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Kirkham, 17, League City, TX
With the advent of the 21st century right around the corner, it is natural to reflect on how far we have come in the past 100 years and how far we expected to come.
Science fiction books, like George Orwell's 1984, described what the future might hold in a post-war society. They depicted a Jetsons-like existence where the realms of space had been explored and every possible innovation was available.
In reality, the first personal computer was developed in the mid-1980s and our technological abilities haven't slowed since then. I believe that the advancements of the past ten years foreshadow what is to come in the next 100 years.
In order to make future predictions, it is necessary to focus on the future development of the Internet in the domestic and global market. Certainly the Internet has revolutionized our nation's way of thinking and doing everyday things. It seems to me that in the next 100 years, everything will relate in some way or form to the Internet. From home security systems to alarm clocks to even your toaster, each home will have a central network that runs everything. This is similar to today's business computer networks, yet will cater to every need of each individual in the house.
The idea of centralization and networking will be the unifying theory in the next century. Even the Internet will be re-organized according to this principle. As we now know, there are innumerable dot-com companies out there, all of which go through great fluctuations in their prosperity. By the end of the 21st century, many of these companies will unite to achieve a more stable existence in the global market. I do not believe that our system of currency will become obsolete over the course of the next century, but it does appear that with online commerce rising, credit card companies will need to adapt to the times.
As far as life away from the business world, the education system will still involve a classroom environment in order to adjust students to real-world working conditions. However, assignments and activities will be more directed toward the Internet and computer technology. Most likely, laptops will be utilized rather than paper and pencil, preparing students for the jobs they will have in a mainly computer-driven economy.
Home life in the next century will inevitably be very busy, as it is now. Hopefully, networking in the household will expedite many everyday errands. Grocery shopping and going to the bank will certainly be able to be done online, as well as any other necessary purchases or transactions.
Overall, the next century will usher in a fast-paced working and living environment, yet one that is full of prosperity and progress. Looking back on how far we have come and forward to what we still can accomplish, the possibilities are endless.
It is our generation that will be the patrons of the society of the 21st century. We have the chance to start our careers at the beginning of a new age, and what we choose to focus our life's work on can have a major impact on society's course. I believe, however, that we are up to the challenge.
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