You get up and put on your exoskeleton suit. There are two million Aucklanders getting ready for work so you’re thankful that most do it from home and the daily commute is largely a quaint relic. You glance at the interior of your glasses to check the sports results and weather, your heart rate and whether your holiday booking for a week in space has been confirmed. Welcome to life in the future.

Health

When our muscles no longer work or we need to give them extra strength, we may don a powered exoskeleton, a motorised suit that provides extra energy to power our limbs. Contact lenses, such as one patented by Microsoft, will help us keep an eye on our blood pressure.

Associate professor Ian Yeoman, a futurologist at Victoria University, expects that by 2024, everyone will know everything about their health and will be able to make personalised predictions about when they'll die and how, so they can manage their risk.

But technology will step in where our bodies have failed. "Anyone with any level of physical fitness will be able to go tramping on any routes because if they have a physical disability they can wear an exoskeleton suit."

But what will we do when the information about our health isn't what we wanted to hear?

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University of Otago Professor Martin Kennedy expects genome sequencing - looking at people's genetic makeup - to play a bigger part in personalised medicines.

It could be being used to look at people's risk of developing certain diseases and to target treatments or prevention, as well as offering information on what drugs might work well and which to avoid.

"There's some useful information in the genome but there's also some stuff to manage.

"What if you find the gene for breast cancer, or Huntington's? The challenge is how we extract the benefits and control the problematic stuff."

New Zealanders will suffer fewer heart attacks and strokes, says Professor Tony Blakely of the University of Otago Department of Public Health.

But the obesity epidemic will still be a problem. Blakely says diseases as a result of obesity can take 20 to 30 years to develop so the broader cost of the problem will continue to grow.

But by 2024, we'll be living longer. Life expectancy will have risen to 81 for men and 86 for women, from 79 and 83 today.

Blakely says there will be an increasing emphasis on mental health. "As we're living longer there will be more focus on the quality of life aspect."


Population


Saturday morning Otara Markets, South Auckland. 31 August 2013 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Richard Robinson NZH 02Sep13 - Saturday morning shopping at the busy Otara Markets reflects the diverse ethnic mix of the area's population. Picture / Richard Robinson.Former National MP Arthur Anae (below left) and ex-policeman Alf Filipaina are seeking re-election and seen as front-runners. Pictures / APN
Saturday morning Otara Markets, South Auckland. 31 August 2013 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Richard Robinson NZH 02Sep13 - Saturday morning shopping at the busy Otara Markets reflects the diverse ethnic mix of the area's population. Picture / Richard Robinson.Former National MP Arthur Anae (below left) and ex-policeman Alf Filipaina are seeking re-election and seen as front-runners. Pictures / APN

Auckland will be where the population and economic growth is. Photo / NZH

Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley of Massey University expects the over-65 population to double in size by 2024 to be closing in on one million. "In many regions, the over-65 age group will make up more than a quarter of the local population."

Nearly all the population growth will be in Auckland. "If the city hasn't reached two million people by 2024, it will be close to it," Spoonley says.

At present, a third of New Zealand's population, or 1.4 million people, is in its biggest city. Spoonley expects that to reach 40 per cent in 10 years' time. "The two-nations effect will become more apparent.

"Auckland will be where the population is, where the economic growth is and where the jobs are. At the other end of the spectrum, some regions will be struggling to keep their populations and jobs."

There will also be more diversity - at present, 23 per cent of Auckland is Asian but Spoonley expects it to have risen to as high as 27 per cent.

A third of those people will have been born in New Zealand and the Indian population will be as large as the Chinese. "The Asian community will equal the Maori population sometime in the mid-2020s." Spoonley expects the total population to be nearly five million by 2024.


Love and Marriage


Anthony Marter (left) and his Chinese wife Susan Zhu at their home in Auckland today. This year Valentine's Day will coincide with the Chinese Valentine's Day (Yuan Xiao Jie). 6 February 2014 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Sarah Ivey
Anthony Marter (left) and his Chinese wife Susan Zhu at their home in Auckland today. This year Valentine's Day will coincide with the Chinese Valentine's Day (Yuan Xiao Jie). 6 February 2014 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Sarah Ivey

There'll be greater diversity in relationships. Photo / NZH

There might be a bit more fluidity in our personal lives, particularly for young people, says Vivienne Elizabeth, a senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Auckland.

Fewer people may identify strongly as heterosexual or homosexual, with more who are willing to drift back and forth.

"We might see more people being heterosexual then finding someone attractive of the same sex, then moving back. It's more likely among young people. It's more difficult for those who have been around for a while and already have established intimate relationships."

