I thought by now we would have flying cars, jet backpacks, and servant robots. This is almost 2012. I mean, come on.
Futurists of the 1950s and 60s painted the new millennium as a place where mindless toil would be a thing of the past, a pristine environment where we’re all smiling and physically fit. Is that true? We’re not living in a utopia now. We have “eradicated” polio, but now have diabetes at epidemic levels. Physical toil such as walking has decreased, but in proportion to an increase in obesity. More social networking venues are available, yet we live in social decay. What’s wrong with this picture?
I believe our expectations have let us down. The expectation that the troubles we have today will be solved by better devices tomorrow: technology. If we can just get the next gadget, life would be so much better. We have the expectation that those better devices will have no unintended negative consequences such as pollution or causing another need such as longer battery life.
Is technology evil?
Although I have Amish neighbors, I am a techno-geek: an electrical engineer, computer programmer, and lover of all things cool and gadgety. I speak their language … eh, the language of the gadgets, not the Amish. I get down to the chip level and program FPGAs. (Those are Field Programmable Gate Arrays. Don’t ask what they are, I’ll bore you to death.) I have shepherded WIFI electronic products from inception to the EOL (End of Life) grave yard. I have run a software company and have dealt first hand with customer complaints. So, I have some understanding of what gadgets do … and don’t get us.
Technology hasn’t failed us, but our unrealistic expectations of it have failed us.
The future is the road ahead of us. We may never have flying cars, but there is at least one thing for sure down that road: us, with more expectations.