Thursday, December 16, 2021

The Future Sucks

Photo is a non-sequitur. I just marvel at the athleticism of a young cat.

Those of us born in the latter half of the 1900s always looked forward to the new millennium. But the prognostications of a gleaming, advanced future proved to be premature. In those days, predictions tended to optimism. Technological advances were expected soon with endless positive effects for civilization.

Now that we are in the 2020s, I have to say things aren't as good as I thought they would be. Many of the predictions of the twentieth century have finally come true: space tourism, electric vehicles, and computers that fit in the palm of your hand. We are all now fully and instantaneously connected around the world. But instead of becoming happier, society seems to have lost its collective mind. It seems to be a specific consequence of increased connectedness. The United States is in a cold civil war, and the rest of the world teeters on the brink of World War III.

Futurists now predict a discouraging future. That profession has changed entirely.

There is this crazy conspiracy theory on the internet that says that when they boosted the energy levels on the Large Hadron Collider around 2015, something went wrong and we were forced off into an alternate reality. This is hilarious and I doubt it's true, but things have definitely changed one way or another, and not for the better. By our twentieth century expectations of the future of technology, we are living in the future. But I can't say I like it.  The future sucks.

What I've taken away from it all is the correctness of the ancient wisdom: live in the moment. It was always wrong for the generations who came after World War II to look to the future with boundless optimism. Same for pessimism. We should all live in the NOW and make every day the best we can.

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