2015 ends tomorrow and I confess I’m not quite ready for that. It’s not for things left undone, but rather I don’t want to see this one go. 2015 in of itself seemed significant – well established into the second decade of the 21st century, it was a year when more futuristic adventures were expected thanks to Marty McFly (and the Jetsons, Space Odyssey, Star Trek, and countless others). Don’t even get me started on my expectations for space travel and living on other planets!
Sure, we’ve made progress with electronics and gadgets and to some extent privatized space flight, but we’re still not there. Where? THERE – THE FUTURE!!! You know, the time of flying cars and automated kitchens that can cook for us. Ok – we have Roombas, but they aren’t exactly Rosie the robot maid. We are just in the infancy of gadgets we can talk to that can control nearly every aspect of our house (thanks to guys who are far too envious of Tony Stark’s JARVIS). But then with all the hackers out there, who wants to take that chance? If your smart thermostat gets too much attitude, you could find yourself living in a sauna, hostage to its demands of better HEPA filters and a cute new humidifier to talk to.
Alas, our visions of the future have too many variables. We want progress, convenience, technology and less burden on ourselves (lazy creatures that we are). But at what point do we cap the capacity of machines to assist us? Will Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics be enough of a safeguard? Consequently, he envisioned them being commonplace and advanced enough to need those three laws by 2058 – a mere 43 years away. Yet between hackers, dependence on fossil-fuels, and movie-induced fears of the machines taking over, I suspect our growing pains into Techtopia will be long and fraught with setbacks.
Ok, in all fairness and with respect to the last century, we ARE living in a world our great-grandparents could barely imagine, one that sees brilliant advances daily. Do you realize that cameras, books, calculators, calendars, credit cards, house phones, and desktop computers (all very cool even 10 years ago) have all been replaced by a single device that fits in your pocket? Am I wrong to be unimpressed with the fact blue-tooth (cordless) earbuds will be the rage at the January Consumer Electronics Show? Have I become jaded ? Perhaps a little. But more likely, these things have just become commonplace and I expect more (that feeling is not just confined to the kids born after 2000 who have no idea what a landline is or how to work a tv without a remote).
I could ponder the potential achievements of the next 40 years for several hours, if not days. I mean, look how much tech has inundated our lives in that last 40 years alone! HOPEFULLY, by the time I’m 80 (ish), I’ll be telling my car its flying too high and to slow the hell down, or arguing with my smart-ass house because it can’t keep the temperature adjusted to match my hot-flashes, and definitely telling my great-grandkids about how I remember the days when we used smartphones to actually talk to each other.
I have approximately 36 hours as of this writing before 2015 quietly fades away. I guess I am harboring hope for some amazing breakthrough that will revolutionize living as we know it. Something so colossal it makes the last decade look mundane. I’m praying the geeks have been saving something for the 11th hour, and we’re going to open 2016 with a bang that has nothing to do with champagne corks. Here’s to waking up on January 2, 2016 and thinking WOW! Now we’re in The Future!