tomorrowland welcomes the curious traveler
Tomorrow’s just another day, another way to spend my day
All by myself
Staring at the TV screen, flipping through my magazine
Everything is unclear
I need you here, doodoodoo
And I wake up, put on my makeup
Pick up the phone, nobody’s home
I need to break out, get me some takeout
Stand inside a crowd, I want to scream out loud
That I’ll be okay
I’ll be okay
Every year I review my clutter of saved articles, and inevitably encounter a really interesting piece that resonates with the current times. So it was at the end of this decade. Here is a piece from Richard Neville, a radical luminary from Australia. He wrote this before the turn of the century, about the mid-late 90’s. So, ten years on, let’s see how this reads today:
“Tomorrowland Welcomes the Curious Traveller – Richard Neville
Ideas on the Rise – Community, everything is connected, a corporate conscience, the worth of the wild, work as a spiritual journey.
Ideas in Decline – Nation states, treating the world as a quarry, technology is neutral, growth is good, work as a commodity to be traded.
- The growth of genetics will lead to programs that enhance the physical and mental abilities of … the rich.
- It is predicted that some people alive today will still be alive in 400 years; that’s a lot of shopping.
- Breakthroughs in genetics mean we are starting to redesign our own species, blurring the ancient boundaries of our coming to life and the leaving of it. More and more of us could become composite beings – part biological, part mechanical, part electronic. We will adjust our own brains to boost IQ, filter pain and intensify pleasure. As a super-elite of cyborgs, some of us could end up ruling the world, or be rounded up and dismantled.
- The fastest growing branch of medicine is plastic surgery.
- digitized voice replication will convey a faultless reproduction of how we sound. It will shatter our sense of identity and further disrupt the meaning of “authentic”. Elvis sightings are a portent. The King will return to the charts with new material, appear on MTV and promote whisky.
Now that history and fantasy can be blended with seamless conviction, where does it leave the concept of reality?”
Our lusty fling with social media, crowdsourcing and the wisdom of the masses appears to be still ascendant. As for the decline, technology is far from neutral, it is still delivering magical gadgetry and work has become an even more outsourced and traded commodity, partly thanks to technology and communications.
Reality is indeed becoming more virtual. So much so, that meeting someone for coffee, or calling them has been all but replaced with video-conferencing, Facebook, twitter and maybe soon ‘Wave’ing. Ad-dollars are following audiences online and chilling the spines of traditional, more tangible news sources. The noisy, slow, erratic, and wired dial-up internet has all but disappeared. Our Britannica, Compton’s, Funk & Wagnalls encyclopedias have been shelved for Wikipedia. CDs, DVDs (and probably soon Blue-rays) are being replaced by digital downloads, one title at a time. Phone land-lines are being unplugged along with the modem as family plans give household members their own mobility. Film and film cameras have all but disappeared as digital SLRs, pocket-sized digital cameras and even phones are capturing memories instantly and cheaply. Yellow Pages and address books are being recycled while technology ”lets your fingers do the walking” from the printed page to the keyboard. Printed store catalogs morph to the spam of the past, as they move from your mailbox to your inbox. Fax machines are now a feature on multi-function printers and who’s business card still sports a fax number? Cabling and wires fade from the edge of the network as wireless internet, wireless downloads, wireless charging, wireless headphones become the norm. Writing on paper has been replaced with e-messaging of all types – including this blog.
Perhaps Richard saw something we have missed in this last decade?
Tell me it isn’t so… I’m listening.