11/16/07

A dystopic utopia?

For the past couple days I have been spending my lunch hours at work, in the break room, eating lunch and watching Martha Stewart work her magic on the 11-inch TV we have. It was great, I could pretend my really bland rice was actually a succulent turkey, or roasted, whipped sweet potato etc. (haha, oh American Thanksgiving) It was highly satisfying and kept me from being really antsy come 2 o'clock, from sitting at my desk all day.

But then today, my beloved noon-hour passtime failed me, the channel wouldn't come in... and I couldn't figure it out. So I scoured the office for something to read that wasn't

A.) The Nunavut Land Claims Agreement or
B.) The pocket criminal code.

Note to self, bring book to work.Martha and the 10-in TV are not reliable.

And then I remembered I had two old Macleans magazines on top of my desk (next to my copy of the pocket criminal code) and settled down on the funny-smelling breakroom sofa and hoped for the best.

I'm not always a fan of Macleans. I don't really like the layout, and the first half of the magazine bores me. I like the longer articles, as long as they aren't profiles of former politicians... but I think I've hit the jackpot with the magazine's centennial publication.

The cover story is called "Lizzie's Century" and it's written by this guy who did a serious piece of writing as to what his daughter would see by the time she's 100 (aka in 2105... the issue is a couple years old).

Now, I should mention I've always had a bit of an obsession for "futuristic" predictions. When I was younger I was into some science-fiction... (never got into Star Trek though, so that kind of shows how moderate my interest was). I had this thing for "futuristic" houses... and was intrigued by the idea of artificial intelligence. So it was interesting to see what "experts" not fiction-writers have predicted for the future... or rather "our" future. Because we're not talking 500 years away now, we're talking in the next 10 years... and beyond.

I like to think of myself as a realistic optimist. I have my moments, like the rest of the world, where I think the world's going to end because my wii got lost by UPS... but generally, I like to believe the best is going to happen, but I'm not about to win the lottery tomorrow.

Its funny how different Maclean's predictions are from the hamlet of Rankin Inlet's. One of the first stories I did when I arrived here was about the hamlet's new 20-year plan. The biggest concern, of course, being where expansion would be, as there were only about 30 lots left in the current plan. Whereas according to this article... in 20 years, we'll have kettles that will alert 911 when grandma's not made a pot of tea all day.... and alarm clocks that will communicated with PDAs to select the proper wake-up-time and tone of alarm. Granted neither of those are actually LIFE ALTERING changes. But it just seems... too new-age for my sleepy little town.

But of course there's a bit of gloom and doom in "futuristic" predictions. I thing the biggest one, in the "near future" predictions was in the 2015 bracket, it read:

"AIDS will eat up more than 50 per cent of health budgets in the hardest-hit countries. In some African nations, average life spans will plummet by as much as 30 to 40 years, leaving more than 40 million orphans"

2020 is when they predict breakthroughs in "cures" for HIV/AIDS.

And, strangely enough, the thing that sort of jolted me the most, was a little one-sentence quip about the future of transportation. They say in 2080 (or so) VOTL aircraft ( or vertical takeoff and landing vehicles ... think Jetsons) will be as popular as RVs are today.

So what?

Well anyone who knows me has probably heard my great and wonderful plans for being a little old lady. I've always said I'm going to buy myself a giant RV  and drive myself and my husband around the continent. Gas prices be damned, I have always thought that would just be the best way to see the US/Canada etc. And I never ever gave a second thought to the fact that me saying that, is like saying my grandparents are spending their retirement drag racing in a Model-T. Ok, not quite, but you catch my drift.

I guess I just never even considered the fact that my "plans" for the future probably are no where near a reality...and not because I might change my mind or even just not do it, but more so because the world, when I hit 60, may very well be unrecognizable to my current self. I'm sure my grandparents... or even my parents for that fact had no scope of what the internet and wireless life would be when they were my age. The world changes so fast, its hard to keep up... or even look ahead to what "might be."

Man I'm deep


4 comments:

Renee November 16, 2007 at 11:59 PM  

jackie, i love this entry. maybe because i've always been sorta fascinated by the futuristic world too.

i always wonder: will i be 70 or 80 years old and be sitting there wondering where the hell this world went?

weird stuff to think about. weird stuff indeed.

glad you finally got your stuff btw...i'm moving in 13 days...and will be manhandling all of my own stuff to ensure its safe arrival for the 10 kilometre trip from here to kanata.

cheers :)

Renee November 17, 2007 at 12:00 AM  

i also realized that i used the word "stuff" in that comment an awful lot. three cheers to j-school!

Renee November 17, 2007 at 12:02 AM  

and not to seem like a commenting psycho, but one more thing: i too am oddly calmed by the steady voice of martha stewart as she stuffs pies and papier mach├ęs the world.

Jackie S November 19, 2007 at 11:13 AM  

Renee:

I don't envy you at all, moving your stuff tout seule. I swore, after I moved to Quebec City, that I would never move my stuff on my own again. I would pay for someone else to do it, come hell or high water.

I guess that held true... because CBC moved my stuff up here for me, but now I'm not too sure how I might get it back down south haha. Not that I'm making any plans for that in the immediate future. I guess I'll just have to get a job back with the CBC in southern Canada, and get them to move it again hahaha.

Also: Martha is back! My lunch channel has returned, and thus I will have an inspiring meal. Actually it will "just" be lentils and rice (but it tastes fantastic, so at least I won't feel completely inadequate)