What year will next represent the future?

Twenty years ago, we officially crossed over into the future, with the fabled ‘year 2000.’ It marked a transition into the time long promised, a year that had been brought out every time someone wanted to show that they were thinking of the future. Then we hit 2001, when we were supposed to be having space odysseys, and 2010, when we should have made contact.

Now, we’re in 2020, which is another significant year because it has connotations with vision. 20/20 is perfect eyesight, and 2020, the year, was the target for strategic plans, grand visions and big proposals. It’s because it’s a nice, round number with a positive connotation, it has a bit of weight to it.

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The question is now what the official year of the future is going to be.

Naturally, writers of fiction might decide this for us. 1984 was iconic not because of anything inherently beautiful about the date, but because George Orwell used it as the date of his dystopian nightmare. The next year that is going to be a big deal could easily be one that is part of a popular piece of science fiction, whatever that might be. It probably isn’t written yet.

It could easily a film that gives us our next iconic year. After all, 2001 is still representative of the future even if it technically took place 19 years ago – and honestly, HAL 9000 was basically a male Alexa that doesn’t want to sell you things you don’t need, so we’re inching closer to that reality even if the year is wrong. To be the year in question it will have to be the title of the movie in question.

It could easily be a game that gives us that year. That said, many games like to hedge their bets when naming a specific year. I’ll give credit for that trope to Mega Man, which was originally set in 200X.

In all honesty, I struggle to think of much fiction that really goes front and center with a year. There is the Hong Kong drama 2046, which has a science fiction story in it, but derives its title from a hotel room. There’s Blade Runner 2049, which wasn’t a huge hit, but does have a year right there in the title. There’s also the game 2064: Read Only Memories, which I know very little about. But, beside each other, these titles make an interesting suggestion.

Will the next ‘year of the future’ be built around fours? All three of these titles have a 4 in them. Two have sixes, one has a nine, so a multiple of three. You would look at those titles and think people are attracted to 4s, 6s and 9s, and wonder if that’s going to influence where we go when picking a year in the future.

The Blade Runner title might be most telling of all, however, because it’s ending in a 9, which suggests that it’s right before a big change. It’s the future, but right before a decade change - there’s a future following that future, in other words. 2049 is almost there, but there’s another year after it, and that’s the one that really represents the future.

It’s going to be 2050, which doesn’t have a 4, 6 or a 9, but it does represent the future. It’s half way to a new century, it’s far off but attainable. It represents an achievable goal and looks somewhat cool as well. Watch, 2050 will soon be the official year of the future, just like the present was in the past.

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