You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number 118, “In the year two-thousand and suck,” so let the 300 Seconds begin!
It can be hard to believe sometimes, but we are now living in the Twenty-First Century. The Future, such as it is. Back on New Year’s Day of 2010, I thought back to all of those Nintendo and Super Nintendo video games that I played that took place “IN THE YEAR 20XX” and realized: Wow, we’re there now. In the novel 2001 A Space Odyssey, we were supposed to have a space station and a moon base. Here we are, twenty years after 2001, and while the International Space Station is neat, it’s no Space Station V. There is also no Clavius Base on the moon. Heck, we don’t even have a Moonbase Alpha.
My vision of how the future was going to play out was heavily influenced by all of the episodes of The Jetsons that I watched growing up as a kid and Isaac Asimov’s stories and novels, so it would be an understatement to say that I have been sorely disappointed in what I have seen in the first fifth of the twenty-first century so far. Let’s be honest, the future just isn’t what it used to be.
To begin with, technology as a whole has not advanced as far as it could have, and one could argue that some things are moving in the wrong direction. Take cars, for example. Flying cars were a thing in The Jetsons, though George Jetson still had to contend with lousy traffic, because despite what Star Trek preaches, lots of people are still going to suck one hundred years from now. I’m not even a fan of the concept of a flying car, because what goes up will eventually come down, and given the number of poorly maintained vehicles I regularly see on the road, I’m pretty sure we’re going to have a lot of people ignoring the ‘Check Anti-Grav Soon’ light on their future-car dashboard. Honestly, though, I don’t even want flying cars, I think it would be enough for them to hover, just maybe a foot off the ground like a Star Wars land speeder. Hover-cars would solve a lot of problems. No need for tires, less wear and tear on the roads, or maybe, as Doc Brown once said, we won’t need roads.
I think robots are neat, and one thing that The Jetsons gave us to look forward to was having a robot maid to clean up the house. Given that at this point in time, we barely have a robot vacuum cleaner, I don’t expect to have a robot maid clanking around my apartment keeping things clean anytime soon. I also think that Artificial Intelligence is also going to have a pretty hard time replicating the sassiness of Rosie the Robot. It’s going to be a while before we figure out ‘smart technology,’ and even longer before we can have “smart-aleck technology.”
While science fiction made a lot of educated guesses as to what kind of technology we would have in the future, I don’t think anyone predicted the emergence of the Internet to say nothing of having access to it via a hand-held computer. Isaac Asimov wrote several stories about a giant computer called MultiVac that literally contained all the information about the world. I have a friend who refers to their cell phone as their “Mother Box,” which is probably the best description of a cell phone that I think I’ve ever heard, so maybe Jack Kirby was onto something. Unfortunately, it is a great irony that unlimited access to unlimited information has collectively made people dumber. This is partially thanks to social media, because no matter how terrible, out there, or insane the belief is, there will be a bunch of people with similar views online. I’m just saying Flat Earthers should not be a thing in the 21st century.
One particularly awful trend that I have noticed in this year of twenty-twenty-one is the slow deterioration of the written and spoken English language. Maybe it’s because of all the science fiction that I have read and watched over the years, but I was kinda hoping that we’d be using cool future words by now. Going back to Asimov, he had his characters say things like “Aw, space!” in situations where one would expect to swear. The Battlestar Galactica reboot famously used frak as it’s and one of my favorite future comics, Magnus, Robot Fighter would have characters say things like “I’m feeling sore down to the subatomic level.” I always thought future-talk was neat and have adopted a similar tactic to cut down on the amount of salty language coming from me, though my preferred exclamations are “Craters!” and “Shazbot!”
People are inherently lazy, so I understand using acronyms on-line. LOL, AFK, WTF, STFU and so on. My personal favorite is IANAL, which stands for I Am Not A Lawyer. I still remember the first time I heard someone actually say LOL out loud in a conversation: The person, whom up to that point I thought was otherwise intelligent said “LAWL!” When I heard that, I wanted to smack the taste out of their mouth. Seriously, what the hell? Is laughing so difficult for you that you have to abbreviate it instead of actually laughing?!
On the plus side, a common trope in near-future science fiction is that marijuana is legal, and that seems to be slowly happening, so hooray, I guess. It also might explain a few things…
This has been 300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz, the next episode will be posted after I start writing a story about a tomorrow where nothing freaking changes, just to be different. For more wonderfully weird, witty and mostly grammatically correct words written by me, visit Eduardo Soliz dot com and I thank you for listening! Be good, take care, and God Bless.