Fast Forward to 2119...
What will motivate the business passenger, 100 years from now, to board a plane?
Devin Liddell, principal futurist at Teague – the Seattle-based consultancy that collaborates with Boeing, Intel, Marriott, Nike and Toyota to design new futures in aviation, automotive, smart cities, personal mobility and space travel – anticipates that the 22nd-century equivalent of Skype will be capable of convincingly replicating the experience of ‘being there’.
“Because of the advancement of work productivity technologies, it’s likely that we won’t have to travel for work unless we absolutely want to,” says Liddell. “A hundred years from now, unless I’m absolutely compelled to actually be in Shanghai, there won’t be much reason for me to go, because video conference calls of the future will be so tightly integrated – even potentially via neural circuitry – so you’ll have shared brainstorms and shared think sessions where you are wired together”. But far from envisaging the demise of business travel, Liddell predicts the opposite – that the experience of going to places for real in the 22nd century will have a more alluring cachet than its virtual counterpart.
“Because everything will be spectacularly replicated, one of the things we may value most, and one of our central currencies 100 years from now, will be the authentically real,” he says. “Being there in person in an authentically real way will have added value and, because of hypersonic travel [traveling five times faster than sound], getting to Shanghai will be really quick. I think that the ‘red thread’ will be the passenger desire for the authentic.”