I’d always imagined when I ‘grew up’ that there would be flights to the moon on a regular basis, that we would all wear aluminium styled clothing, I’d be waited upon by intelligent robots and that our vehicles would be sky based, rather than be fuel guzzling ground based ones.
To be fair, my life now is filled with sci fi stuff. The future is part of my daily life. My children have an ipad each – loaded with books, educational ( and other!) games, movies, music and more apps than you can shake a laser gun at. I use my ipad to connect to my bluray and TV able to selecting internet channels, normal television viewing or films with the swipe of a hand. I can sit in my lounge room, or near the pool and select music to be played at any of the three outlets I have around the house, or check my emails, or surf the net, or read a book. Although I love my recipe books, they gather dust as I use my ipad to pull up youtube demos, or to show recipes beside where I am preparing food rather than juggle pages closing up on me or finding a spot for it to sit) With the advent of social networking pages, I can catch up with long lost friends and extended family in my own time, rather than to compress it into halting phone calls or stilted conversations at Christmas. My children regularly catch up with family who live in far flung spots around the globe via skype video link. Its not unusual to walk in on one of them playing lego or a board game with the screen faced to them and realise its an aunty ‘ playing’ with them – via the link.
(On a side note – there is a downside to the video calls – for anyone who recalls the Jetsons will appreciate this – you need your ‘skype face’ on if you are going to take a call.. phoning people when you are in your PJs – or you’ve had a rough night and they can SEE you takes the shine off it.)
My family loves books – we even have a whole room converted to our ‘library’ – each wall lined with bookshelves and every level stuffed with every conceivable genre and style of literature. But we also love our ipads and the library it contains. No longer do I need to worry about a book being left behind at dance practice, or stuffed down a lounge. Most apps allow the reader to continue to experience the page turning a ‘real’ book offers, but no dog ears or lost book marks! Some of the apps for my kids have automated readers who tell the story along side the child, highlighting words – or integrating games and puzzles into the texts.
Our family is very accepting to the changes taking place, in particular to technology and perhaps we are unusual. There has always been an element of society who are reluctant, either through fear, laziness or stubbornness; to embrace the future – no matter what it was – motorised transport, fashion, womens rights, television, personal computers, the internet. The future is made upon the decision you take in the present. Its in your hands as to what your future holds.
Whilst it remains a personal choice for individuals to have email addresses, facebook or skype, it quickly separates the social circles and connectivity you can enjoy. Like it or loathe it, our society has disintegrated its village mentality. Its become normal for people to live next door to one another , or to work with each other for years, but never exchanged a word, or any knowledge about them. The technologies becoming available are offering an opportunity to become connected again and to join into a community.
Regardless to what role you have in society, the progress of technology plays a huge part in your future. Teachers are now being trained to conduct virtual classrooms and share their curriculum via specific web based applications. A growing number of restaurants use tablet based gadgets to capture orders which are instantly sent to the kitchen. Universities now issue book lists for kindle. Most high schools are instigating individual laptops for students with personalised learning programs. There is hardly a business now that doesn’t have a website; with many utilising the networking opportunities facebook and the like offer. Many businesses conduct meetings using video conferencing, rather than have the expense of flights and time away from work. Instead of being locked away in their garret, writers link up via a myriad of websites and community forums, producing work which is posted on the internet and enjoyed by a much wider audience than they might have reached even 5 years ago.
Turn your back on these technologies and you run the risk of being left so far behind, it may prove very difficult to ever catch up. Although that is not a reason enough to join this mad race, I am entranced by the capabilities it all offers.
Human kind remains the same. We love, we lose, we fight; either physically or emotionally and at least part of us ponders a form or meaning of spirituality. Arguably we have remained unchanged for thousands of years.
There are supposed to be only 7 distinct storylines and yet we humans have managed to produce squillions ( yes thats a word) of titles. I can’t see why you CAN’T have it all – ‘real’ books and ebooks. I love the feel and smell of real books. I doubt you can exchange the feeling of curling up under a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate and a book compared with an ipad. Books in their physical form, as far as I am concerned, are here to stay. Writers may change focus, alter the way they market themselves and their work; utilise the differing technologies to publish in a wider format; but the craft remains the same.
What can I scry as the future? It holds the same as what we have today, but different. Go out and embrace it. You sure can’t hide from it.
This post first appeared over at Write Anything.