It’s 2015. If that’s news to you please get in touch because I’d be very interested to learn how you’ve spent the last two weeks. I’d like to take a second and declare that is officially ‘The Future’. I’m probably not qualified to make that call but seeing as no-one bothered to work out what the criteria for reaching ‘The Future’ should be, I’m calling it (seems like a bit of an oversight there guys). It is now officially possible to print a car. That’s not a joke.
If you don’t feel like following that link this is a direct quote from the page; “Be the first on your block to own your own electric powered 3d-printed car from the factory of the future” That kind of sums up the whole situation for me right there, we are discussing a car that came out of a printer that can reach 50mph and they’re selling it using exactly the same rhetoric that they used for colour TV’s sixty bloody years ago! Do people even still live in blocks? I’ve never been too clear on what a ‘block’ is to be honest, I’m not fluent in 90’s hip-hop and I’ve never been that clued up on American 20th century town planning but I am aware that people seem to spend less time talking about blocks these days. I’m not even sure that Jenny’s that bothered about them anymore and yet the people in charge of selling a CAR THAT CAME FROM A PRINTER seem to think that neighbourly jealousy is still the driving force in marketing. Although I do find it quite refreshing that they didn’t just cover it in boobs, I feel like they’re kind of missing the point of what they’re selling.
I grew up, much the same as everyone else, trying to dissect films and television programs that I didn’t really understand in order to fuel a career as a font of poorly researched and half formed opinions about the world we live in (thank you, television) and so I’ve had a fairly set idea about what ‘The Future’ would look like and I genuinely think we’ve kind of sleepwalked into it. Go and and find me a dystopian movie future that isn’t rife with social and international tensions, strange and unpredictable diseases, state surveillance and bitchin gadgets. Now, cross reference one of those Year 20** montages with the news on pretty much any day of the week…look familiar? Now there is probably an excellent debate to be had about the extent to which mass-media has sculpted the international perspective on contemporary society and culture. Were the sci-fi writers and producers just much, much more intelligent than we gave them credit for, successfully forecasting the direction of the developed world or have we unintentionally been striving towards some kind of Hollywood misrepresentation of a Philip K. Dick story because we didn’t know what else to look for? However the bit that makes me curious is the unconsciousness of it all. I never saw anything in pop culture to prepare me for a world in which some guys are running round with internet powered eyeglasses complete with ‘augmented reality apps’ (whatever the hell that means) and some people can’t work out how to put a lock on their phone screen to stop their arse from calling you on the bus. That’s the situation we’re in though, for every fully working synthetic limb there’s still some guy accidentally putting an intended private Facebook message to his daughter about her special prescription (complete with at least four inappropriately positioned LOL’s) as a picture comment on someone else’s profile. If they released flying cars tomorrow, most of us would spend most of our time looking for the keys instead of impersonating Bruce Willis’ sky-cabby from The Fifth Element. True there’s generally at least one character in these films who doesn’t have a very good haircut and who don’t have no truck with them fancy gadgets and all this book learnin’, but they’re generally played for laughs and usually end up a bit dead. The thing is, if we accept that the world is a late 20th century action/sci-fi movie then most of us aren’t quite pre-Neo Keanu Reeves in the Matrix using a crap laptop to pull at the threads of reality, we’re certainly not 007 Pierce Brosnan, quite happy to use technology to kill things he can’t have sex with. No, we’re closer to Randy Quaid in Independence Day and not at the end when he redeems himself in the eyes his kids and wipes out the aliens (and got me and quite a lot of my friends in quite a lot of trouble for saying ‘up yours’ all the time) we’re Randy Quaid at the start when he’s all drunk and falling over his crop duster and pissing everyone off and getting abducted. That’s it folks, in the extended and rather muddled metaphor that I’m driving towards here, I’m Randy fucking Quaid, and so are most people I know. Welcome to the future, bring on the uprising.