Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Future We Missed

Wow. Just like the Jetsons. With door-to-door service. Cars that take you to your vacation spots using pre-punched cards. Highway escalators. Aquacars. And, wow, almost six minutes into the video, the first mention of mass transportation, amongst all the visions of decentralized and sprawling communities that commuters can visit simply because the roads are there. And the magic of the atom, with electro-suspension cars on upside-down highways thrown in.

All centered on the individual. How interesting. And comically inefficient, something we recognize today. Maybe it’s good that we didn’t get this future.

And we can only hope that we don’t get this kind of future, either. Oxygenated rooms, spy cameras, bathroom mirrors that let you check the weather and headlines.

Cash rich, but time poor. Or at least soulless zombies who believe technology and the future and woo woo digitality is going to be the future, when the future – as we recognize watching the Disney film – is as full or as empty as we make the present. I want a future as full of technology as this as I want a future as full of individual vehicles and underwater highways.

And it’s not that the “future doesn’t look futuristic,” it’s just that both of these futures appear so sterile, so insular, keeping ourselves and our families closely-knitted as we communicate by e-mail or atomic communicator or CCTV that we forget that homes – and families – and cities and such are meant to be used, maybe a bit grotty, but human. I’ve never liked the vision of sterility that is the future.

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