Once upon a time, when I was a little girl, my father had talked about 1996 and 1998, and it had seemed so very far away and unrealistic. Before I knew it, I was passing out of college in 2001, the much hyped Millenium having had it through. At that time it was still a little tough to figur out how to write dates. I mean, from 31/12/99, to what? uh.. 01/01/00? Or do you write the full thing? 01/01/2000? The whole year went through with my college notes dated either 00 or 2000 or 2K, depening on my mood for the class. 2001 brought some confirmation in life (incidentally in personal aspect too). But, sitting (even) in 1995, 2000 seemed eons ahead. It was a turn of the century and you could thing about in an un-related, futuristic yet real sort of way.
When I joined the pharma company, there was all this talk of 2005 Patent Rule change in India to be implemented from 1st Jan. The WTO law conformation which would change the very fibre of medicines in India - right from companies making it to patients buying it. Big thing. It was still soemthing people were planning for, but in a detached sort of way - no one knowing where it would all lead. There were strategy meetings in every pharma company I know of, and lofty future plans. However, all of that had a surrealistic feel, because everyone knew - 2005 was too far away.
Then one day, it was 2005, Jan 1st.
Sometime in Feb/March there was a pharma biggie meeting with the govt and future steps were rolled out. Nothing from the strategy meetings were handy...except in the broader sense...they were afterall Motherhood statements made in lack of actual information.
Teaches you something.
Even the most hyped, vitally important future event remains exactly that - a point in the future. We all know one day we will grow up and go to college, and go out and earn, but its all in the future. Correlating it with the present is something different.
Correlation actually occurs only when the event happens - and that too with a response time. The recognition that the future is here, is different from moving from one day to the next.
And after all that time you realise that all that hype about the future is actually useless. It was all there to make you prepared for this day, and your responses. However, at the end of the day, you always act in a certain specified way which result in your response and preparedness for the "Day in the Future". What you studied and how determines what college you go to, as does your subject and choice of graduation determine your job.
Coming back to 2050, or even 2014, think about it. Its not too far away. We make product pipelines for 10 yrs into the future, but it is all so dispassionate it does not occur that we will still be there to see the results of our pipelines, though from a different perspective (as in not from the same company).
2014. The patent of a product expires then, based on present market scenario we say so many tings - how much we can earn., who our competitors might be...and so on. How much will things remain the same, however?
10 years ago we could not have imagined the way we do business now. Talk to the old timers - they will speak about faxing and the trunk calls. How then, will we do business in 2014? Perhaps the same - technology may develop in other ways. Eventually however, things remain the same.
2014. (Almost) 35 yrs of age. Sure, we talk of that age... I mean, 31/32 is a much discussed age, and many I know are pretty close to it (Sash, M to name a few ;)). But to imagine what I will be doing then is not as much of a trouble as the thought as to how I will land there.
The future really boggles up the mind. Our brains for all its complications and superiority gets marred and jumbled up at simple future projections. Its simpler for other people. Just take the present and forecast into future on basis of knowledge of other people. I used to have these vivid flashes of some of my friends married, in the future, not surprisingly in situations where they were te most comfortable. In the few cases where the wedding has occured, I dont think Im quite off the mark. However, for oneself it is rather difficult.
People cope in different ways. Some ppl make a year to year chart and put down timelines (seriously), snd others just dont thing about it. Some (in fact most) get stuck in the middle. They know the end point, but they dont know how they will end up there. Not surprisingy, I fall into that category.
But what I really started this post was with the sudden realization that the enormity of the future is not really that enormous. 2014 will come one day, just like any other day...and just like the frog which starts accepting the rising heat, we will accept the subtle changes. The future is not that far away, and it really is not that different. Everything changes, but the change is so slow, we dont even feel it.