Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Our Future is Now

Right now, we are living in a moment that we once could not imagine. When we were looking forward 35 years ago, we were looking at the future through the eyes we had then. We thought that daily newspapers would still be influential and important ways that we would get the news. We thought that houses would look a lot more streamlined and so would cars. We thought that people would still make sales calls from door to door or in person at businesses. We thought that contraception was so convenient and cheap that huge families would certainly be a thing of the past. Most people would not have guessed that their TV would somehow be able to broadcast hundreds of stations. Most people would never have guessed that personal computers would be smaller than the typical briefcase and have the ability to act as a combination of personal librarian, work station, and personal entertainment center or that email would replace personal letters and cards. Most people would never have guessed that telephones would become a lot smaller than a pack of cigarettes and more ubiquitous, rendering phone booths and even land lines at home obsolete.

We used to think it was a long time if people lived into their 60s and 70s. Now people live well beyond that. We used to think we would retire in our 60s, but now many people do not have any plan to retire. We used to think that old people outlived their ability to enjoy sex by the time they retired. There are so many aspects of our future that have exceeded our expectation as we find ourselves living in it now.

So if we look around now and see how our lives are, can we even project into the future and imagine what they might be like 20 or 30 or 50 years from now?

No comments: