The Future Can Be Awesome
What’s the deal with the scary, dystopian futures we see in popular culture? Why are people thinking that the future is going to be so horrible? Of course, if you look in some directions, you see the power of the state increasing, but in other cases, you see the power of the individual increasing via the use of technology. It is not just a balance; it’s in our favor. As humans.
Is there a chance of a world like the Hunger Games or Tomorrowland’s failed cities actually happening? Is it really possible that we will see worlds where people are pitted against each other to fight to the death like in the old Roman gladiator days, or is it more likely that we’ll see robots and other automatons battling it out to the cheers of the crowd?
Whatever happened to all of the positive visions of the future? There were things going to continuously get better instead of worse? Where do the big hairy problems of the world start being solved, as opposed to taking over the world? Where do we move to be a more enlightened species?
One of the most interesting questions I’ve come across as a futurist is, “Do you really think, as a futurist, that you can change the future?” To that, I have to answer – absolutely. Why would anyone want to map out possible good and bad futures and not try to redirect things towards that positive future? Personally, I don’t believe that we should “Prime Directive,” like, stand outside the stream of events and simply report that future so that others may implement it. We need to be in there, be involved, to change things that are going wrong. We have always wanted to help steer and guide ourselves into the future.
In my vision, the future isn’t only better, but it’s probably not even very “futuristic” in the sense that most people think of the future. A good example is the “positive future” commercial in the movie Tomorrowland – the city is all modern, full of tall spires, ultra-modern and sleek cars and transportation methods, super high-tech flying backpacks, and all sorts of things one would typically see as “futuristic.” Technology is front and center in these futures, sometimes even burying humanity and the natural into the background.
If you ask me, its technology will sink into the background. As we move into a more seamless world, the technology we use to communicate with the online world and other people will get smaller and smaller, eventually disappearing. Instead of sitting in the square watching all of these people interacting with their smartphones, they will interact with each other. Devices will disappear, the technology will disappear. Things will simply happen when we need them to, in the exact right time and place that they need to happen, mostly without our intervention.
In the future, our brains will be as big as the world. We can work and play from anywhere, at any time, with anyone, no matter where we, or they, are. All reality will be augmented, improving our lives immeasurably. Big data, predictive analytics, and the internet of things will allow us the freedom to be fully human; while the machines take care of the mundane, we can be free to be creative, interact, and allow serendipity to happen.
Between humans, for humans.
The future will actually be more human than you think.
— image: yumikrum