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The Therapy Sessions
Monday, July 19, 2004
 

Remember the future?


Leonard Pitts bitches that the future isn't as good as he thought it would be: Buying a better life? Think again
Do you remember the future?

Chances are you remember it well if you came of age in the 1950s or '60s, that era when everything was "modern," "space age" or "new and improved" and we looked forward with awe. The future was where people would zoom around on jet packs and plan weekend getaways by lunar lakes. The future was where everything would be made better.

Technology would see to it. Better living through chemistry and all that. In the future, a woman would clean her house at the touch of a button. A man would finish his office work in half the time with the help of his robot assistant. All these new conveniences would free us to live more gracious lives. The bulk of our days would be devoted to leisure.

Well, the future came and I don't know about you, but I haven't found any extra leisure. I did, however, find a refrigerator with a television in it.

Oh boo hoo. The future wasn't what you envisioned when you were twelve.

It is, however, a room full of computing power that can fit comfortably on your lap.It is the ability to instantly communicate across the globe with the touch of a mouse.It is easily accessing libraries of information from thousands of miles away.

It is the drugs that allow people to live longer lives and supermarkets crammed with food that no one in 1960 ever even heard of. It is hand-held DVD players and music libraries that clip onto your belt. It is TV's that get hundreds of channels and house that are completely climate controlled.

The future is here, and yes Leonard, it even means more leisure and easier work: the fraction of people who do hard labor for a living has been in constant decline for decades. We eat out more, take more vacations, spend more time watching TV (for what that's worth) than ever before.

And our future has also seen a tranformation in the nature of poverty: In 2004, almost all our "poor" have running water, electricity, TV's, microwaves, ample food, clothing and clean water.

But poor Leonard: no rocket packs or robot assistants.

So sad.


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