By now, you must have received scores of predictions about 2022 from tech gurus, stock market pundits, astrologers, and probably even your vegetable seller. In the tech world, one group that even the likes of Google and Apple depend on for making predictions are science fiction writers. “Sci-fi prototyping” — a way to imagine futuristic worlds — helps these companies imagine new worlds with their products in them. So, I asked T.G. Shenoy, the writer of India’s longest-running weekly science fiction column New Worlds Weekly, to share some of his predictions for 2022. Here’s what he said:
What were some of the fiction that turned into fact for you this year?
The biggest thing everyone is talking about right now is the metaverse. In theory, it has come through because you have companies buying real estate in the metaverse, trying to do campaigns on the metaverse, and trying to come up with their own virtual avatars. But what the metaverse in its current form is doing isn’t anything that Second Life hasn’t been doing for a while. So, I foresee that it will be at least a couple of years before we see the first true application of the metaverse. It will probably be driven by gaming in the beginning.
What is your tech prediction for 2022?
2021 was just part two of the year 2020, and 2022 will just be part three of this. So, it will be the last year of “The Year 2020 Trilogy.” I hope we will not have any more spinoffs.
Startups will continue to make money by making us lazier. We don’t have an app to get an ambulance to our house in 30 minutes, but groceries will come in 10 minutes! It’s getting more and more ridiculous. The next step is for them to set up shop in our house.
2022 is also the year that Soylent Green sets in. [Soylent Green is a 1973 American ecological dystopian thriller with the theme of inequality, brought about by overpopulation, pollution, environmental degradation, and severely depleted resources.] My prediction is that the world of Soylent Green is going to come real in all its ghastly glory, right down to tech-enabled euthanasia. It’s already begun in a way. There’s a pod that’s available in Switzerland which lets you kill yourself.
Also, 2022 will be the first year when the term climate refugee enters mainstream consciousness.