“The Future” Conversation Lesson


Humans have been curious about the future since the dawn of history. Some people try to predict the future, and some try to create the future. In this conversation lesson, we’ll talk about what you think the future will be like.

Watch this short documentary on some future technology that Google has planned:

Intro Discussion Questions:

Do you think that you’ll see people wearing google glasses in your lifetime? Would you want to wear them?

Do you think that the technology shown here is all good?  

New Words:

Foreshadow (v): an event or symbol that warns of or indicates a future event. It’s also a common “device” in movies and fiction.

Example: The thick clouds gathering in the sky foreshadowed a thunderstorm.

Innovator (n): a person who develops a new design or product, or has new ideas about how to do something.

Example: Some people consider Steve Jobs to be the greatest innovator of the 20th century.

Prescient (adj.): having or showing knowledge of events in the future, or doing something that anticipates the future wisely.

Example: Her purchase of a fire-extinguisher for the new kitchen was prescient; the stove caught fire the next day.

Herald (v): to signal that something is approaching (much like foreshadow)

Example: The popularity of the first home computers, even though they weren’t very powerful, heralded a widespread embrace of technology for personal use.  

Nanotechnology (n): a branch of technology that deals with extremely small dimensions, esp. manipulating atoms and molecules.

Example: Maybe one day we will have nanotechnology so small that tiny machines could enter our bodies and repair our cells.    

“It’s on the horizon” (idiom): something “on the horizon” will happen soon.

Example: It was April, and graduation was on the horizon.

Ahead of her/his time” (idiom): someone “ahead of her time” has ideas that are so advanced and innovative that they might not be understood until the future.

Example: Vincent Van Gogh died penniless, but just a few decades later he was recognized as one of history’s greatest painters; he was tragically ahead of his time.


Discussion Questions:

  • What do you think the world will be like in 20 years? How about 50 years? How about 100 years?
  • How would you explain an iPhone to a caveman?
  • How will people eat in the future?
  • What do you think medicine will be like in the future?
  • What do you think politics and government will be like in the future?
  • Would you rather live 100 years in the future, or 100 years in the past?
  • Do you think that today’s problems (poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, war) will still exist in the future?
  • Do you think humans will ever explore beyond our solar system?
  • Do you think we will ever meet aliens from other planets?
  • What languages will people speak in the future?
  • What futuristic things from movies do you hope happen in real life?
  • What do you think you’ll be doing in 10, 20, and 40 years?
  • What fears do you have about the future?
  • Do you think it’s possible to predict the future?
  • How would you like to influence the future?
  • Do you have any ideas for fantastic inventions?