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EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 25 December, 2002, 08:14 GMT
Hi-tech ghosts of Christmas future
Group of chocolate Father Christmases
How different will Christmas 2050 be?

This time in 2050, we will be sitting down to eat a synthetic turkey, with a robot helping out to prepare the trimmings.

This is what we can expect for Christmas in the year 2050, according to BT's futurologist Ian Pearson.

And there is good new for vegetarians, with turkey dinner being artificial, thanks to progress in biology and nanotechnology.

Apparently scientists will by then have understood the molecular processes needed to convert raw materials into turkey sufficiently well to make a good replica.

Turkey and the trimmings
Robots will help with Christmas dinner
A robotic kitchen assistant could help take the stress out of the preparations.

There will also be information systems offering real-time instructions and monitoring the cooking to make sure those roast spuds are not overdone.

For families fed up with always having Christmas dinner in the same place, there will be screens lining the wall.

So you will be able to choose your own background, be it a Caribbean beach or a scene from a Dickens novel.

Talking Barbie dolls

Barbie dolls
Future Barbie will be able to walk and talk
As Christmas is a time for family, even absent relatives will be able to join the table virtually for the celebration via similar screens, believes Mr Pearson.

This could prove particularly handy to prevent those traditional Christmas rows as an awkward relative can be switched off at the first sign of trouble.

Just as today the traditional Christian festival has been hijacked by consumption, so too in 2050 Christmas will be all about presents.

And what presents they will be. Mr Pearson predicts walking, talking Barbie dolls able to respond emotionally to their owners, genetically-engineered Furbies and construction sets that allow children to design and build almost anything they want.

Mind-reading Christmas

Ian Pearson
Pearson: Sees interactive dreams ahead
For the adults, there will be clothes that can react to the emotions of those around them.

They can look forward to intelligent make-up that can change colour to suit the occasion and even interactive dream machines that use thought recognition and active contact lenses to give you the dreams you really want.

Further down the line there will be technology which will allow people to read each others minds, which will have some pretty big implications for a traditional family Christmas.

Being able to know what Auntie May is thinking is probably not going to add peace and harmony to the frictions of Christmas Day.

Although on the upside, it will make charades a whole lot easier and never again will you have to put up with that unwanted Christmas present.

See also:

22 May 02 | Science/Nature
18 Jan 02 | Science/Nature
07 Jan 02 | Science/Nature
05 Feb 01 | Education
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