On Living in the Future

I just realized I’m living in the future. This arrived in my mail the other day:

It came as a part of a promotional package from Rogers. Essentially, junk mail. Except, this is junk mail with a USB. I’m supposed to plug this into my computer and start using some new thing. This is technology that wasn’t invented until I was in elementary school and it’s become so cheap and easy to manufacture that it has arrived at my house for free, in the hopes that I will give Rogers more of my money. This kind of blows my mind. More than anything else in my house, this piece of junk mail seems to have arrived from the future. Junk mail with little TV screens that talk to you doesn’t seem so far away.

I also just finished reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick so my mind is in a sci-fi zone, I guess. Did you know that that book (written in 1968) is set in 2021? That’s only nine years away. I can’t recall what book it was, but I recently read a sci-fi story set in 1997. Heck, 1985 is probably the best known example of science fiction prediction not quite hitting the mark. (Though you could make a good argument that 1985 isn’t really about the date.) Basically, we haven’t hit the mark writers in the ’60s thought we would. But we’re getting there. Perhaps not in terms of space travel – Dick’s novel has a colony on Mars – but in terms of what we’re doing here on Earth with technology and communication. I have yet to read a sci-fi novel that predicts the internet. In that way, I think we’ve far outstripped many artists’ idea of the possible.

On the other hand, I now have another piece of junk mail in my house. Worst of all, I can’t recycle this one.

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