have vehicles or anything like that. The most common mode of transportation is called The Way.

How The Way works is like a walkway but huge.

(I deactivated the “remember everything feature” from my brain so I couldn’t take a memory (what we used to call photos) and show it to you. I’m “writing” this essay on my way to work and everything is coming from my brain. But imagine this picture but 1000 times bigger and going everywhere. )

In the 2020s, we used to have primitive models to get to our planes faster. But The Way is used to get to places at high speeds at any time as they’re always going, never stopping.

We have these massive moving walkways going everywhere. It’s the most convenient thing we’ve created in years. The Way is massive. It can carry pretty much anything you want to wherever you want to go from your entire family to massive cargo ships.

One of my current projects is figuring out what to do with so much personal data like photos, text messages, and behavior patterns that any human produces from the time they are born.

Should we delete someone’s data after they die? How many gigabytes or terabytes would someone need to store their data for their whole life? Should free data storage be a human right? If so, how much of it should be free and accessible?

No one has figured this out. Data isn’t the new oil. It’s a new way of living. Giving access to enough data storage to any human in the world is the morally right thing to do. I just need to figure out the business model.

That’s what I’m working on but that isn’t my life. The great thing about living in 2072 is that even though I’m almost 70, I feel as good (or better) as any twenty-year-old in the early 2000s. A combination of taking care of my health and radical advances in longevity technology makes life active for longer. People are living to 200 and more but that is a concern. Unless we figure out a way to get young people to decision-making positions, society will become stagnant, and we’ve started to see that as older folks are working more and leaving fewer opportunities for the younger people.

An extended lifespan is a great thing in fields where more time is necessary. For instance, in science. Sure the “miracle year” is often true and sometimes physicists make discoveries when they’re young. But overall scientists have benefited from living longer, especially Robert Tendulkar who at 153 years old figured out a way to use the summer heat for winter use such as heating and using the winter cold to cool off during the summers.

Energy costs went down as well as the emission of greenhouse gases caused by the heating and cooling power sources. This always seemed interesting to me because it seemed like every season we were trying to fight by creating opposite reactions to the environment and never harnessing that energy back at the environment to create some sort of equilibrium.

Robert spent more than 70 years trying to figure this out. The biggest problem that took him about 50 years to figure out was the economy, meaning if you store energy, you increase the cost even more. Storing energy was truly expensive so it was hard to convince the industry and thus get funding [2]. Robert proved once again that if you get the facts right, everything else will follow. And he did and I supposed he needed that long to make it happen. He is still going strong and is working on a new project to store energy from Dyson spheres. Good luck with that one, Robert.

In 2022, we had lots of challenges, but nothing we could not achieve given enough drive and human coordination. All the things people worried about have been solved. Ozone layer? Done. Overpopulation? We have the opposite and there are fewer humans every year. We need more humans and that starts with having more babies. Thankfully, robots can do most tasks these days. Overconsumption? Back in the day, people would buy stuff to feel better but now we don’t even decide what we need. Companies decide for us. This sounds bad but it’s actually a good thing because I don’t go to the supermarket nor have to worry about having a list. It’s good because it helped change the quantity business model. Before companies would make money by selling a high number of units but now since they decide, the business model relies on something called Consistency Track. How it works is simple. They know what we want and they give it to us. I can customize everything from price, quality, origin, etc. Here and there, they try to give us samples to introduce different products but that’s pretty much how it works. The aspect of competition is interesting because there’s somewhat less innovation in these products. But we have efficiency and innovation in other places. For instance, the few low household income families don’t need to buy food because they get excess food for free. There is no waste and everyone gets what they need.

In general, most problems were solved. Now, we just have different problems but we see them as what they are, not what some people want us to believe. That brings us to media! And the news! Do people consume news these days? What type of media? How do people get information about what’s happening? Mass media such as big news networks are nonexistent. Some went bankrupt, while others were found to be unethical and untruthful. People don’t consume mass news anymore. Does that mean people are ignorant or people don’t care? Not really. We have two major advances. One is BCs and the other is radical advances in AI personalization technology. Combined, I don’t need to be in the loop myself because there’s no need to read, watch, or listen to know what happened or what is happening, and more importantly what I’m interested in. It sounds weird to say but we “just know.” I’ll give you an example. I’m interested in The Way, Robert Tendulkar’s science, and human data storage. My BC and the integrated personalized AI know that I want to know more of those things because being in the loop would allow me to make connections and discover and think about new things. This is really, really important. I said it before but we don’t spend a single second getting ready to make decisions, we just make decisions. This means I don’t have to read, search for information, make plots, calculate, or any of those mechanical activities, which are what computers are exceptional at. Humans focus on the ambiguous part which is the decision making, imagination, and creativity.

Back then, another topic people would think a lot about was aliens. They’re real. Just not how we expected. When I thought about aliens, I thought they had a planet like ours with a civilization that was perhaps more advanced. Only the latter was true. Let me explain. Somehow, some companies had alien technology and, for years, they hid it. But, in the end, they had no idea what to do with the technology so they kept it to themselves.

Remember the Renegades? During one summer, one of these young people was working at one of these legacy aerospace companies and she got assigned the task to figure out how they work and maybe even reverse engineer it. To say, she did it was an understatement as she and her friends were kicked out of Earth. Her name was rzuzm, and while people didn’t think that was her real name, it was. Just like people named their kids after movie characters, people started naming their kids after Discord usernames.

rzuzm during her work.

