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Today's Future
posted on May 10, 2016

The Extra Credits youtube channel made some interesting statements, regarding how we see the future that made the gears in my head start turning. They made the point that how society views the future at various times is a reflection of societal views of that time, whether it be an optimistic future, cyberpunk-esk future or what have you.

However, they say that today we are lacking a vision of the future of our own, that in sci fi today, we are merely borrowing and rehashing pieces from past futuristic ideas. I don't fully agree with these views. Following the video below, where they make their case, I will explain why:

So after you've finished your popcorn, here's the way I see it. We have a current view of the future that is very much prolific in the sci fi of today, in 2 primary genres: post apocalyptic and dystopia. Both of these are absolutely staggering in they're popularity.

For instance, why are zombies all the rage these days? It's because it really is a smaller part of post apocalyptic phenomena. And, of course, there also the draw of what's gruesome and morbid and what have you.

So the question is, what is it with this post apocalyptic and dystopian vision of the future? Why is it our outlook on things so bleak these days? Well, I think you know the answer more or less.

We live in a troubling time, under the 911 shadow. A time where terrorism is ever so prevalent. A time when unusual episodes of shootings and that seem to be more common. Back when the Columbine one happened, it was a big and shocking deal, due to how unusual the event was, but now many occurrences like it have happened since. We have natural calamities, government corruption, economic turmoil. All kinds of things.

Now, I don't bring all this up to be Mr Doomsday, but I'm just making the point of what this post apocalyptic and dystopian view of the future is reflecting.

A couple days ago, I watched the original Superman from 1978, which brought another interesting perspective to my mind, regarding this topic. During the 70's, the movie industry went through an interesting phase, where they stopped making sci fi. When Star Wars came out in 1977, pretty much the last major sci fi film prior to that was Space Odyssey 2001, made in 1968, begging the question of what happened?

History is what happened. You have the watergate scandal, President Nixon resigning after being caught in corruption, the assassination of JFK, the assassination of John Lennon for Pete's sake, the Vietnam war that many where opposed to. Also, after man reached the moon, there was the looming question of, "Okay, we're here and there's dirt and rocks, so now what?" So as pessimism seeped in to society, during all this turmoil, interest in sci fi declined.

But the end of the 70's ignited into a major sci fi revolution with Star Wars, Superman, E.T., Alien, Tron, and whatever else I'm missing. It hasn't gone away since.

So why is today different? Instead of going away, sci fi just became darker in tone in reflection of current events. I think a major part of this is due to film making technology enabling us to bring to life our compelling speculations of a grim future. The Independence Day movie made back in the 90's set the precedence for this.

Now, there are other views worth mentioning varying from my current argument. One of which I'd like to call the 2000 effect. Throughout the 20th century, 2000 was bit of a magic number where sometime following it is our magical future. But after passing it up, it's now like, "Huh, we're here." It's the same sort of thing as with landing on the moon, where we go, "Now what?"

Arriving here in the new millennium also brings with it hindsight, giving us more realistic views on how technology progresses and that, making us less prone in getting carried away with flying cars, hover boards, and robots serving our every little need.

We are more inclined to recognize the more natural and incremental way that technology evolves verses a future that manifests itself through spontaneous combustion.

That brings me to the conclusion on my thoughts of how we view the future today.

Categories: Thoughts on Arts

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