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Adventures Close to Home

 

Our Future

Yesterday, the Observer, followed a long – but not, I think, distinguished – New Year tradition of asking a panel of experts to predict the future. Specifically, their brief was to identify the key developments they expected to take place in the next twenty five years in various fields, 'from the web to wildlife, the economy to nanotechnology, politics to sport.'

What is troubling about this - and similar – projections is not their proverbial inaccuracy. An AIDS vaccine, driverless cars, the answer to the dark matter question. Who knows if and when they will arrive? The problem is their use of the first person plural.
  • 'We will be sharing videos, simulations, experiences and environments, on a multiplicity of devices to which we'll pay as much attention as a light switch.'
  • 'I think we'll be cycling and walking more.'
  • 'We'll learn more about intervening in our biology at the sub-cellular level and this nano-medicine will give us new hope of overcoming really difficult and intractable diseases.'
What is it about the future tense that makes 'we' so attractive? Switch it to the present or the past and the universality it seems to imply would look distinctly forced. Is it not possible that some people might benefit or suffer from these changes more than others? Will the shining rays of the world to come strike us all at the same angle?

Why is it that these predictions always seem to invoke an undifferentiated 'we' when the disappearance of social division and inequality is not one of them?

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created by Alasdair Pettinger Mon 3 Jan 2011 8:39 GMT+0000
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Contents

Rasping the Silence
Discovered in 2012
The Problem with 'Screen Time'
First Things
Language Games
The Hall is Full of Noises
Unwaving the Flag
History
Malcolm X as Photographer
An Outline of a Critique of Political Economy
Our Future
Playing with Chekhov
Not Biking but Hiking
House Music
Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema
Shall I Compare Thee to a Hampshire Town?
Listening to Britain
Improv
Keynotes, Signals and Soundmarks
See Emily Play
Things to do on a rainy afternoon
Retweeting Retrouvé