Young people will still usually cohabit, then reach a point - often just before or after having children - where they want to make a public commitment, Elizabeth says. That will still usually be marriage.

Elizabeth expects civil unions to fizzle out a bit now that same-sex couples can opt for marriage.

It will also be more common for young people to have to navigate relationships in which one person gets a fantastic job offer overseas, or a study opportunity in another city, and the other partner needs to stay put for their career. Elizabeth also expects to see more cross-cultural and cross-national relationships as the population becomes more globally mobile.

Spoonley expects the average age at which people marry to continue to increase. But the age at which we have children won't have moved much.

Professor John Hutton, of the University of Otago obstetrics and gynaecology department, says although there has been research showing the potential for the use of stem cells in slowing ovarian ageing, there's no indication it will have come to anything within the next 10 years.


Jobs

If you're dreading dragging yourself into the office tomorrow, take heart - in 2024, you might not have to go further than your living room.

Already, firms such as Spark are hiring customer service agents who work from home. The company says it helps recruitment and improves flexibility so staffing can be adjusted to periods of high demand.

Spoonley says the number of jobs available to people who don't have tertiary qualifications will have dropped in 10 years' time but the days of a lifetime career with one employer will probably be over.

"More people will be in non-standard work - anything that's part time, contract or portfolio where they work at two or more paid jobs. That's 10 per cent of the workforce at present but the balance will move towards more people working non-standard jobs."

Spoonley says New Zealanders will still be working long hours. "New Zealand has the second-longest working hours culture in the OECD. You'd think it would be coming down but our productivity hasn't kept pace with our longer working hours culture and our pay hasn't kept pace."

Victoria University Associate Professor Ian Yeoman expects New Zealand to still be exporting much of the same things. "It will still be about dairy products and milk powder. There are seven billion people on the planet now and that population is becoming more urban and wealthier and, as it does that, it changes its diet."

There'll also be more individual tourism from China, he says, and New Zealand may have some economic potential in oil and gas.

"From a classic economic perspective, every 25 years your disposable income doubles in real terms so in 10 years you'll be a third richer than you are today and will have more purchasing power."

Yeoman expects that by 2024, retirement will be a very fluid concept and most people will continue working, even if it is part-time or self-employment.


Gadgets and phones


Apple CEO Tim Cook explains how the Apple Watch works in conjunction with Apple Pay during an announcements of new products on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Apple CEO Tim Cook explains how the Apple Watch works in conjunction with Apple Pay during an announcements of new products on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Wearable devices will find more applications in an ageing society. Photo / AP

We'll be using our devices not just for fun but for real social benefits, predicts Ross Parker of Skinny Mobile. Wearable devices will find more applications in an ageing society. Things such as the Apple Watch, which monitors a person's heart rate, will be able to be used in healthcare and wearable devices will have more functions. Devices such as the Ringly, a ring that notifies the wearer when their phone has a message, calendar event or call, will become more popular.

Parker predicts everything people use will be connected, from their watch to their car and their fridge.

"We'll all be paying for things with our mobile phones and won't have to worry about carting around various credit and debit cards."

Yeoman agrees wearable technology will increase. Information access will become ubiquitous and instant. Devices such as Google Glass will offer the wearer information about things as they see them.

"If you're going for a walk wearing your Google Glass, you'll know everything about the botany, the routes and the weather, it'll be your own personalised PhD. When you want to know something, you'll know it instantly."

Facial recognition apps will help people determine whether others are telling the truth, he says, and equip you with information about people you meet.

Yeoman predicts that the most expensive holiday in New Zealand will be with Virgin Galactica, into space. The All Blacks will be wearing a rugby top full of microprocessors that the sports science director can use to measure performance and see when they are at a peak and when it's the right time for them to come off.


On the screens

Ubiquitous fibre connections will mean everything on your television screen is delivered via the internet, says Paddy Buckley of Quickflix.

"Streaming will be seamless, the picture quality excellent and audio top-notch. All TVs will be smart TVs. Your home entertainment device of choice will connect to the internet. We'll be looking at a world filled with apps rather than channels."

Instead of being at the mercy of a scheduler, people will be able to pick and choose what they want to watch and when. People will also be offered personalised, sophisticated recommendations.

"The streaming service will know what you want to watch before you do. There's nothing freaky about it, it's a clever algorithm looking at what you've watched at that time of day in the past."

Television channels will still be around but will be dying out, he says. "There's always a need for live sport and news and the natural home for that is linear TV. But we're seeing already that sport can come at you on demand."

You won't have to go to the cinema to see the latest releases, Buckley says. "You will be able to watch movies at home at the same time as they are at the cinema, but with a big premium."


