I couldn't write anything for this blog yesterday because a particular work assignment had a pressing due date and required quite a bit of evening work at home. I rarely have to take work home and had no plans beyond watching YouTube documentaries about Michael Jackson's fucked-up face, so this assignment was little more than a slight inconvenience (by the way, I'm really annoyed that we can release an album of all new Michael Jackson material as aided by other musical artists, but no visual artist can take a stab at what MJ's 2014 fucked-up face would be? That's careless). That said, the inconvenience of after-hours work would have been extremely annoying if I actually had to do it at work. I sent a final draft off at 10.30 last night, but I was in my jams listening to my jams, and I went to bed after hitting send. But it wasn't that long ago that you couldn't electronically send a work file to your home to continue working on. Even this blog entry, as I start this morning from home and will send to myself to finish and post over lunch from work, digitally exists in two places at once and could be sent anywhere in seconds.
I know we live in a futuristic wonderworld with technological capability our ancestors only dreamed of. It's remarkable that, just a few short years ago, I remember tearing the perforations off of printed paper before handing in a school report and now I get mad when my internet porn has to buffer for more than ten seconds. But part of me sees the progress we've made as an indicator of what subsequent generations will enjoy and thinks, "Well fuck."
Dream: Live an extra hundred years, able-bodied and healthy.
Goal: Maybe achievable. TEDTalk speakers love to trot out the statistic that, because science, the first human to live to be 150 has already been born. Then they go back to openly masturbating in front of nerds. I don't know how reliable such a statistic is, or if medical science is making leaps and bounds behind closed doors (forget about boner pills and work on cancer, why don't you?), but I'd like to be that guy, provided I'm not drooling or dotty, just to see what the future holds.
Plan: Reduce my Dorito intake by 17% percent in order to live to see the following innovations:
The Transporter. I don't know what else to call it, but I want one of those machines where you enter one portal and walk out the next instantaneously, anywhere in the world. So you get in a chamber in Regina, say, "Saskatoon!" and you walk out of a chamber in Saskatoon in 5 seconds. Although, I mean, it's not a long drive, don't waste your transporter credits on that, go to Paris or something. I don't know how far we are from this technology, but with fax machines, email, and 3D printers, we must be getting closer. I'm worried they'll develop the first shaky prototype when I'm like 90, and getting in one would kill me instantly because of my old bones and cotton candy hair that would get caught in the mechanism. Think about the ways in which this technology will change the world. Soon, it will go from being a luxury available to the very rich, to a government mandated necessity. We could feed the starving in Africa, illegal labour would skyrocket, and I could finally find that Genesis cassette I left behind on a family trip to Michigan when I was nine.
And won't it be satisfying to watch the airline industry dwindle and die? Air Canada would be frantically spinning plates and tap-dancing, begging us to please deign to take air travel. "We don't care about carry on allowance! Forget security lines! Take the whole can of pop! PLEASE GOD, FLY WITH US!" Flights would get cheaper and cheaper, and airplanes more and more luxurious. Like a cruise now, a flight would become a destination in itself. Take a vacation ON a WestJet plane. Eventually, though, even that would shut down, and we could convert airports into prisons and convert prisons into cute loft apartments.
No more offices. I love having a little office, though I've been told I'll soon have to share it with a new hire. But it seems counter-intuitive that I'm more productive on certain assignments when I just take them home. Plus, with bosses in Vancouver and Toronto, the only way I'm connected to the clients I write for is electronically. Therefore, my commute can feel like a bummer, and it's definitely productivity lost. We are already a paperless office (never print anything, all materials are digitized), but soon we will be an office-less office, I'm sure of it. If you're not in a line of work that requires face-to-face interaction, what's the point of having warm bodies in a building five days a week? I'll be angry when I retire in order to live my dream of writing full time from home, my replacement will be working full time, writing from his home.
Food pill. I love eating, but I would love it even more if I only had to do it once a week and could indulge in whatever I want. Why haven't we perfected the pill that gives you all your vitamins, nutrients, and energy without leaving you feeling hungry, so that you can live off the stored fat of your once-a-week mega meal? Eating can be an important social ritual, but so often it's grilled cheese in front a computer screen. Such a pill would cure not only world hunger, but eating disorders as well. If food was strictly pleasurable, but nothing beyond the food pill was required for nutrients, people could stop eating, theoretically exercise themselves down to skeletons, but still be somewhat healthy. This trend would mean a terrible increase in stick thin models and unrealistic beauty expectations, but I would suspect a food pill would be rushed into production when our natural food resources started becoming more and more scarce. Therefore, actual food would be expensive, the ability to dine on real food would become a luxury, a fat person is suddenly a status symbol, like the white-pale Victorians of old. Suddenly, the most celebrated famous people start sporting tits and ass again. John Goodman becomes a symbol for virility and manhood, if he isn't already.
Cures for cancer, HIV, and AIDS. In my lifetime, the scourge of the Western population has been cancer, while other parts of the world (as well as here at home, of course) have been ravaged by HIV and AIDS. Surely another superbug will come along to replace them, but for a glorious while, I hope I live to see every cancer patient leave a clinic cancer-free, and no more AIDS orphans. It's just too sad that. Statistically, cancer will a lot of us, and I hate that we're still so in the dark about root causes. In a few generations, people will look back and say, "I can't believe people didn't know that cell phones were responsible for all the cancer in the world." And people putting cell phones to their head will suddenly become imagery that is daring and punk rock, like a rockstar holding a gun to his head on an album cover or something. I don't know if it's cell phones, or sugar, or air, but something is killing us, and we seem more focused on treatment rather than prevention. Doctors, just find out what's making everybody sick, you can even take time off developing the food pill.
New prejudices. I'm not looking forward to this one, but it will be very interesting to see how our views evolve and we pick new groups to be scapegoats for our cultural fear and hatred. I hope, at least, that we evolve beyond our current roster of "Others". LGB (but not much T)-bashing is less and less culturally acceptable, racism is pervasive, but we'll all eventually become so intermingled that it will naturally subside, yet I worry that women will continue to bear the brunt of our deepest prejudices because so many people are convinced that misogyny isn't a thing. It's a thing. I have never and will never experience what it's like to be a woman, but I am confident that we are waist deep in our own bullshit when it comes to society's treatment of more than half of its members.
Maybe it's greedy to want to experience the future through the lens of the present. It's not as if there is a solution to all of society's ills, and even if there was, it wouldn't be found in advanced technology. If anything, I am grateful to experience my life at the age I am with the experiences I've had. I don't really understand wanting to be older or younger when you're neither old nor young. I'm so glad I'm old enough to appreciate what I have, and young enough to know the best may be ahead of me. Whatever the future holds, I'm ready for it.