Posts tagged “vannevar bush”

Thinking About Tomorrow Makes My Brain Hurt

Back in January, the Wall Street Journal ran a technology-oriented look at what our lives will be like in 10 years, around shopping, gaming, movies and TV, making and keeping friends, searching online, getting news info, and protecting privacy.

It’s filled with many speeds-and-feeds-driven predictions like

Moviegoers also can expect digital projection of their movies in super-high resolution, exceeding anything they could get at home, either online or through high-definition DVDs.

Somewhat better are the feature-driven predictions like

When you buy an airline ticket, you’ll have the option to send a text message to people in your network to let them know you’re taking a trip — in case any old friends will be in the area and want to meet up. Or you might let friends know you just bought a movie ticket, in case someone has a review to share or wants to join you.

And as GPS hardware becomes more widespread, that information will follow wherever you go — literally. You’ll be able to keep track of the physical whereabouts of your friends, so if you’re stuck on a layover in Dallas, your phone might tell you that you have a friend stuck in the same airport.

Mostly the piece just makes my skull throb (and not in a good way) with a barrage of mostly disconnected incremental changes in the amount of noise, communication, advertising, technology we’ll have to manage. That’s largely a function of the experience of reading through this laundry list of changes, not so much the specific predictions themselves. But I didn’t react the way I used to as a kid, waiting for the enticing possibilities of the future, which of course turned out to be way cooler than anything most people thought. This may simply be an artifact of aging (I’m likely more cynical than I was at 14), or may be an artifact of where we are at in terms of epochs of technological revolutions.

What do you think?


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