Changing so fast

NASA image, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

NASA image, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

“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!

This post was first published seven years ago on May 28. The date was adjusted to allow the Memorial Day post of 2015 to appear this weekend.

Reading over this post again, I’m struck by the fact that much of what has transpired in the past three years alone would not have seemed possible to me when I first wrote this post only seven years ago. It’s quite a sobering thought, since most of the events I would never have believed have not been good ones.

The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.

6 Comments

  1. Amy

    I agree that the changes which have come so quickly have not all been desirable. There is much I miss from the not so distant past.
    Especially being a total luddite updated things are often difficult for me to figure out. Still I would rather not go back. I find much good still exists and there is joy around. I often have to seek help to do things with my phone, computer and TV but that’s ok.
    Thanks for this look back ( which you didn’t need microfiche for) and may the future be a blessing for us all.

    • Thank you Amy. Yes, I like technology too much to want to go back. But when it doesn’t work right and I can’t figure it out to save my life (whether the problem is with it or with me, sometimes both) I get so frustrated I long for the days of analog everything. NOTHING can make me more angry than technology! But audiobooks alone are reason enough for me to appreciate technology. And as a widow, I rely on it more than I ever have.

  2. Good morning, Julia!
    I now have a Dick Tracey type watch, thanks to my Uncle Roy, who loved modern technology. He was well ahead of me, in some aspects. I doubt I could operate some of his electronics. I can answer the phone on my watch in the garden, even if I’ve left my phone in the house!
    When my son, Erik, visited last week, he let me try out his virtual reality set up. Wow, was that ever fun! I’m sure I could lose myself for hours in Myst, or playing “Beat Saber,” which involves using light sabers as drumsticks to popular songs. With a set up like that, I might never have to hear about Kardashians (which my phone irritatingly knew how to spell) again! LOL

    • Actually, Susan, “being able to answer the phone in the garden” is something I’d put firmly in the “disadvantage” column. Hence I can’t do that and don’t intend to be able to do so! I’d rather wear some sort of “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” hotline device (which, come to think of it, maybe I should do). I know better than to even TRY virtual reality. From Disney World and Universal Studios, I know that virtual reality is my very very favorite kind of escape, and I’d be an addict in no time. Maybe I’ll save that for when I’m too old and weak to do anything else. 😀

      • Thanks to voice mail, I’m getting better at ignoring the urgency to answer the phone, just because it’s ringing.

        • Good, Susan! I hope you don’t graduate to the next step that a lot of people (especially businesses) seem to have reached, where you never even listen to the voice mails, much less respond…

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