Well, rzuzm somehow turned on one of these “machines” and she received a message through an interactive “intelligent” hologram. To say the messenger was a human would be tough but he was remarkably similar. He was about 4 feet tall, with purple skin color, and his English was hard to understand but it seemed like English, perhaps an advanced form. The messenger greeted rzuzm and explained the story of what had happened. He starts by introducing himself and saying his name is Nuntiger. He comes from a civilization that started living on Earth but left as things became tricky, and didn’t explain more than that.

What year is he from? The 2800s. He continues and asks rzuzm to not be afraid. Nuntinger explains that they are the same people and that rzuzm was one of their ancestors and a very important person in their history. He explains that civilization is advanced in some regards but the same in so many other aspects, he doesn’t explain further but he does explain what this machine is, why it’s there, and how rzuzm turned it on. Let’s start there, rzuzm did not turn it on, she was chosen as the person to receive the message and used her DNA to unlock the message. Nuntinger explained that they are from the future. They are not aliens from another civilization. All of the things you see and cannot understand are people from the future. “Yes, you are not crazy for not understanding the world sometimes. It’s us” explains Nuntinger. He comforts her by saying that it was harder to light-travel years away than to figure out time travel so they figured out time travel and here they were.

An image of Nuntinger by the AI artist Alex

“But why are you guys here? Aren’t you messing up the space-time continuum?” rzuzm asked.

Nuntiger says that they’re messing it up but just a bit. The people from the 2800s are back because they finally accumulated enough evidence to prove, know, and be certain that they were living in a simulation. Now they were trying to figure out how to find, contact, or wake up the simulator. And they were time-traveling because they obtained evidence that the simulator shows up in the simulation once in a while in diverse forms for mysterious reasons, sometimes to help with the course of things, other times to introduce a radical innovation, other times to live hedonistically, and other times to just do nothing. Supposedly, the simulator was a ​​sand grain for 500 years. In the 2800s, people believed the simulator was in love with using the power of the mind to create new things as the developer of the mind, the simulator fully comprehended the ins and outs but he or she had a different purpose in life and the 2800s people wanted to understand it.

As primitive as the 2800s people were, they probably were about a couple thousand years from reaching a similar level as the simulator but they didn’t care because this different purpose was epochal. They had a world where they could get and build anything they wanted, they didn’t have any stupid fears or inexplicable childhood traumas, they live for a long time, they are happy, they spend quality time with their family and friends, and well the end seems to be the purpose.

“Questions like “But what would the simulator want?” or “What would he live for?” are bad questions, we want to know what the life of the simulator is like.” These were the topics people were discussing in the 2800s and the reason they were time traveling and doing things throughout our history that we never understood. But they claim that they know the answer already and that every single person deeply knows it inside their hearts but they don’t know the question to get enough context to make sense of it. In short, they’re time-traveling to get enough context.

Nutinger explains that they need rzuzm’s help to gather context. At some point, she contacted me about my data storage project for context access. They wanted me to develop a storage device that captured the past, the present, and the future. The future? Supposedly, they figured out a part of complex math that can predict the future as long as you don’t know I’m using the formula to store your data. Of course, the classic observer effect shows up.

That was about 30 years ago and I never saw her or heard about her again. Hopefully, she and the 2800s people figured everything out. I’ve been eagerly waiting for some announcement or broadcast but maybe that’s the point.

And if that’s the point, I’ll stop here. Enough about 2072 and the future. Perhaps, we don’t need the answers because we already have them nor the questions because we can’t ask them, what we need is to listen to ourselves. Not in a meditation format, or journaling, or what nowadays people call “brain logoff” which is they upload their brain and empty everything for a day and become baby-like.

Listening to ourselves will always be about creating a connection back to the human spirit. Everything will not be fine because everything will be perfect. Imperfectly perfect but looking at the past, if you try to create your unique connection, you’ll reach close to the answer we all want but don’t want to hear.

Life is good, Juan David Campolargo

P.S. Make sure to pick up a call on January 19th of 2034 at 3:05 PM. It’s important ;). Ok enough, bye.







[1] Could this be real? Ismail found it hard to believe this one. Exiling someone from the planet is a logistics nightmare and may be considered worse than imprisonment. I’d largely agree with him but I also don’t think “cancel culture” will be a thing in the future but something along those lines.

[2] There is a research group working on this exact project (article, paper)and their issue seems to be funding. I had this idea in the summer of 2021 so I went on Google and found Robert Weber, the scientist working on the project. I sent him an email asking for an update. This was his response:

Hi Mr. Campolargo,

Thanks for your interest. We are occupied with the upscaling of our laboratory prototype of a seasonal thermal storage. Unfortunately, our research group was dispersed end of last year and the very small financial support of the government will end this year. Therefore, it might happen, that we even won't be able to finish the upscaling.

Our biggest issue is the economy. If you store energy (even if you do it only for a few hours), you increase cost. If you store energy for a season or longer (with sorption storages, you can store energy for years!), you increase the cost even more. That means, industry can't see an advantage in energy storage and so, financing of this research topic is very difficult…

Best regards Robert Weber

So if you want to fund some cool people and make the story of Robert Tendulkar faster than 2072. Consider reaching out.


Thanks to Steven, Scott, Aaryaman, and Ismail for reading drafts of this essay. All Images were made by Alex Kesin


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Tags: fictionfuture