Welcome to the FUTURE! It is the year 2020, the year of cyberpunk. The hoverboards of 2015 are now only a vague memory, something that “used to be” and Blade Runner happened in November of 2019. So clearly we are now in the utopian times of technology.
To be fair: we are. I was visiting the Helsinki zoo Korkeasaari on the first day of 2020 with my daughter and we were watching some exotic fishes and corals that swam in the aquarium. Two elementary school-age kids came to watch them with their mother and after taking a close look at them the other one said to his mother:
“Mom, those look computer-generated”.
It is interesting to think that during my decades I’ve watched the impossible to happen. First, we had the phones that you could take with you! They weighed a ton at first. Then they got smaller. Then we invented the GSM technology and you could actually hear what the other people were saying on the phone.
Then we started to use a little bit of internet on the phones and finally, we’re now in wireless environments streaming video and audio and we have everything on hand right now. We are actually augmenting ourselves in the cyberpunk fashion. This really is the future!
But my daughter and those kids I talked about previously have been born in a world where all of this is already invented. And while we were really busy exploring situations on how to create everything virtual and scalable and robotized we should also focus on making sure that while we can generate anything on a computer, we probably shouldn’t have only that.
Because in the end, the kids tell it like it is: if their first connection to exotic fishes is a computer-generated one then the real fish resembles the virtual fish to them, not the other way around.
The beginnings of new years usually mean clean slates and promise to do better. I think it’s tenfold every time we change a decade.
So while we strive to create the world more and more into a technological and virtual utopia, let’s try to think also how we can make sure that we have the real fishes swimming around.
Even if they look computer-generated.
Ps. If you are one of those people who a couple of paragraphs back said out loud “well, the new decade starts only in 2021” I only want to use xkcd’s argument on the matter:
MC Hammer’s U Can’t Touch this (1990) was featured in I Love The ’90s series, not 80’s.