2040 Essay Contest: A day in [y]our life
During the spring semester 2021, the Strategic Foresight Hub launched the “2040 Essay Contest: A day in [y]our life”. The ETH community was invited on a journey to the year 2040 and encouraged to describe a day in their imagined future. From the submitted essays, the SFH team selected four essays which you find below. Criteria for the selection were the relevance to the posed question, creativity and the readability.
The selected essays can now be rated by the public for the public prize. Please vote here.
A jury will select an essay that will be developed further.
The essays are presented in random order.
«Sujin, what is the weather like today?»
«Good Morning! Zurich is currently 14°C and awaits a 60% probability of rain at 6 pm. You have 5 minutes to leave home if you want to be on time for the meeting!»
Sipping the rest of my coffee, I rush away from the table. Before going out, I still have to do my daily testing. I take a clip on my finger.
«Your test is registered. You can go!» confirms Sujin.
I leave home and sit in the back of my car. On the way to Höngg, I have 20 minutes to scroll down through my blood testing and prepare my meetings while my self-driving car drives me to ETH. My watch reads out the blood test result while I launch my tablet: my blood sugar is a bit high, and my virus vulnerability is around 5%, which means that I don’t have to wear a mask today. What a relief it is to know everything about your body just with one click! I almost forget about the uncertain times during the COVID situation and look through the window: we leave the residential area and drive through the vertical farms: tall greenhouses, some for aquaponic vegetation and others for cattle, separate the residential area from the urban center. Ten years ago, we reached the critical level of ozone in the atmosphere. Since then, we were building these greenhouses as the excessive earth-farming industry became way too polluting and was not sustainable in its land occupancy anymore.
Arrived in the parking, I plug in my car into a charger and head to our office. At the entrance, I have to pass through a glowing corridor of UV sterilization light that cleans from any bacteria I might bring in the public zones. I work for the chair of AI structures, and this morning, I have to assist in testing the building robots that could fulfill all the dangerous manual tasks on the construction site.
Today is the only day of the week I have to be physically on campus to assist in some important meetings that will not be possible virtually. Most of the time, I don’t need to be in the office, which makes my time management very flexible. We have become entirely independent of physical places and time schedules, focusing on the quality and the amount of our work.
At noon, I take the «tele-tram» that brings me down to Limmatpatz within 5 minutes. The city center is now accessible only with electric public transport. However, there are now many attractive coworking centers in the city that are free for public use, and to get there, you have to book an entry to avoid overcrowding. They adapted the previous old-fashioned offices and installed hierarchy-free working zones with numerous cafés, sports centers, and other social facilities. Coworking zones are places of social and professional exchange, offering an opportunity to meet new people out of your daily circle of contacts. Today in 2040, we stress more than ever the need for spaces to escape from home routine and to change the scenarios of our daily life.
You may vote for one of the essays here: https://sctlxofb57l.typeform.com/to/nmHTQxxy
You may find more information on our website.
Other contest essays
“Überwachung und Selbstoptimierung” (with English translation)
Der Geruch von Kaffee bleibt gut (with English translation)