I have expectations for changes that’ll happen in the next couple of decades based on my feelings about the direction things are headed. They’re not based on one particular trend that’s going on now. Like those long skinny balloons clowns use, when one area is squished another area expands.
The declining interest in owning a car will continue, and bike commuting will increase – along with public transportation. One of the biggest steps toward a happier life turns out to be reducing your commute time, and as more people catch on to this it’ll speed up changes in transportation. Plus people will stop seeing a bike as something for recreation needing special clothes, gloves, and shoes. They’ll be able to use a bike like they use a train, without specialized gear.
If people start living closer to work they’ll pay more attention to where they’re spending their time, which might translate into more trees being planted in cities. This’ll create a visually more pleasant place to live in, and bring a bit of nature into city living.
Not something that’s a big deal, but I think people’s interest in diamond jewelry will decline. People will still buy jewelry and some diamonds but interest in diamonds will decrease as people care less about displays of wealth and they’ll see there’s actually nothing special about a diamond except the marketing.
Harsh sentences and cruel punishments in the penal system will be addressed, maybe only due to the costs involved but probably out of moral concerns too.
Education will get cheaper and better via the internet, computers, and more productive interactions between teachers and student. As education improves the population will drop when people decide to have fewer kids to increase their standard of life and also realizing that most of the problems humans cause stem from there being too many of us.
Also related to increasing levels of education, will be the acceptance of the idea that having a good society to live in is more important to happiness than your place in that society. The result will be taxing extreme wealth. Wealth acquisition and competition will continue, and be encouraged, but extremes at the bottom and the top of society will be discouraged.
Twenty years ago, the sex advice columnist, Dan Savage was giving advice and discussing things that sounded edgy. Today he’s still giving the same sort of advice but it’s no longer edgy, not because he changed, but because most of the country has caught up to him. So I’ll have to check back in twenty years with what I’m saying now and see how it holds up.