Future Shock

This is how we all live now, right?

This is how we all live now, right?

It’s Day Week Two of my effort to accept the assignment Marilyn thrust upon me in the form of the Three Quotes Three Days Challenge.  I thank her from the bottom of my squirrely heart for thinking of me for this, as my blog could use a little wildcard post or two now and then to spice up the never-ending weekly routine of earworms, unicorn possum squishing comics, cute squirrels and my shameful attempt to play with my toys in front of the world….

The Rules that I am carefully ignoring for this challenge!

quote challenge rules

I don’t believe in visionaries.  Every once in a while, someone gets lucky enough to happen to be in the right market at the right time to cash in on what becomes “the next big thing.”  Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were Johnnies on the spot when the home computer revolution happened in the 1980’s.  They didn’t know that was coming any more than you or I ever thought we’d see a reality TV star sitting in the Oval Office.

Who did you say won the election?  Joe, have you been watching Fox News again?

Who did you say won the election? Joe, have you been watching Fox News again?

If someone from even just ten years in the future came here today to tell us what 2026 is like, we would probably have a hard time wrapping our heads around a lot of what this time traveling fool was telling us.  And that leads us into this week’s likely apocryphal quote that I’ve used on this blog a few times…

“Everything that can be invented has been invented” -Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of the U.S. Patent Office, 1899

For those of you who prefer words regular Americans use, apocryphal is a synonym for bullshit.  Duell probably never said that… you’d think someone who runs the patent office would realize that there’s always room for untapped innovation out there.

We are always coming up with creative new ways to torture our fellow man.

We are always coming up with creative new ways to torture our fellow man.

We can’t accurately envision the future because all our brains think of everything in terms of what currently constitutes reality.  The Jetsons’ writers couldn’t fathom the coming of woman’s lib, the death of the nuclear family, or that nobody was going to give a rat’s ass about outer space in fifty years… which is why their futuristic family is based on what was normal in the early 60’s.  The same concept applies to Back To The Future’s vision of 2015, which looks more like 1989 than the age when the Cubs would finally win the World Series.

Try to put yourself in the mindset you had ten years ago in 2006.  Pull your 2006 phone out of your 2006 pocket.  It probably looks like this, doesn’t it?

I would know since my phone IS from 2006.

I would know since my phone IS from 2006.

Could your 2006 mind wrap around the concept of modern smartphones and the way they’ve become so commonplace, that literally everyone except Luddites like me have one?  Could it possibly grasp the oncoming social media craze when its most popular platforms were either in their infancy (Facebook, Twitter) or still some geek’s wet dream? (Instagram, Snapchat)

How did we ever sext in the olden days?

How did we ever sext in the olden days?

Now try going back another decade into the past…. to 1993.  Forget today’s modern technological lifestyle, even your 2006 camera-enabled flip phone would have blown your 23 years younger head off its shoulders.  No way you could have saw any of that coming.  And you know what…. you shouldn’t feel bad.  Because in 1993 the company that has long been the leader in telecommunications technology, AT&T, didn’t even foresee what would become its primary business just two decades later.  The foremost experts at AT&T thought us 21 Century superhumans would be conducting all of our business from payphones and “cash machines” rather than smartphones and tablets…

Hello, 2016?  This is 1993 calling!  Hello?  Hello?  Are you there???

Hello, 2016? This is 1993 calling! Hello? Hello? Are you there???

Which just goes to show you how stupid it is not only to try and predict the future, but to attempt to comprehend the innovations and cultural norms that will dominate not just the distant future, but even just a few years down the road.  Who knows, maybe even one day, I’ll post something truly profound and intellectual on this blog.  But there’s one thing I guarantee you we’ll never have in 2026… 2069….. even 2525….

If man is still alive, he will still not have a flying car in the 26th century...

If man is still alive, he will still not have a flying car in the 26th century…


About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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21 Responses to Future Shock

  1. You are so right! I am quite old, and I remember the first coffee maker. We , the whole family, were in the kichen and admired that orange colour machine.At that time we already had TV. We just can´t figure out what kind os world we have after twenty years.

    • People don’t seem to notice how the technology we take for granted today completely wowed us the first time we saw it, and likely not all that long ago! Just when we think we’ve seen everything, another innovation comes along…

  2. draliman says:

    Ah, the late lamented flying car. The dream…
    “apocryphal is a synonym for bullshit” – you should write the dictionary 🙂
    I love how in the top cartoon shot they’re all future-like but still using punch cards to liaise with the computer,,,

    • I didn’t even notice it was a punch card, or I’d have mentioned that as one of the 60’s norms that was incorporated into a futuristic society (That’s a still from the aforementioned The Jetsons, BTW). That is like the payphones that pop up in the future AT&T envisioned… part of what makes the future of technology so hard to predict is not taking into account what is about to become obsolete…

  3. *We are always coming up with creative new ways to torture our fellow man.* But mostly if there’s a buck in it for us and to think this all might be considered evolution. 😈

  4. I still want that flying car. Or the one that rises up on stilts and just marches over the other cars. You live in a more citified area than I do, but I bet no matter where you live, traffic just keeps getting worse. Is there anywhere on earth where traffic ever gets better? Where you can safely exit your driveway and NOT get stuck in traffic?

    Everything HAS been invented. Or thought of. It may not exist in any practical form or be something (yet) we can buy online, but the concept of everything is already in the air. Someone has thought about it, is trying to figure out how to make it real … but mostly, trying to figure out how to cash in on it 🙂 Thanks for running with this!

    • I doubt anyone will ever solve the traffic problem…. and if they do, the government will make sure to up the amount of road construction it does to counterbalance it. Part of the equation not taken into account in future forecasting is practicality… and it’s not as if a flying car would be difficult to invent, it’s just impossible to imagine EVERYONE driving one without total chaos ensuing. Hell, the concept of self-driving cars, which ARE being developed for actual use, scares the bejeezus out of me….

  5. Not to get off topic but I want one of those Jetson food machines in my kitchen……..adding that to my Santa list now…….


  6. Merbear74 says:

    I’m still waiting for a smartphone that wipes my ass.

  7. We need a time machine to kill the one who came up with the singing fish. Also the electoral college. And work.

  8. Trisha says:

    It’s a shame that the food replicator machine that Mrs. Jetson is using hasn’t come to pass. It would make the holidays so much more enjoyable.

    A flying car would be fun but I’m so glad nobody has one. It wouldn’t be safe anywhere. Think of the squirrels. They could get run down while innocently sleeping in their nests!

  9. Little Guy was whining about how hard it was to research his project. I pointed out that when I was in school (back when the earth was cooling and dinosaurs roamed free), there was no internet. We had to use (brace yourself), books and (brace yourself) writing out 3 copies! 😉

    • Oh how I wish we had the internet when I was in school! I did all my reports at the last minute, and relied more on my creativity and way with words to make it appear I actually bothered to do research. That would have been so much easier to do the night before with all of Google at my fingertips…

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