Return of the crazy years?
As the realisation of living in the 2020s dawned on me, I couldn’t help myself from drawing parallels to the 1920s. Known as the ‘crazy years’ in France, the ‘roaring twenties’ in the US, and the ‘golden twenties’ in Germany, the decade of 1920s is widely associated with modernity and a break of tradition.
What was going on with tech?
The 1920s saw the large-scale development and use of telephones, movies, radio, and electrical appliances being installed in the lives of thousands of Westerners.
I believe something similar will happen in the 2020s. While the decade of 2010s was marked by the creation and expansion of new frameworks and interfaces like the gig-economy, social networks, multi-touch smartphone devices and so on, the 2020s will be a period where tech actually gets “installed” in the lives of people. Currently, the definition of technology to the masses is largely limited to the different apps that they use on their smartphones, but there’s no significant use of technology when you’re out in the real world. I believe 2020s could be the period when tech takes over the signboards, roads, buildings, public spaces, movie halls and so on. We could also see the convergence of real and virtual thanks to the rise of smartglasses and/or AR.
What was going on with transportation?
Aviation soon became a business.
After the first flight by Wright brothers in 1903, it was only in the 1920s that modern aviation as we know it started taking roots in the public sphere. Now, I believe 2020s may finally be the decade when the long-hyped concept of space tourism finally comes to fruition, achieving something almost as unbelievable as flying somewhere in the 1920s. Companies like SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and Blue Origin already have people on waiting lists ready to be rocketed off to space. Furthermore, in December 2018, Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity entered outer space, bringing the possibility of regular commercial spaceflights closer.
What was going on with media?
The media, funded by the new industry of mass-market advertising driving consumer demand, focused on celebrities, especially sports heroes and movie stars.
In the 2010s we saw the expansion of advertising channels like never before: interest based ads, Instagram/Snapchat influencers, in-app ads etc. Make no mistake, the media is profiting off widely from these channels – Facebook’s revenue in 2010 was $2bn, in 2019 it is expected to be $64bn – and targeted ads will continue to drive consumer demand. Funded with these new advertising channels, I believe the mainstream media will finally start focusing on social media influencers seriously in 2020s. Although, my ability to comment in this area remains limited due to lack of experience and data.
What was going on with women’s rights?
In many major democratic states, women won the right to vote.
I, personally, consider the 2010s as a period in which feminism became popular (also known as fourth wave feminism.) A lot of progress was made regarding women’s rights and the discussion surrounding it went mainstream. This is similar to the period of first-wave feminism that happened in the early 19th century, which eventually led to the suffrage movement. I think we might be on the cusp of something as big happening in the 2020s.
What was going on with US immigration?
The United States became more anti-immigration in policy. The Immigration Act of 1924 limited immigration to a fraction proportionate to that ethnic group in the United States in 1890.
Not much to say here, except it sounds eerily similar to what’s happening right now.
Will the crazy years really return?
Ofcourse, all of this is just mindless speculation on my part. However, I do hope all the positive things from the crazy years – the break of tradition, the mass-adoption of tech, and the rise of new art & culture – do make a comeback!