The Future Is Still Late

Occasionally at YPS we bemoan the lack of the future we were promised. Having taken academic courses in the study of the future, I can confidently say that's because 95% of the promises were hot air. Of course, some of the futures we were promised are probably not ones you'd want to live in. Anything ever imagined by Philip K. Dick comes to mind, as does John Brunner's Stand on Zanzibar.

Which brings us to Geoffrey Hoyle. His version of the future is delightfully odd. Imagine a future where your living space has to make use of every square inch, but you can take the bus down to the Sport and Social Center, which will take you weeks to walk around and has 500,000 seat stadium. As an extra bonus, everyone is wearing jumpsuits. Hmm. Yeah, that's the future from a an early 70s English socialist, all right. I would spoil more, but you really do need to look at his system of distribution yourself to appreciate the totality of his vision.

Most future predictions fail because no one can predict which technology is transformative. A very old Asimov story is about training men to perform calculation rapidly so they won't use computers. The military generals immediately seize upon the concept as a way to guide missiles to their targets. Yeah, Isaac kind of missed the boat on the whole minaturized electronics bit, didn't he? Of course, looking back on much of Asimov's works, computers in their modern form blindsided his future completely. He literally never saw them coming.

Meanwhile, out here in the real world, some of us continue the slightly less fascinating task of making the world run.

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Blogger Kevin said...

You need one of these.

7:50 AM  
Blogger T said...

It expresses the sentiment pretty accurately.

1:14 PM  

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