A Happy Mutant's Guide to the Near Future

Katasutra A Happy Mutants Guide to the Near Future

1) It's going to get awesomely weirder
You're going see more amusing, charming, disturbing, and novel things than you ever dreamed possible. ZOMG will happen non-stop. As jaded as you might think you'll get, there'll often be something dropping your jaw.

2) It's going to get hopelessly cuter
Lest you mistake this as treacly sentimentalism, remember - cuteness is a powerful mask for whatever can get behind it. Adorableness will be pervasive, disarming, and irresistible. Hug, but verify.

3) Memes are going mainstream
Every day new memes will appear, others will be repeated, remixed, and amplified, and others will fade. Cultural in-jokes will abound. Your grandma will send you image macros for the lulz.

4) A lot more things are going to get made
Maker, Crafter, and other DIY cultures will only get larger. You'll possess, use, give, and receive more made items. Your life will be much richer and meaningful for this.

5) It's going to get fresher and tastier
The growth in farmers' markets will make locally grown fresh produce more accessible to more people all the time. Neighborhood and backyard gardens and greenhouses, with heirloom varieties, chickens, and beekeeping combined with a more fun cooking culture will increasingly supplement and in some cases replace processed and commercially prepared foods.

6) Talking heads are going to grow more annoying
Sorry, but AM radiots and teevee's professional mouthholes are just never going to shut up. They're going to persist with their divisive hollering, crying, complaining, inciting, ranting, and raving. It'll take a lot of visceral and cerebral fortitude to effectively counter this nonsense.

7) You'll have more pals in more circles
The net continues to make it easier and easier to connect with those sharing common interests. Each is a circle and these will continue to increase in number and size. Delight, horror, and strangeness will all be possible when these intersect and collide on your Futzbook page.

8) You'll conduct more business by picturephone
Can jetpacks be far behind? This promise of yesteryear's future has finally arrived on your desktop and mobile devices, and just in time to save you from having to carbon yourself around in meatspace as much as before.

9) The net and TV will continue their slow Milky Way/Andromeda-like collision
Despite 1994 calling and wanting the word, "convergence" back, this long- promised marriage is still being negotiated. But given that they can't keep their hands off each other, the odds are much better that they'll finally be moving in together.

10) You'll get by and make the best of it
Because after all, that's what most of us do. You can help by connecting to and sharing with the people around you, both locally and in your virtual common interest circles. The stronger we are socially and otherwise interconnected, the more effectively we'll take on and respond to challenges. Shit happens, but remember to reach out to help when you're able and receive when it's necessary. We really are all in this together, regardless of how they slice us up into groups and categories.

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  1. So just like the pessimists guide we will experience change. The Berlin wall might fall, or we land on the moon, or the markets might crash, or Germany and Russia might invade and split Poland. Change is neutral, good can come from all things, even Anne Frank had some good as a result of her experience. It just depends if you look toward the future with fear or look forward to the excitement of surviving and challenging whatever may come. We all die someday, how interesting will your life be before that happens?

  2. AM and shortwave may be where the talk radio and conspiracy blowhards are heard but I hope some remains analog and musical for the kids crystal radio experiments.

  3. All the above are likely true IMO, but one extra important prediction, I’ll add. Not so happy, perhaps.

    Corporations are going to try harder and harder to ‘monetise’ (ew) things that we take for granted as free or free-ish. Whether it’s open source software, walking on the pavement, picnic lunches, or something else — will be considerably more difficult to predict.

  4. “5) It’s going to get fresher and tastier ”

    Not unless people get off their asses. If you haven’t noticed, the government is working hard to shut down farmer’s markets and any small scale food sources in the lying name of “food safety”. Somehow, putting all food into the hands of the big corps that are responsible for every tainted/diseased food recall is supposed to make it safer. Safer for their profits, anyway.
    In the middle of the last century, Victory Gardens – people growing their own food – was considered patriotic. Now it’s borderline terrorist activity – you’re stealing potential profits from big food.

    Sadly, a more accurate #5 might be “Soylent Green is coming”

  5. @#4 states:
    “Corporations are going to try harder and harder to ‘monetise’ (ew) things that we take for granted as free or free-ish. Whether it’s open source software, walking on the pavement, picnic lunches, or something else”

    All too true!!!-Along with the State and Federal Gov attempting to tax things such as this.

  6. Thanks! Much less depressing than the Douglas Rushkoff piece, which singlehandedly caused a price spike on the exit bag futures market.

  7. Sure, the corporocracy is going to continue its attempts to monetize everything.

    The question is whether or not such efforts are SUCCESSFUL in the long-term.

    The recent system crash of the multi-threaded software application that the automated market has become* suggests that they can’t even successfully monetize MONEY.

    *http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2010/10/you-say-stock-market-i-say-ginormous-multithreaded-application.ars

  8. @Hools Verne #7 You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    I don’t see anything in the article about consuming goods. There was quite a bit about creating, sharing and communicating.

  9. Amateur prophecy! I LOVE amateur prophecy!

    My two predictions:

    1) Things will get better

    Less war, better economy, longer lifespans overall. Some places of the world will still be shitholes, some current industries will fail, but on average humans will be living better lives with more freedom and prosperity.

    2) People will say it’s gotten worse

    The things you eat will still be killing you. Strangers in the dark will still be stalking your children – ONLINE! The various incidents of world ruction will be even more public and dramatized. Every government will be abusing its power then more than ever. Thieves and rapists and insurance salesmen will lurk just around every corner ready to pounce. Ignorant consumerism will be having an incredibly deleterious effect on whatever issue is popular to care about in the future, but people won’t be caring enough.

    1. My Ghods! Your prophecy is chillingly real!

      Except the part about “less war”. That’s pretty nonsensical, war has never stopped since the first caveman figured out how to knock are cavegirl over the head with an antelope thighbone. Wars are only limited by population factors.

  10. How about just:
    1) Things are going to be more or less the same as they are now. Yes, we will have newer toys, but they won’t revolutionize society or make us happier, despite what Jobs, Brin, etc. will claim. Equally true, society won’t collapse or become a 1984-ish dystopia. Nor will China rule the world any more than Japan was supposed to in 1980s predictions.

  11. I agree with this piece! But again, what’s not said is important. There are massive, unavoidable forces that will change things for the worse in the next decade. You should not ignore those forces, or attempt to deny their impact. We will deal with it. Most people most places will be happy enough. Some billion or so might starve, and some number of millions will likely die from it, but generally speaking most people will keep on going about their business, getting by as best they can. There’ll be upheaval, and massive increases in poverty in the US, and radical restructuring, for good or evil, and things will get all crazy, and then they’ll settle down, and life will continue, not as it is now, but in some fashion. The middle class is royally fucked, but technology will march on and get cheaper and smaller and more ubiquitous, so we won’t lack for video phones and other internet appliances, even if food and heat and transportation all gets pretty crazy expensive.

  12. Dorothy Sayers wrote in… 1935? that men seemed to have lives linked by one sole facet of their interests (and women didn’t). Now it seems we all are interacting that way. No complaints here.

    1. this is why i think in less than a thousand years intelligent life will be one puddle of happy chemical goo. physical experience is boring.

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