Russ Stewart: London, April 2021
Future perspectives from the 70s ;
The early 70s vision ; jet packs and unlimited leisure.
By late 70s the future view was dystopian.
Old people ( i.e. us) processed into handy little green, nutritious pellets, to satisfy the cravings of peckish millennials.
I was mesmerised by the 1968 film “2001 A Space Odyssey”.
Jupiter beckoned as the spaceship ‘s passive, jogging pilots feasted on liquefied bubble and squeak whilst an ungrateful, sentient computer plotted their ejection into the void.
The film reflected a common futuristic theme of the time ; exponential extrapolation of transportation capabilities.
In 1918 the Red Baron was smiting his enemies from his biplane.
By 1969 US astronauts were flouncing about on the moon (or on a back lot at a Burbank studio?).
It was not until the 90s that writers’ imaginations cottoned onto the trend of diminishing marginal improvements in transportation being eclipsed by the massive improvements in information technology.
The Matrix and Minority Report come to mind.
Consider : there is far more computing power in your phone than in the command module of Apollo 11.
Prophets and not for Prophets :
Alvin Toffler wrote “Future Shock”.
Waves of desperate sub-Saharan Africans stormed Europe.
The film “The Andromeda Strain” featured pandemic woes.
70s groovers Tower of Power performed “There is Only so Much Oil in the Ground”…..They advised : “you can’t cut loose without that juice” over Francis Rocco Prestia’s 16th note bass-line.
There is more oil than we can safely burn. However the bass-line endures.
2020s : dystopian view prevails.
The late Stephen Hawking saw advances in quantum computing delivering a threat of artificial intelligence, superior to human capabilities.
Machines with consciousness.
Supermarket trolley extrapolation….
The preposterous Canadian premier, Justin Trudeau, gained plaudits for his lay explanation of Quantum Computing.
“A bit has two states, 0 and 1. A quantum bit has multiple states. Hence more computational power”.
His explanation of car mechanics? “you put petrol at the back and turn a key at the front and it goes faster than a bicycle”.
Maybe Hawking will be proved right.
Maybe everyone was and will be right? All futures exist?
Somewhere a cat is musing a thought experiment “Schrodinger’s Man”.
Quantum theory has given us the many worlds and multiple universe concepts as mathematically feasible explanations for the collapse of the wave function when sub- atomic particles are subject to measurement.
This could mean that, in parallel realities, you are the president of USA and commute to the Oval Office by jet pack, whilst in another, you are a little green pellet in a lunchbox.