MEDIA: Idiots predict future

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Sat, 03 Jul 1999 23:00:23 -0500 story.html?s=v/nm/19990703/tc/millennium_shopping_2.html

> Saturday July 3 12:46 AM ET
> Try This Non-Wash, No-Iron
> Cyberfuture For Size
> By Kevin Drawbaugh, European consumer
> goods correspondent
> LONDON (Reuters) - Please step forward into
> the future for a moment
... an android shop assistant is asking
> why you want blue trousers when its database says you prefer
> gray.
> Your sleeve communicator is beeping -- it's your genetically
> engineered boss at the spaceship plant -- and you just
> remembered you forgot to order milk on the shopping net before
> leaving home this morning.
> Some things will never change, but quite a lot will in the next
> 1,000 years, says a far-reaching report from investment bank
> and brokerage Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.
> For instance, clothes in the year 3000 may not need washing or
> ironing, thanks to new surface treatments, and everyday items
> will be bought almost instantly via the Internet.
> ``Fashions of the Third Millennium,'' the report compiled by a
> group of Morgan Stanley clothing and luxury goods industry
> analysts, ranges well beyond hemlines and lapel widths into such
> realms as Internet connectivity and bioelectronic technology.
> ``Some executives smirked about our survey's time frame,'' wrote
> the analysts, who interviewed 16 apparel industry executives,
> including Tommy Hilfiger and Kenneth Cole.
> ``But if suppliers don't go beyond the industry's current problems,
> they may just as well admit defeat.''
> Gazing into their crystal balls, the analysts and executives saw
> some stunning wardrobe improvements by the year 3000.
> As well as being created in non-wash, non-iron materials,
> clothes may also be able to maintain body moisture and
> temperature, and deliver vitamins to the blood through the skin.
> Apparel will be custom-made for individuals, based on electronic
> body-scans and rapid production, or sold at globally standardized
> sizes in place of today's sizing hodgepodge.
> The Internet will be pervasive and connected to individuals via
> all-in-one, miniature units holding cell phone, organizer and
> pager, and integrated into clothing ``to make Star Trek look
> positively prehistoric,'' the report said.
> Staple products, such as food, will be obtained by almost
> effortless thought-pattern or push-button Internet requests.
> Although products such as clothing will be sold on the Internet,
> the report believes the trip to the department store or shopping
> mall will not disappear -- as social and entertainment occasions
> in the same way that restaurants supplement home dining today.
> Stores may be staffed by ``semi-human'' assistants implanted
> with organic data processors enabling them to recall instantly
> the tastes and sizes of thousands of customers.
> More alarmingly, an elite of genetically engineered humans may
> exist alongside the normal human population. These super humans
> may demand a completely new array of products, especially in
> the sporting and luxury goods categories.
> The overall population will be much larger, more ethnically
> diverse and older. By the end of the next millennium, the median
> age could be 48 compared to today's 26 -- a shift that will doom
> today's teen-oriented, hip-hop marketplace.
> True to form, the analysts did not miss the chance to recommend
> some stocks that they said would be winners ``over the next
> three years -- or the next 1,000.''
> Among them were European luxuries makers LVMH, Hermes and
> Bulgari, as well as U.S. firms Nike, Liz Claiborne and Tommy
> Hilfiger.
> But with a further burst of prescience, the analysts conceded,
> ``We doubt whether many of the companies we research today
> will be around by the year 3000 in their current form.''

           Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Running on BeOS           Typing in Dvorak          Programming with Patterns
Voting for Libertarians   Heading for Singularity   There Is A Better Way