Living in the future
In the not-too-far away future, there will be dramatic differences. 100 years ago, automobiles and planes were abnormalities. Today, flying across the world in less than half a day for a week for a vacation or work trip has become commonplace. Door-to-door, it takes me the same amount of time to visit my family in the village near Thanjavur as it takes to go to my friend's house in Singapore. That's ridiculous!
With the metaverse and virtual reality and all that jazz, you could choose to have coffee in Blue Bottle in SF in the morning, go to your favourite dive bar in New York in the evening, and watch football in the Bernabeu - all from your home, and all in the course of your day. And not as a poor substitute but as the real thing. While this may sound incredulous, pause for a second and think. We can fly across the world in metal tubes!
Always in great shape
And you are always in great physical shape. Whatever you eat is engineered to taste like your favourite food but is made up of the exact concoction of macro and micro-nutrients you need to help you thrive physically and mentally.
Feel like pasta? Done! Experience lunch with your spouse in your favourite restaurant in Tuscany with a carafe of house red. Your tongue and brain will still taste stuff the same way, coz they are chemical reactions and programs. But what actually drips into you is the precise ratio of the highest quality nutrients. You get the taste and experience, your body gets none of the nonsense. Win-win!
You have a patch on you that wakes you up slowly in the morning, along with light sensors in your bedroom. And gets you into relaxation mode and ready for bed in the night. You can still drink coffee or whatever feels like coffee but it is decoupled with the delayed chemical reactions you need. You don't need to dunk 3 espressos after lunch to stop feeling drowsy or have an energy drink at 9 pm to pull an all-nighter. All solved with the best biochemical programs, tailored for you.
Every experience becomes a choice
Some of you detest the gym. Some of you cannot stand the thought of going on a diet. But you do it sooner or later coz you want the outcomes of those choices.
But these kinda things will soon be decoupled. You choose to do what you want. Don't like lifting weights or running or any such thing - no problem. You will still be in great physical shape. You can have ice cream for breakfast and pizza for lunch and beer for dinner and still be ripped.
Every experience becomes a choice. You choose to go lift weights because you enjoy it. You do it with your training buddies coz that's how you hang out. Some of you like hanging out with your friends at nightclubs and bars. Some of you like hanging out with your friends on the badminton court.
You get to do things your way, without worrying about the carrot or the stick.
You choose the experience you want to nourish your life with.
A thought exercise
Unfortunately for you and me, this is not going to happen immediately. This scenario, or the equivalent of it, will happen within the next 100 years, probably much earlier.
For now, we are here. But this is a useful thought experiment. What choices are you making today? What experiences are you choosing today? Which ones would you make otherwise if the outcome could be de-coupled? You can hang out with any of your friends, anywhere. Doesn't matter where you are or where they are. Well, who do you choose to hang out with? How do you choose to spend your day? How do you choose to find and make meaning?
And why should this choice change only when the future comes about?
Consequences, of course. Ice cream for breakfast and beer for dinner and sitting on the couch all day is not going to end well. So, what choices will you make given these consequences, given your current reality?
And on the larger choices - who do you choose to spend your time with, how do you choose to spend your day etc - they have the same consequences. The metaverse is not going to solve anything if you make the wrong choices.
In many places, the tech/future will take care of our problems and solve them for us. But for now, you have to do your best.
But in many other places, the choices we make and the lives we lead are tech/future agnostic. What different choices will you make here?