Sunday, October 19, 2003

The end of the Future that never was

AOG, London

If like me, you were raised in the 1970s and 1980s, then you too grew up in a world where the future was promising, high tech, streamlined, inexpensive, and, most importantly, just around the corner.

As the 1980s drew to a close, my life got very busy with itself and the 1990s were no different. After having spent the last ten years growing up, trying to find happiness, getting an education, learning to love, and hate, and generally being busy, I eventually got in touch with my inner philosopher and began to ponder seriously about the world and its marvels.

In no time did I realise that my childhood and youth had been times of great wonder and amazement, followed by young adulthood spent dealing with issues and problems and mostly other people. Mostly stupid people. And at all levels.

But this is not about them, this is about the dream I was fed as a young person of a future where the moon would be colonised, cars would levitate, travel would be increasingly shorter.

In short, the Science Fiction future that the Cold War ensured once the West won and the Communists lost. But did this ever happen? Did this future materialise or rather, can it or will it ever do so? Like hell!

As far as outer space being colonised goes, forget it. After one major accident in 1987, and again this year, NASA is no longer the space dream factory it once was. Intent on relying on very old looking Space Shuttles, it no longer dares to dream of sharp, computer-designed, aerodynamic spaceships.

They promised us a space Ferrari but instead continue to service our dreams with a double-decker bus. And one which is no longer as reliable as it once was. As for levitating cars, well if this should ever occur outside a Star Wars set, I probably will not be alive to see it. If anything, it would appear like we are going backwards rather than forwards.

Who is to blame? I don't know. I do know this is not the future I was sold. It is not the high-tech world I expected. Unfortunately, my expectations, and those of my generation, have been lowered. We now marvel at rather pedestrian things like, forgive me for saying so, the Internet. Yes, it is great, but all the Internet is is a communicative network for people lucky enough to own computers.
Where are the 300 story-high buildings? The fast ships? The space colonies? The sea farms? The ecological (eolic power, solar power &c.) power sources? Why are we still stuck with Hydroelectric and nuclear power? Is this the best we can do?

Obviously yes. Yes, the future is now. It rather sucks.

No comments: