Ben Cooper

Group Innovation Director M&C Saatchi Sydney. Co-Creator O Six Hundred Kayak. Proud father. Loving husband. British.


Australian Creative Magazine: Future Shock Article

August 7, 2007

I was asked to write an article for the August issue of Australian Creative on the Internet in 10 years. Sadly the whole thing didn’t get published (only up to 16.00, that’ll make sense when you read the following) so here is the full version for your pleasure.

If you get the actual edition you’ll note that the other writers (Chris Coward, SNR Interactive Producer @ The One Centre and Tim Buesing. Lead Creative @ NETX) were writing about the internet in 20 years, 2027 – so somewhere there was a mixup.

Anyway, here is a story of sorts – about the Internet in 10 years – as I saw it. Of course by the time it went to print my perspective has changed about ten times…

ps. If you want to read another perspective on the Internet in 2017, read Bruce Sterlings excellent ‘Dispatches from the Hypelocal Future’ article in/on WIRED ISSUE 15.07 which I found far more exciting than mine.


Must change my alarm settings, I’ve had the same wake-up for seven mornings now. As the room slowly fills with light, Marlena Shaw breaks the silence with ‘The Feeling’s Good’. My head hurts. I never seem to know when to stop drinking. I tell my now bright room to darken again. The room instantly becomes more bearable as the lights fade.

The alarm soundtrack draws to an end, I ready for my spoken online update. All my social network websites are set to report all activities in the morning. Seems the video I uploaded of a friend getting down to some funky beats caused a bit of a stir, 5,000+ views. 25 comments – mostly friends – but three people said it was inappropriate – get a life! Uh oh, ten video files and four rather abrupt IM messages. Seems the ‘funkmaster’ isn’t too happy about his new celebrity.

Suppose I better get up, the shower starts – I tell it to stop. I want to check my pictures first I’ve been waiting for some news from home. I was right. As I walk into my lounge room, I can see that the photo frame has changed overnight. It’s now displaying the beaming faces of my brother, his wife and the NEW edition to the Cooper clan ‘Miluna’. I can’t believe it, I’m an uncle. I click the picture and watch the video file, seems mother and baby are exhausted but everyone is happy and well. I record a short reply and wish I didn’t look so awful. Reply sent.

Can you believe it? My toothbrush has just told me that I’m over the alcohol limit and has locked my car. WTF. Despite my pounding head, this morning was going quite well, until now. Medicentre’s computer just messaged me saying that it was disappointed that I’d drunk so much. I think it’s time to dispose of that talkative toothbrush.

Almost out of the apartment, I power down all rooms and services. Hallelujah! My trusty PDA just told me that Mrs Knowit is at the end of the hall. I wait a moment as she passes, don’t want to start a conversation as I’ll be here all morning. The joy of proximity technology, my whole building is networked through the strata server. It’s great really, makes sure we’re all safe – plus I avoid those who wind me up – and I get to orchestrate an ‘accidental’ bump into the cute girl from No. 6. Mind you, she equally knows when I’m on my way.

The bus is late but at least I’m on it now. Time to check my schedule. It’s a busy day ahead, so no surprises there. We’ve got a meeting of all international creative teams at 08.30. It’s ‘at’ the NYC office today, I haven’t been there before and am looking forward to seeing where they work.

I’m late and most people are already logged in to the NYC meeting, I can see them all on the main screen. My team scowls at me, although they’ve got me a coffee, pain relief at last. I login and my avatar appears in the NYC office – immediately I get pelted with virtual clocks – point taken.

I like their offices, the view over Manhattan is beautiful. The simulated office is networked with their real-world office web-cams. It works well – more of an immersive experience – so despite being ‘virtual’, I hate that word, we get a better sense of their environment.

Once the briefing is complete we’re invited to see a new installation in Central Park – as normal there’s a ‘team bonding’ exercise, but I’m not in the mood, especially as NYC are renown for showing off.

I’m now riding a tweed dinosaur up Park Avenue, it’s an intra-agency steeplechase to Central Park! I cut off my boss who’s riding a green pelican with a jet-pack. Just picture this – you’ve got 25 individuals careering towards Central Park on all manner of virtual beasts. It’s nuts, for some reason I’m in the lead as I hit the park. All of a sudden the social network director from our China agency comes out of nowhere on a metallic tortoise with wheels: she beats me and wins.

It’s been a busy morning. I need some lunch, so I say ‘Thai’ to my PDA. The response “did you say pie?” Once I’ve sorted the technical hitch, my total lunch options come down to three restaurants, I choose one and order a fish choo-chee. I need a walk so I set my GPS to pedestrian and off we go.

Back at the office my touch screen isn’t working to well with fish choo-chee all over it. Bring back the keyboard.

We’ve an issue with a client’s virtual real-estate. It seems that someone is cyber-squatting the location and to add insult to injury they’re selling avatar sex-toys from it. I speak to our lawyers to get some clarity on the client’s rights in this situation. It’s actually quite simple, what you own or lease in the real-world you have rights to in the virtual. As I explained at length to the client, most virtual-worlds are built on the geographic features and property laws of our real-world. They want to take immediate action. I decide to login and check it out, there could be some potentially hilarious footage for my blog, but it’s time to logout when the in-world bailiffs arrive.

The afternoon is hellish, but at least it’s Friday, not long now.

We’ve all got stuck into a few beers at work and it’s looking like a big night. Everyone’s wondering where to go. I change my PDA personal status to ‘up-for-it’ and realise that most of my mates are scattered around the city doing a similar thing. It seems that no one can decide where to meet. I request a suggestion and the PDA reviews everyones preferred bars, recent history and researches events happening that night. The Hollywood it is.

As the second round of sambuca’s are ordered, I manage to escape in a taxi. Outside my block I suddenly realise I haven’t got my PDA. Always on, always connected isn’t so helpful when you’re not. I don’t even know anyone’s number or email. I essentially have no money and it’s quite cold. In fact, the only way I’ve managed to get in to the block is with an eye and finger-print scan. As I walk to my apartment, I bump into the girl from No.6, for once she didn’t see me coming.

©2007 Ben Cooper

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