A Radical Pessimist’s Guide to the Next 10 Years

This caught my eye. By Douglas Coupland, it’s a wonderful mix of funny and frighteningly accurate predictions for the future.

A few excerpts in particular stood out for me:

The challenge: #19 Could you draw an even remotely convincing map of all those islands in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories? Quick, draw Ellesmere Island.

I took up my pen. (How many of you are about to do the same? Sketch your version of Ellesmere Island before you scroll down. Go on. I’ll wait.)

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Here’s what I came up with on the first try:

First attempt

I checked it against a map:

Ellesmere Island

How well did I do? I had the general shape inverted and placed Alert several hundred kilometers south, but at least I had it on the right island.

So I tried again:

Ellesmere, second attempt

Geographically, politically, the north has always held my fascination. In Grade 4 or 6 (I don’t remember which, but I remember the teacher – the same teacher taught me both grades) we had a geography assignment: to research one of the Canadian provinces or territories, demographics, industries, etc., and draw it. Nobody was allowed to choose Saskatchewan because the drawing would be too easy. I, of course, chose the Northwest Territories, as they were then, not as they are now – I never said I wasn’t an overachiever.

But I digress. A lot of what Coupland envisions for the next 10 years I see seeds of today, and most observations are spot on.

Like Douglas Adams’ The Meaning of Liff, he’s got a word for everything.

For example:

Frankentime: and I wonder why I dread going back to work.

Time snack: Often annoying moments of pseudo-leisure created by computers when they stop to save a file or to search for software updates or, most likely, for no apparent reason.

The-ing. I will try to remember how this is uncool when Sylvia is fourteen.

Noun-nouning. Be honest. When have you caught yourself doing this exact act? I just never knew it was a cultural phenomenon.

Thankfully it’s not all bad:

# 21 - Hurrah!

But I think he is behind the program on this one:

#43: Not all that different from life post-Igor, if highwaymen are flagspeople, organ theives are after your canned kidney beans, and frightened villagers are, well, frightened villagers.

And finally…

Oh.

I see. Well I guess I’ll just wrap this up then.

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