Leisure Time

Distractions, Tech

When I was a kid, I recall reading books with huge minimalists illustrations that promised us a beautiful future, which got me interested in speculative thought and science fiction in general. I remember some wild claims the book made vividly (title I can’t remember, sorry) and for something from the early 70s (I’m assuming) it was pretty darned spooky.

The book claimed that we’d be living extremely comfortably in clean communities – now “comfort” is relative. There are people living in tents right now, some have oil washing up on their shores, some are waking up from a long night sleeping on a park bench. Because it forgot to mention that crime and poverty will never be eradicated I only award the book half points.

The book claimed that we’d have autonomous cars that thought and drove for us. Again not exactly true. While we can purchase a car that can park itself, we can’t sit back and enjoy the scenery yet. Though it is being developed – DARPA has been holding contests for hobbyists to create a car that can traverse deserts without a driver. And they can be turned on and off remotely, find their way, chill your drinks and show the latest episode of American Idol, but they can’t drive themselves. So, again, half marks.

The book also said we’d be ordering our food from the phone – or telepresence or something equally “phonic”. I remember the first time I used grocerygateway.com and had my food delivered right to my door within the 30 min window I specified. And then I realized “This is how you wind up on The Discovery Channel as The World’s Fattest Man – I’ll never leave the house!” Plus I like to shop. Good for you Book, but I don’t like it.

Around our hips would be satchels that contained our communications devices, says the Book. Or on our wrists. Mines on my desk beside me – thankyouverymuchSteveJobs. Bang on Book!

One thin that hasn’t come true, and I recall this one vividly, especially leaving the house this morning on such a lovely day, is that we’d all have more free time with this technology. The Book said we’d be working 4 days a week. Our lives would become fuller and enriched because of the extra day and society would swim in all the culture we’d create which would lead to more intelligent people and live would be fantastic!

Not. Bloody. Likely.

In fact, due to technology, I have less free time. I just took a part time job at an Apple store (a whole other blog post, before I sign the confidentiality contract) where I enslave more people with technology. But it will give me a better class of hotel for my next vacation.

So Book, where ever you are now, thank you for the future. I wished for it and it mostly came true.

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