Changing so fast
“Things are changing so fast that what we once called ‘science fiction’ we now call ‘current events.’ “ — Ashleigh Brilliant
Ashleigh penned that thought in the late 60’s, before humans ever walked on the moon. Yet now his words are more true than ever, which paradoxically demonstrates that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
But really, have you ever stopped to wonder what your ten-year-old self would have thought if someone had come to visit you from the future, and told you all about now? Could you have imagined the internet, digital photography, smart phones, or the availability of hundreds of TV channels, shows, and movies on demand, viewable on a variety of portable devices? What about medical advances such as fully functional artificial limbs, or robotic heart surgery? Dick Tracy’s radio watch and Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone would have seemed unimpressive in comparison.
On the other hand, not all of the news from the future would have sounded appealing. Drones. Terrorists. Environmental disasters. Ebola. Identity theft. The Kardashians.
The good old days weren’t always good for everyone, and not good at all for some of us. But some of the trade-offs of progress seem dubious at best. Those of us who remember reading 1984 or Brave New World in high school have lived to see some features of those dystopic nightmares coming true, or at least close enough to be worrisome.
Still, I wouldn’t go back, even if I could. Would you? What technology would you miss most if you were suddenly transported back to the world of your childhood? What “current events” of today remind you of “science fiction” of years past? And what futuristic notions that now seem impossible might be commonplace in our grandchildren’s world? Beam us up!