Living in the Future

Every now and then I take a look around me and realize I’m living in the future. The crazy things is, the future doesn’t just jump out and surprise you. It creeps up on you, even when it’s coming fast. I remember when I was little, seeing things like video phones in sci fi movies and thinking how cool they would be. Of course, now that we have Skype and similar services all over the place, the cool factor wears off. It’s just normal. Tiny tablet computers that can do all sorts of wonderful things? Commonplace.

It sometimes takes big changes for me to have those momentary “The future is now!” breakthroughs. Changes like Google Glass now being offered in multiple styles and for prescription lenses. I mean, just check out that article. It talks about the difficulties our society is going to face as Google Glass and similar technologies become more commonplace. There’s a certain air of inevitability about all this. I mean, look at how long it took cell phones to go from huge bricks to small devices. And that was with 90s technology. These days, the advances are far faster. Five years from now, I would be surprised if Google Glass-like devices weren’t commonplace.

The first iPad came out in April 2010. Think about that for a minute. Think about the prevalence of iPads and tablets today, and then consider that when they released the iPad–less than 4 years ago–plenty of people said it was going to flop. That there was no need for these tablet computers. In four years, something went from “why would we need this?” to “Everyone’s got one.”

Another case in point: the stem cell research breakthrough that just happened. Basically, scientists have discovered that they can make damaged cells in baby mice magically turn back into stem cells. If this holds true for humans, then stem cells could be created without the need for harvesting embryos. When I read articles like that, I’m reminded how little science really knows about what goes on in the world and how everything really works. We can try as hard as we want to pretend we’ve got it all down, but then something like this comes along and reminds us we’re pretty clueless.

Note: this isn’t an anti-science rant. I love science. This is a “Hot dog! The world is a pretty amazing place” observation.

Anyway, back to my original point. We’re living in the future, and as fast as we can picture up what the future’s going to bring, it seems like it’s getting to the point where it’s coming even faster. Maybe I ought to go get a cane and start yelling for the future to get off my lawn . . .

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