Sudbury·The Next 40

Drone commuters and cellphones in your brain—life in Northern Ontario in 2058

CBC Sudbury is celebrating its 40th birthday not just by looking back, but also by looking ahead to what we might be talking about 40 years from now in the year 2058. This first part of our series Next 40 looks at how everyday life in northern Ontario could change.
Futurists say in 2058 we're still likely to wake up with a digital device, but it might be embedded in our brain. (Shutterstock)

Richard Worzel, whose job it is to predict the future, figures people will still need to wake up and get out of bed in 2058.

"I think probably the starkest or the most remarkable difference of somebody waking up 40 years from now is you wouldn't wake up alone," says the Toronto-based futurist.

He means that you'll be woken up by what he calls a personal "genie."

"It will do many things for you. It will inform you when you first wake up, how are you, how did you sleep and what do you need for breakfast and what is your optimal activities for the day both based on your schedule and what your physical needs are," says Worzel.

He says the genie will live in some kind of digital device, which for some, will be implanted in their hand or directly in their brain.

But Worzel says others will find that too "intrusive and creepy" and they'll still have a smart phone on a nightstand. 

Futurists say that by 2058, almost everything will be a computer, including cars, roads, home appliances and mirrors. (Alibaba )

"I think we'd be surprised at just how different our world will be, but also how similar it might be," says Jim Carroll, another Toronto-based futurist.

But Carroll predicts some big changes for the people of northern Ontario in 2058, including driving flying cars to work.

Jesse Hirsh, a technology expert who grew up in North Bay, predicts that people-sized drones, autonomous cars and faster Internet across the north will stop the decades of out-migration to the south.

"It will make it easier for people like myself to move back. Will make it easier for people who want to do business and be connected to places like Ottawa and Toronto, but live in a better setting and live in a more affordable setting," says Hirsh. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erik White

journalist

Erik White is a CBC journalist based in Sudbury. He covers a wide range of stories about northern Ontario. Connect with him on Twitter @erikjwhite. Send story ideas to erik.white@cbc.ca

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