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Man released from prison after 44 years experiences what it’s like to travel to the future

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Dave Fawbert
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This is probably the most fascinating six minutes you'll watch all year.

69-year-old Otis Johnson was released from prison in August 2014 after serving a 44-year sentence for the attempted murder of a police officer. Having been incarcerated since 1970, he emerged from his time inside to find a very different world to the one he left all that time ago.

Upon his release, he was given an ID, documents describing his criminal case history, $40 and two bus tickets; he now relies on Fortune Society, a nonprofit organisation that provides housing and help to ex-prisoners in Harlem.

In the clip, filmed by Al Jazeera he describes:

  • How mobile phones have changed the way people interact with each other
  • He is amazed that people don't even look where they are going
  • People look like spies with their earpieces in
  • The range of foods available is staggering
  • Different coloured drinks are a novelty
  • As is peanut butter and jelly together
  • The subway is too busy to ride

Johnson lost contact with his family while he was serving his time and he clearly misses them. However, he looks forward positively, practicing tai chi and meditation. His dream is to open a shelter for women, though such a project is almost impossible due to his lack of credit history to secure funding.

As he describes, with a gloriously soothing voice, he likes to observe people, before returning to Fortune Society before his 9pm curfew each evening.

How would you cope with jumping 44 years into the future? What will the world look like in 2058?

Watch the clip and have a little think as you go about your life today.

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Dave Fawbert

ShortList.com staff writer Dave’s primary passions are pop, prose, punning and power ballads (and alliteration). A lower division football enthusiast and long-suffering cricket fan, he is one of only 110 people followed on Twitter by Chas Hodges from Chas ‘n’ Dave. Follow Dave on Twitter like Chas: @davefawbert

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