A geo-enabled society: What will the next 100 years look like?

A few years ago I wrote a magazine column about the long-term, societal impact of geo-location technology. Here is an updated version. As the century unfolds, what might we read in the news over the next 100 years?

Back to the Future (Universal Studios)

The Football Association has launched legal proceedings against a man who, during a game, allowed a naked version of his avatar to run across the pitch in augmented reality. The lawsuit alleges use of an unauthorised Layar file in the stadium. Sunday Times, 15 August 2016

Microsoft is about to complete its OpenBingMap coverage for the final country on earth being mapped, Burma. Meanwhile Google are trying to reclaim the spotlight and have launched a crowdsourced project to find the Yeti. Washington Post, 21 February 2022

Madagascar has sued SinoGoogleSoft about its temporary disappearance from the Earth Viewer. The government claims that the temporary outage has cost their national economy $1.5bn as businesses, tourists and airlines were no longer able to locate the island.  Financial Times, 20 November 2031

Sergio Vabene, the Italian Health Minister, recently expressed concern over people always knowing their exact location. According to medical research it is causing many people to get depressed, as the human mind is not designed to live in absolute certainty. “We need to get lost more, to switch off and relax,” Mr Vabene was quoted as saying. The EU telecoms and defence ministers have called his comments “irresponsible”. Il Manifesto, 16 March 2035

A Dutch mother has been arrested for allegedly trying to change the location chip on her baby’s birth certificate. It is thought that she wanted to illegally secure permission for her child to grow up at higher altitude. Nederlands Dagblad, 24 October 2040

Nigeria has transformed an old oil platform into a tourist island and moved it to zero degrees latitude and longitude, offshore West Africa, which is the coordinate centre in Earth Viewer. It is claimed that tourists will be able to confuse communication systems at this location, so they can relax undetected. The first customer is a certain Mr Vabene from Italy. Le Monde, 16 January 2045

All air and space travel is still suspended whilst the investigation into the mysterious shift of the international date line continues. A terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack, demanding more personal freedom and mobility. The unknown group, called Last of the Geodesists, will move more meridians and hack into the earth’s gravity model if their demands are not met. CNN News, 7 September 2058

After six months of research, the mystery surrounding the discovery of an ancient clock has remained unsolved. The researchers who found it at an archaeological site could not establish the purpose of the instrument, which displays 360 units. Strangely the dial seems to keep pointing at the coffee machine in the lab, no matter which way you turn it. Evening Chronicle, 5 June 2085

A team of scientists is being assembled to plan a dangerous expedition into the outdoors. They will study new eco-habitats that are believed to have formed ever since the virtual world became the real world. However, nobody has so far been able to find a reliable map of the real world in the virtual world, as the audit trail only goes back to 2049. National Geographic, 23 May 2099

Does anyone have a time machine to verify this..?


4 thoughts on “A geo-enabled society: What will the next 100 years look like?

  1. Thanks guys, also to those who commented via Twitter. Actually I keep getting my numbers mixed up in blog posts – I’ve just corrected a couple of dates so the sequence of events is actually in chronological order – duh!

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