My Summer Lair Chapter #73: How Do We Fix The Future?
The first computer to computer communication was in 1969 so by 2019 we’ll have had 50 years of computer to computer communication. So…how are we doing with this whole network, internet thing? 50 years later is the future what we envisioned or wanted or just plain…got: plopped into our trays like the disinterested and disgruntled cafeteria worker…in a prison.
I’d read Andrew Keen’s The Cult of the Amateur few years back and I dug it…even the ideas I didn’t agree with. Then in January 2015 he followed up Cult with The Internet Is Not The Answer and I wanted to fist bump him for accurately articulating my internet experiences. Now he’s chronicling our future experiences by reviewing our present but also our past.
His latest book is How to Fix the Future: Staying Human in the Digital Age.
As a child growing up in the late 70s I was a victim of The Great Seduction: these vaguely impressive promises for moon colony vacations and flying cars and jet packs: a veritable Jetsons utopia, yes sir! Just imagine this incredible technological wonderland in year 2000 and beyond (shout to Conan O’Brien!).
But…it’s 2018 and well none of that came to fruition. I dunno if we have yet perfected a jet pack that doesn’t burn somebody’s butt. There’s a valid dissatisfaction with the future I inherited based on the one I was promised: it’s not the same one in the brochure (the classic McDonalds tv commercial burger vs the reality burger).
The odd thing is there is nobody to blame. I dunno who was supposed to provide these luxury moon colony vacations…the government? A corporation?
My passivity is a disturbing revelation: I dunno why but I just assumed somebody would build a driving car: for me.
Somebody would just build a moon colony: for me.
I was busy working while I waited for this grand and glorious future first working in school then in a job that wasn’t going to become my career. I was bleeding all over the emergency room having not bothered to wrap my wounds in bandages of any kind rather assuming by showing up to the hospital somebody there would know what to do and fix it.
It wasn’t my job.
Oh. How do we overcome this present passivity to contemplate the future we want? We don’t realize how today’s decisions will impact tomorrow: we’re so busy reacting to a news cycle with the appropriate outrage and righteous judgement that we can’t seem to look past that to what kind of world we want to inhabit.
Social media–especially twitter–is the shrill temper tantrum of what “we” don’t want. (It’s just as passive as the future I assumed I would inherit. I dunno how we arrived at any of this consensus…I didn’t vote, did you? If nobody voted then we don’t have a democracy that rich fearless exchange of ideas and insights. This present is not the future I want; I recognize the con in consensus.)
And so here we are all these years later with no jet packs or moon colony vacations. We take spectacular futures for granted. Maybe…as Andrew Keen is suggesting…there is an alternative.
Oh Really? Tell me more…
Andrew Keen @ W • T • F
Host Sammy Younan
Recorded: Monday February 19, 2018 at 2:00 pm
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