Let’s do something the two of us.
Close your eyes and try to picture the future in your mind. What do you see?
It’s different with everyone but it’s likely you’ll see a futuristic cityscape with tall, sleek buildings reaching for the skies and flying vehicles, either moving around or floating in queues. Looking down at ground-level, you may see humanoid robots, involved in all kinds of tasks, from helping people cross the street to street-cleaning. If you would look up, I mean way up, you might get a glimpse of a huge starship – or many – the size of a small city. Or man colonizing other worlds.
You might be surprised if I told you that what you see is not your imagination at work. It’s your vision of the future, as unbiased as you can make it. Subconsciously so. Imprinted on your mind by what you’ve read, watched and discussed since the day you were born. Most likely, whether you’re a fan or not, Science-fiction-related stuff. But not from 21st century Sci-fi. No. What you see are actually (or, at the very least, heavily influenced by) elements from 20th century Science-fiction.
20th Sci-fi was very hopeful regarding what the 21st century would bring to all of us: every bit of the future you’ve just pictured in your mind plus all the opportunities it would create and entice.
Now open your eyes!
We’re 15 years into the 21st century and what do you see from the future you’ve pictured? Not a lot, huh? But there’re smartphones and tablets and smart TVs, right? But they weren’t there, were they? In the future you’ve pictured? Perhaps because, in your mind, they aren’t life-changing events. Or they shouldn’t be. But they are. And now we spend our days around them.
If someone had asked you what you think of the 21st century, before our little “parlor trick” I mean, you’d probably have responded positively. But something has changed, right? (I really hope so. This is me trying really hard, okay?)
You see, the truth is that “the future” never came. We’re still living in the past. And, if nothing changes, we’re going to be living in the past for centuries to come.
“Is this an issue? Should I care?” Yes, you should.
“Why?” Stick around. The future needs you.
Bruno De Marques.