ia play

the good life in a digital age

the internet is not a flying car

The Edge annual question ‘what have you changed your mind about?‘ included two luminaries expressing disappointment with the internet. Douglas Rushkoff has decided that the internet is just another place to do business and Nicholas Carr writes of his realisation that the internet is a powerful tool for centralised control rather than ‘a technology of personal liberation, a force for freedom’.

My disappointment with the internet springs from the realisation that (combined with mobile phones) it is the only thing that makes life in the 21st century much different from life in the 1980s when I was a child. The science-fiction I read then promised a multitude of different futures but with hindsight all of them were incredibly ambitious. The internet is wonderful and I love it but it is just not a flying car.

I live in a house built in 1904, my jeans became fashionable in the 1950s, I travel to work on a tube line first operated in 1906 in an 1973 tube train, I go on holidays to the Mediterranean not the moon and I don’t own even one robot (and no, Roombas and Nabaztags don’t count)

Given this frame of mind I greatly enjoyed reading the exceptionally shiny Where’s My Jetpack and Johnny Dee’s Guardian article asking if the future was a lot more fun in the past

BT’s Technology timeline declares:

“The world is speeding up as each generation learns from their kids, and through knowledge sharing via the Internet, so who knows what the next 60 years will bring?”

From first flight to moon landing in 60 years but then what? We’re nearing the 40th anniversary of the moon landings. There’s a lot to get done in the next 20 years to get back up to speed.

(I’m still fascinated by the thought of what technologies I will refuse to have anything to do with when I am old – in the way that my gran was ‘having no truck’ with computers. I reckon things should look pretty different in the 2060s, even if we continue at the speed of a snail )

Written by Karen

January 2nd, 2008 at 10:41 am

Posted in future