I have often made reference to the changes that are taking place in this modern world in this blog from the point of view of lamenting what has gone and accepting what we have, but what of the future?
One of the possible futures has been talked about in the news today. On the subject of spying, which has arisen because of the expulsion from Germany of an American accused of spying, there are some espionage masters suggesting that they are considering going back to typewriters and hard copy to reduce the possibility of surveillance.
I remember typing a 25 000 word thesis for my teaching degree on a Remington Noiseless and, as a strictly two fingered typist, I wouldn't recommend going back to that form of communication. Besides which paper copies can be photographed or scanned and sent anywhere instantaneously by the internet.
Then there is the shopping revolution. Is it possible that we will see a world without shops? If you are unsure take a walk down the high street of any small of medium sized town. There are charity shops, card shops, pawn shops (yes they are making a come back), and short term loan emporia. What is missing are the high street stores such as M & S, Boots, W H Smith and so on. Some would say that they've gone to shopping centres (malls) but even there they are reducing in size. The fact that Amazon is annoying in its avoidance of tax they seem to be able to deliver an amazing range of goods cheaper and on time.
There was a history of manufacturing in the UK that pertained through to the unholy reign of Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and the unions. The latter became greedy and forced their wages up to the point where what we manufactured, clothes, cars, electricals; were too expensive and our markets disappeared across to the far east. That left a section of society that would normally have gone into apprenticeships with no manual jobs. Enter the call centres, initially servicing banks, but now almost every company has a call centre. The work is unskilled, shallow, unrewarding and with little long term job security. Our prime minister calls the UK a major financial player in the world but his assurances are hollow. Another banking crash or the like would once again see the country reeling. Germany still has a strong manufacturing culture and has the strongest economy in the western world.
(I hate the term but people seem to accept it nowadays along with phrases like 'let me unpack that for you'! )
The short answer is that I can foresee a time when there will be no shops and no factories and we will become increasingly isolated in the physical sense from other humans. Oh, we will have computers, the internet and such tools as Skype but the human animal requires social interaction via physical presence.
If you want to be truly extreme the long term for the human race is bleak. Our muscles will waste, sexual vigour will diminish and the streets and spaces outside our homes will become no go areas! In the words of the Scotsman in the TV show Dad's Army speaking to his platoon commander,
"We're doomed Captain Mannering - doomed!"