The following essay was submitted by Jennifer Ysteboe from University of Missouri as part of the Future of Technology Scholarship competition.
At 6:45 a.m. on the dot, my phone firmly tells me, “Taylor, it is time to wake up. Taylor, it is time to wake up,” before I say, “I understand.” I rub my eyes as the alarm turns off, but now my phone gives me my schedule today. “Editors’ meeting at 10:30 a.m. Lunch with new photographer at noon. Phone interview at 3:00 p.m.”
I shuffle out of bed towards the kitchen where the coffee is already brewing. As soon as I set foot on the cool tiles, the microwave turns on, cooking my egg white on an English muffin for breakfast.
I gotta say. Having a house that runs on my schedule is not too shabby. Depending on the day, it runs through a programmed list of actions. For example, it brews coffee at 6:40 a.m. and sends out the Roomba to sweep up crumbs on Monday through Friday and delays cooking my breakfast until 9:00 a.m. on the weekends.
I pour myself a cup of coffee and my breakfast muffin is ready. As I sit at the kitchen table, my mail drops before me from the automated chute that is connected to the outside mailbox. I let out a shiver because I feel a chill in the air, but the house automatically adjusts and increases the temperature accordingly.
After I place my dirty dishes into the sink, I hear the shower turn on above me, allowing me enough time to make my way upstairs as the water begins to heat up.
I finish my shower and complete my morning routine by getting dressed and fixing my hair and makeup.
As I am about to leave, I look at the screen on the refrigerator to see if I need to pick up groceries. Because I’m short on sugar, apples, and bread, I click the screen, and it prints off my grocery list.
I unplug my car from the wall socket where it charges overnight and then hop in and say “Head to work.” The car understands the command and backs out of the driveway, and I open the latest issue of our magazine to ensure that all the spreads are correct. Despite the advancing technology (I’m in a self-driving car!), many publications, like the magazine I am the chief editor of, still produce paper versions. However, periodicals nowadays are made of less paper by using a special formula but still have just as many pages. Now that’s earth-friendly.
In the expected sixteen minutes, I arrive at my office and my car parks in my reserved spot. I flash my card as I walk to the door, and it quickly slides open.
I greet my staff with a wave before entering my corner office.
Upon entering, my phone notifies me of all new emails and reminds me of my editors’ meeting in a couple hours. I sit at my desk and begin to respond to my emails on my laptop. Because my hands begin to ache by the fourth email, I start to use the voice control option to dictate the messages.
Before I know it, it’s 10:28, and I have to go up to the third floor for my meeting, but I forgot to print copies of a potential spread for the next issue. I quickly send the spread to the overhead printer that follows a track around the entire building and delivers copies depending on location. I rush out of my office and catch the elevator as the doors open. After I make it to the third floor, the overhead printer locates me and spits out the spread.
Thankfully, I enter the board room exactly at 10:30, and my editors are already seated and ready. I pass out physical copies of the spread, but I also upload the spread to the large computer that is built to lie in the center of the table. I explain the layout of the seven-page spread, and we work together to edit it. One of my editors rearranges the photographs on the screen to create more room for a more detailed caption while another draws arrows using a stylus to mark a reorganization of paragraphs. Once we finish the spread, we discuss future cover stories and columns and an editor draws a concept map on the active whiteboard. When the meeting is over, I hold my tablet by the whiteboard and swipe the concept map onto my tablet to save.
I begin to head back to my office, but I decide to first check on a couple of my writers to discuss ideas. When I step into one writer’s cubicle, I am struck by how loudly he plays his music. To regain my concentration, I step outside the cubicle to the silence to brace myself. Each workspace has airtight sound walls to contain all music within the four dividers. I walk back in to tell the writer about the new press releases and to warn him about going deaf. “Chief,” he laughs. “I’m wearing special aids in my ears that filter the sounds so no damage is done.” I raise my eyebrows in surprise, but in 2040, I shouldn’t be surprised by new technology anymore.
The next writer I check on has just returned from a personal day. I know her father has recently been diagnosed with cancer, but she seems optimistic. When I enter her cubicle, bright music is playing, and she is smiling. She tells me that the newer forms of chemotherapy don’t leave her dad with any negative side effects. I wish her father well and head to my own office.
I plan to tinker with the graphic design schemes that we are trying to incorporate onto the website. I project the rough design to the center of the room and begin to grab the objects of the design with my hands and either enlarge or shrink them, make them brighter or make them duller. When I’m satisfied, I save the work and send it to my art team.
It’s now time to have lunch with the new photographer at the corner café. I decide to walk there because it’s not far, and it’s a lovely day. I enter the café and see the new photographer already seated, swiping through the menu on the built in tablet at the table. After examining the selections, we both click on our meals on the menu and chat before the food arrives. He tells me about how his camera is synced to his laptop and how each picture is automatically sent to it. Therefore, the camera does not need a memory card because all the pictures are already downloaded to his computer. We soon receive our meals and discuss how he will contribute to the magazine. At the end of lunch, the checks arrive. To pay, I press my thumb to the screen, allowing my credit card information to register. I punch in my pin number and my meal is paid for. By identifying my thumbprint and my pin number, my credit card information is more secure.
I stroll back to my office in order to get back to work. After editing a number of articles, I feel the 2:00 p.m. crash coming, but I hear my coffee pot brewing (it knows me too well), and I turn on the massage option on my chair to help relax my tension. As I sip my coffee, I study the statistics from our social media pages and forward the information to the publicity team.
My phone alerts me of my phone interview with a music producer in ten minutes. I pull up my questions on one side of my computer screen and upload all of my research on the producer on the other side of the screen. In a few minutes, I call the producer and we discuss the changing music industry. He reveals to me how it is becoming common practice to simulate instrument playing on the computer rather than hiring studio musicians. We also discussed how pirating has gone through the roof, leaving many once-popular musicians without a cent to their name.
After the interview, I send my last emails of the day and leave the office to go grocery shop. I check my list that my fridge printed out and find the items to proceed to check out. I place all my items on the conveyor belt and press a button. The belt scans all the items by their weight and then are bagged by a machine while I pay for them.
I finally get back home and kick off my shoes. By 6:00, I hear the dispenser pour the food for my dog into her bowl. She skids across the floor to chow down. I decide it is time to make my dinner as well. I decide on stir fry and have my appliance pre-chop all the vegetables. I then sauté them in a wok until my stove determines they are cooked through.
I sit down to enjoy my dinner while paying my bills online. It’s been a long, productive day, and I smile contently at the progress I made at work today. I settle down before the TV to watch my shows before slowly drifting off to sleep.