Shopping

You'll probably be choosing between local village-type shopping and the behemoth of online retail. AUT Professor Andrew Parsons says malls will evolve. "The current box-type malls will still exist but they'll be changing and morphing into village town centres."

Retailers will need to provide unique, one-off pieces that can't be produced en masse and sold online.

The categories in which we're shopping might not change but people will want to buy good-quality items rather than cheap products that aren't designed to last.

Fashion designer Andrea Moore agrees: "There will be a move away from the blandness of the international, mainly Australian, chain stores and fashion with individuality and personality will become more important to customers," she says.

Parsons says we'll be less likely to spend our cash on throwaway items. "Instead of buying lots of cheap stuff that doesn't last, people will look at buying good stuff that will be around for a long time."

The line could be blurred between production and retail, Parsons says. At telco AT&T's flagship shop in the US, people who want a cover for the latest iPhone can go to the back of the shop and work with a designer and have it printed and made then and there.


Fashion and beauty


Combing
Combing

Hair loss and grey hair may be preventable, says the marketing director of L'Oreal Paris. Photo / Thinkstock

If you're wondering what we might be doing with our hair, you might need to look back to the 2000s, when we were wearing zigzag partings in our chunkily highlighted hair.

Rodney Wayne creative director Richard Kavanagh says: "Hair fashion trends usually cycle every 20 to 25 years, so it's likely we will be giving a nod to the noughties in 2024.

"Hair products will be 100 per cent biodegradable and organic-based and use ecologically sound manufacturing processes. They will smell divine and deliver outstanding results effortlessly and quickly.

"There will be digital interface with your hair appointment bookings. Automated reminders for hair product refill will be delivered by drone on a scheduled basis.

"People will have FaceTime preliminary consultations, and digital sampling will likely be part of the landscape, but the hands-on, practical and personal advice of the hairstylist will never be replaced."

Shannon Watts, marketing director of L'Oreal Paris, Garnier, Maybelline and Essie, says cosmetics will be closer to achieving the performance of invasive procedures, hair loss will be a thing of the past and grey hair will be preventable.

She expects at-home shopping to reach a new level. "Buying products will literally be at our fingertips. Bathroom mirrors will prompt us when our product is getting low and pop a replacement in our shopping basket."

Stylist Luke Bettesworth doesn't expect huge changes in fashion within 10 years. "We won't be wearing spacesuits."

But he says iconic elements of fashion tend to come around time and again, such as the 1950s ultra-feminine silhouette, which is appearing on catwalks now.

He expects people may become more worried about the materials their clothes are made from - perhaps opting for organic cotton - and more designers may develop unisex pieces.

"I'm not saying men will be rocking around in skirts but I certainly think the more casual pieces in designers' collections will become more unisex."


Transport

We might not be flying around on jetpacks but we will definitely be using driverless cars, Yeoman says. "By 2024, we won't need a test because all the cars will be self-drive."

That will benefit those new to the country and the ageing, more frail population, he says. "Driverless cars will become more important and more mainsteam."

He expects the electronic car will be more common than the combustion engine. "Electric cars and battery technology have come so far - electric cars are even sexy now... Porsche is doing an electric vehicle."

Yeoman says the country's cycleways will be populated by people on electric bikes rather than operating under pedal power. And although jetpacks will probably still be just a fun innovation and not something you'd consider relying on for your daily commute, Yeoman sees potential in the Terraflugia, a car that is licensed for road and flight.

Yeoman tells people: "Everything you saw on Star Trek has come true, except for teletransportation."


10 predictions that haven't happened (yet)


Close-up of bananas in market
Close-up of bananas in market

A magazine claimed bananas would die out in 2013. Photo / Thinkstock

1.

Hoverboards will be common by 2015. (

Back to the Future II

)

2. Jetpacks will be used as a personalmode of transport. (1964 World's Fair)

3. The internet will collapse in 1996. (BobMetcalfe, in Infoworld in 1995)

4. The iPod will be "dead, finished, gone, kaput" by the end of 2005. (Sir Alan Sugar)

5. Newspapers will be printed from your radio at home. (1930s television series The 21st Century)

6. A machine will match you with your ideal partner, using tests including recording your breathing as you embrace, your reactions to each other's body odour and to a surprise gunshot when in each other's presence. (Science and Invention magazine, 1924)

7. Meals will be delivered by a robotic chef who will prepare them in seconds, then melt the plastic plates back down so you don't have to do the dishes. (The 21st Century, again)

8. The world will only need a maximum of five computers. (Thomas Watson, IBM's chairman in 1943)

9. Bananas will disappear by 2013. (New Scientist, 2003)

10. Telephones that translate languages while you're speaking will become common by 2009. (Ray Kurzweil)