Sunday, August 12, 2012

I Love The Year 2012

Last night, my wife and I were playing about in bed when she started singing the "hands across the water" lines from Paul McCartney's Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey. We couldn't remember the song, so I grabbed my Droid 2, opened the YouTube app, found it and in no time at all we were singing along.

Life is good.


tim eisele said...

The thing that's amusing about this is that, if you look back at what the SF authors back before about 1970 were predicting for this point in time, one of the many, many things they *didn't* predict was a powerful world-spanning computer network being used to quickly look up half-remembered song lyrics from one's bedroom.

This comes to mind because I just finished a story by Fritz Leiber* that featured what were basically PDA/smartphones that rode around on people's shoulders to remind them to do things. And that got out of hand. The thing is, at least at the beginning of the story, the actual technological device isn't *too* far off from things that have actually been made. But then, his "prediction" goes completely off the rails, with people using these things in a manner that bears no resemblance to the way that people *actually* started using PDAs, the Internet, and smartphones once they became available.

This sort of thing actually encourages me quite a bit when I now hear people predicting detailed scenarios for Our Imminent Doom(TM). If predictions made when I was a kid almost universally ended up so completely, laughably wrong, what makes anybody think that the predictions that they make *now* are going to be any better?

* I've been reading a lot of old SF (1930s-1960s)from Project Gutenberg since getting a Kindle a bit over a year ago. The best ones are the ones that are set right about *now*, but that are in worlds that have no resemblance to what actually happened at all. In general,I think everybody with pretensions of being able to predict the future should read a bunch of these stories just to remind themselves of just how very, very difficult accurate predictions are.

K T Cat said...

Agreed. Distopians are usually wrong. I'm not sure if I've discussed it on the blog before or not, but I would argue that humans have a tremendous ability to deal with calamity. There's a hysteresis effect at work in society that prevents us from really going off the deep end. Counterexamples can be found in the 20th Century's atheist regimes like the communists and Nazis, but for the most part, we manage to not destroy ourselves or wreck society too badly.