Promises for the Future: An Update

Promises for the Future: An Update

If we went back in time and scooped up some little kid running around Anytown, USA, took away his cowboy hat and cardboard container of Lincoln Logs, cryogenically froze him and didn’t set the microwave to “thaw” until 2011, Little Billy McHiggins would be sorely disappointed. “My mom told me there’d be flying cars, and we’d eat all our food in pill form, and all the segregated drinking fountains would give chocolate milk.” Sorry the new millennium let you down, Billy. Sure, we’ve got doors that open automatically as you approach them (though none of them make that satisfying whoomp sound the doors in Star Trek do) and phones that can scan barcodes for you so you can compare prices of mozzarella cheese stick Pringles without leaving the store. But we also have Hipster Runoff, Miley Cyrus, and whatever the hell the History Channel became. So for anybody who grew up amidst the can-do American Dream Cold War Get-under-your-desk-and-put-a-book-on-your-head attitude of the 1950s, 2011 is more of a let-down than the sentence “I just don’t feel that way about you.” Fear not, Little Billy, for if there’s one thing American’s haven’t lost, it’s an unshakeable belief that the future will be way fucking cooler than the present. What sorts of things should we expect, and inevitably be disappointed to not receive, from 2060 and beyond?

Digital Dictators
No more of this inconvenient notion of having to take over a country by actually being in the country. Or on the same continent. In the future (The future! The future! The future!) nations will be so dependent on technological connectivity that anybody else in the world could easily infiltrate their e-infrastructure and run it themselves. Financial systems, voting, television, internet…this electronic despotism would usher in an era of rulership that’s going to need its own –ocracy word. “Anonycracy” is a government run entirely by an anonymous figure. Revolutions would be simple – everybody knows the easiest way to fix a computer bug is by shutting down and restarting – but no firewall’s perfect, and the same thing could easily happen again in another five minutes. Might I suggest, nations of the world, writing some shit down on paper?

DNA Detecting Laser Doors
What I imagine would be the pinnacle of security would be doorways that you can only enter if the laser beams being projected out from the sides determine that your DNA has clearance. If your DNA matches, the laser beams let you pass through. If it doesn’t match, well obviously they zap you and burn your body to a crisp. Obviously.

This is my instantaneous answer if ever anyone asks me what my superpower would be. I hate getting places. I hate driving, I hate walking, I hate flying, I hate the very idea that when I decide I want to be somewhere, I cannot then automatically be there through no effort of my own. COME ON, SCIENCE. LET’S MAKE THIS HAPPEN. Inevitably some buzzkill mentions snarkily, “pfffft, but won’t you get super fat if you never walk anywhere ever?” No. Duh. Read on to find out why not.

Calorie Burning Pills
If there’s one thing I hate more than exerting effort to get to a destination, its exerting effort to get absolutely nowhere at all. Therefore, I don’t exercise. I want to pop a pill in my mouth that will burn off whatever excess calories I consumed that day in my sleep. Anybody that thinks the combination of this and the previous item would make me the laziest piece of crap on the planet clearly doesn’t know how I already tend to live my life (let’s just say I eat a lot of Totino’s pizzas folded in half like a taco so I don’t have to dirty a pizza cutter). Everybody knows that taking our food in pill form would be the most DEPRESSING THING EVER because eating is just so…goddamned…like…uuuuuuurrgggh, I love eating.

Cell Phones Implanted at Birth
I recently sold my soul to AT&T for an iPhone 4. “Why so late to jump on the bandwagon?” You might ask. “Shut up, my mom says I’m slow,” I might reply. In the future (The Future! The Future! The Future!) once a baby pops ex-utero, a nifty gun shoots a microscopic cellular device into the back of its neck. Over time the device, which is made up of a combination of nanotechnology and harvested stem cells, begins to spread and metastasize itself to the child’s ear canals and side of the throat. These cells, having been previously programmed to perform certain tasks like detecting and distributing sound, will eventually render the child able to communicate with anyone in the world just by thinking it. Downside: you think you’re annoyed by Bluetooth talkers now…wait until there’s not even a big cockroach-like device strapped to the outside of their ear.

No More Flat-Billed Baseball Caps
Easy enough, I’d think. Not exactly world changing, just the sort of thing I think we should all agree can be slowly phased out, starting now.

We’ve all done it. Sent that late-night text message after downing four whiskey diets in an hour that said something along the lines of “shut up ur hot u shuld com lik my boooob lol.” Well in the future our implanted cell phones will be able to detect when we’re clearly about to send a message we’ll regret in the morning, and head that one off at the pass.

In the distant future, globalism and ease of travel will have instigated enough mixed breeding that all humans will look pretty much the same. Aside from vague gender differences, humans will be the same skin color and general stature (due to Universal Dietary Restrictions imposed on us by our eventual Martian Overlords). What’s the point of Facebook, then, if everybody’s faces look the same? Well based on Katie’s Evolutionary Properties That Don’t Make Any Sense At All, the feet will probably be the last thing to evolve on the future human race (top down, that makes sense, right?) So in the future we’re all going to have to be identified on our social networks by our feet. And after that, once the Martian Overlords have finished their gradual overtaking of the entire planet, it’ll have to be the barcodes they’ve stamped on the back of our heads. BarcodeBook. OK, so it’s not all that catchy.

On more than one occasion, whilst watching TV with Becky (something we’re both exceptionally good at), she has bemoaned the fact that we cannot instantly make whatever food we’re seeing in the commercials just happen. Right in front of us. Oh, Double Decker Cheese-Mania Chalupa from Taco Bell? BAM. In my hands. I couldn’t agree with her more. When I see a commercial for the KFC Triple Chicken Bomb Threat Tear Gas Apocalypse-a-palooza (it’s a chicken sandwich with two pieces of chicken in the middle with two other pieces of chicken for bread, deep fat fried in maple syrup and drizzled with melted cheddar) I want the internet – which is a magical fairy place full of wonderment, unicorns, and fulfilled promises – to make it appear in front of me. If science can create elements that once didn’t exist out of nothing, I have a feeling this isn’t too far off.

All of this is, of course, dependent on whether or not the world ends in 2012. Which it will. So nevermind.

Katie Sisneros wants you to comment below with your expectations of the future!