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Tyler Cowen

What Are You Wearing … in 2030?

Silicon Valley needs to transform our closets the way it transformed our desktops.

Wearable tech from the 19th century.

Wearable tech from the 19th century.

Photographer: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images Europe

Speculation about future technologies is a staple of internet discussion, but the clothes of the future are seldom included. When I interviewed science fiction author Neal Stephenson recently, he opined that clothing was “pretty highly evolved” already and was unlikely to get any better. I am more optimistic.

A lot of current clothing innovations focus on gimmicks. There is a “Social Escape Dress,” which can “emit a cloud of fog when the wearer is feeling stressed.” Maybe that is fun, but what economic problem does it solve? And won’t it stress the wearer more? I suspect that the more durable clothing innovations will be more practical.