COULD you soon be living in a world where you visit “15 minute spaces” and your heartbeat identifies you as you walk into a store? The World Economic Forum says it is our likely future and this vision has not gone down well with everyone.


What is the forum?

The World Economic Forum, established in 1971, is a non-profit independent body “committed to improving the state of the world” by bringing together society’s leaders.


And it has focused on the pandemic?

A new video on social media based on a report by technology consultancy, Cognizant, sketches out the "five ways the pandemic could reshape our lives in the long-term”.


So what are “the ways”?

They look at the obvious changes to the working environment, saying "offices will be reimagined”, serving different functions, ranging from being used as a "client showroom" to a research lab or “somewhere to meet and reconnect with colleagues.”


What else?

The second prediction includes the advent of “15 minute spaces” to help break up the working day. The report says these spaces would be “neighbourhood hubs” that workers can easily get to from their homes within 15 minutes, including amenities such as restaurants, bars, a gym or an art gallery; spaces to take breaks, network and form new connections.


Beyond these spaces…?

…the experts also predict the “ghost kitchens” that appeared during the pandemic - delivery only restaurants - will develop into “cloud markets” where you can pick and choose from a variety of online brands and have them delivered to mix and match your choices. 


But then it gets more intense?

Cardiac recognition is the next step. With facial recognition already a feature of many of our lives, the experts suggest a way around the glitch that mask-wearing has posed to the technology could be "heartbeat recognition". Developed by the Pentagon and Nasa, "Cardio ID" can detect a person's unique cardiac signature using an infrared laser. The technology could also be used to identify shoppers as they enter a store, for example.



The fifth way suggests that following on from the experiences of homeschool, digital technology could allow children "to earn at their own pace while improving their digital skills”, with education in the future becoming a hybrid of school and home-based learning.


Not everyone is on board?

In response to the WEF’s “This is how our lives could soon look” video, historian and presenter Neil Oliver wrote simply: “I’m not going there.” Sports presenter Ross Dyer added: "Your vision of the future is a hell for liberty & humanity.  We will not yield to your corrupt, global, bio-security surveillance tyranny.” Other replies included "No thanks, I don't want my heartbeat surveilled" and simply "go away”.


Any positive reactions?

There was one Twitter user apparently on board, saying: “Am I the only one who sees no problem with this? I live like this for years already and I quite like it. Just efficiently taking advantage of technology. And yes I'm a nerd.”