Nathalie Jonsson

Science Writer 

Peering Into the Future of Today


At the end of the past millennia big business was thriving.

It was so powerful that it played a natural role in the romantic comedy “You’ve got mail”. Despite being based on a book written in the 1950s, the story adapts perfectly to 1998:

Meg Ryan plays an owner of a quaint little family bookshop under threat from a big chain that opens up across the street. The big bookstore chain is run by Tom Hanks, who through a varying degree of dirty tricks tries to obliterate all other traders in the area. Oh, and unbeknown to them they are nurturing a blooming romance with each other via e-mail (although I am not quite sure how this fits into the 1950s story). Anyway, Meg cannot fight the natural course of the big business taking over. It is an unstoppable force.

More than a decade later, when the memory of this average comedy had long faded, I found myself trying help a struggling bookstore. The big bookstore chain Borders, a 40-year-old American company started by two brothers, was going bankrupt. The tables had turned, the internet provided a more attractive way to buy books, and this time Tom Hanks was going down.

In the Forbes blog post “Your Life In 2020” John Maeda, graphic designer and computer scientist, foresees an increase in humanity in our future. The internet is well integrated into our lives and is here to stay. He predicts, using smart phone apps as an example, a future shift from ‘accepting corporate anonymity’ to appreciating hand crafted and well-made products. Although there is a lot of substance in the post, I have to disagree with one thing:

This is not life in 2020.

It is life today.

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