What does reality look like in the 2020s?

The Face guide to the 2020s: Victoria Buchanan is a trend forecaster at Future Laboratory. Here she discusses her predictions for fashion, technology and developments in virtual reality.

Hi, and welcome to the future: a toasty-warm, carbon-neutral, plastic-free place where your face has replaced your passport and your car drives itself. Weed is legal, alcohol is hangover-free, weekends last three days and we robots do your admin. We can dream.

Ten long years ago, The Face compiled a set of predictions for the coming decade from a star chamber of hotshot experts. That flesh-and-blood editorial team has long since disbanded but their legacy remains. From now until the first day of the new decade we’re sharing some prognostications (as seen in The Face Volume 4 Issue 002) on love, sex, space, AI, cannabis, mental health and plastic surgery (and more) for the years ahead.

Victoria Buchanan (The Future Laboratory)

The cognitive separation between real and virtual realms is becoming far less pronounced as avatars and digital garments empower virtual self-expression and digital layers extend our experience of the world. 

In 2020 the rise of malleable and reactive experiences powered by data and machine learning will push the boundaries of what is virtually possible even further. Advances in mixed reality (MR) technology and the roll-out of 5G in 2020 will see people accessing a new type of digital experience that was previously unimaginable. Intelligent garments will be able to respond and react to their context. Take, for example, the new Nike Adapt BB shoe. It combines an advanced power-lacing system that alters the shoe’s shape to the changing needs of the foot during sport.

This profound shift will drive entirely intuitive and individual experiences, catering to a consumer who is constantly in flux. The new Gentle Monster x Huawei smart eyewear collaboration is another example of how this could work in principle, featuring speakers and microphones that allow users to answer phone calls, listen to music and interact with a virtual assistant.”


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