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That’s really what these Big Dogs are all fighting for, you realize. The right to curate the future. Think about it. There is no way that a person (unless they are crazy dedicated to the idea and are willing to forgo all other interactions) can actually build their life to follow one science-fictional future or another. It takes specialized knowledge, it takes dedication, it takes CONSTANT upgrades and upkeep. It would take so much time, in fact, that you probably couldn’t hold down a regular job to PAY for all of the bits and bobs required to live that life, even in the confines of your own home.
So, if one is interested in a vision of the future (I tend towards the high-tech version myself), you have a few places to look. Apple, Microsoft and Google are all pushing their own vision of the future, as are Elan Musk and Richard Branson. I’d call them the front-runners because they are in the public mind (not just visible, but memorable, bring up one of those names and almost everyone knows them without prompting).
More to come on this topic.
So WHY haven’t all these bits and bobs gelled yet? Will they ever? The thing about fictional futures is, they are often driven by a single mind, and single individual. That means they are fueled by the experiences and information gleaned by one mind. Someone (usually the author) has done their research, talked (or not talked) to experts in the field that they have access to (who may or may not be the same experts that everyone else is talking to).
Like a bathtub full of gin, all of those experiences and information points get mellowed together, they sit and steep and come together over time until you have a final, consumable product (much like bathtub gin, the quality may vary).
So a vision of the future is a *curated* experience. You are looking at it through a single lens, through the eyes of the writer/artist who put it all together.
Which is why the “real” future won’t match. Ever. The people who *create* the future do their own curation. Sometimes they are informed by futurists, by authors and artists, and the pieces they create reflect that. As often as not, they are chasing a rabbit and have to see where it goes, so where they end up may not at all be where they planned to go.
So, while we may have all the *pieces* of a dystopic future at our fingertips, they are not going to gel. It takes an individual to do that, to create a suite or a collection or an experience by bringing all of those bits and bobs together.
The future is here, strangely enough. 3d printers can kit you out with a custom drone, you can create aggressive, combat ready items of clothing that deliver a jab or an electric shock if someone gets too close. You can slip magnets under the skin of your fingers (if you have a strong stomach and a lot of lidocaine) to get a tactile sense of the magnetic fields around you. There are all these bits and bobs and emerging tech and inventive use cases that can be found in every corner of the world and, while they haven’t yet gelled into the inevitable dystopic future we all fear, the sheer number of things that we can do now that were just an idea less than 10 years ago is truly mind blowing.
As a card-carrying member of the human race, there are a number of things that have to be fought on a regular basis. The big one that I run across over and over again in Game Design is players going blind.
Not in a literal sense. I could (and sometimes do) develop for that, but in a figurative one. Once something becomes familiar, the brain sort of shunts it out of the way, you stop *looking* at it and it becomes background noise.
The peanuts at our local Burger Chain serve (to me, as a game designer) a dual purpose. 1. They give the customers something to snack on because it takes a while to cook food. I can only imagine how many 7 year old appetites have been ruined by the “free peanut” policy.
Reason #2 is, as a game designer, far more interesting. See, floors are annoying. They gather crud of all kinds, they have to be mopped and swept. In many eating establishments you find that the floors are brightly patterned or darkly colored to try and hide this. They are high-traffic places and as such, have a high maintenance. But to an employee, those floors become invisible after awhile, they go blind to the state of the floors. Not because they necessarily don’t care, but because that’s just what happens after a while. The floors are also one of the first things a player, erm, patron sees when they come in the door.
Your establishment is JUDGED by the state of your floors.
So a dark tile floor, coupled with peanut shells would be a recipe for disaster, right?
See, those shells draw attention to themselves. The patterns change all the time, they get kicked around. There’s always something new to see (unlike that one french fry in the corner), the patterns change and the brain is triggered to see what’s different. Fries and other comestibles don’t really drop often enough, or in enough quantity to trigger this effect.
So the floors stop becoming invisible.
The peanuts, possibly incidentally, solve the problem of clean floors by making those floors dirty, but in such a way as to draw attention to them. So while you might think that providing such a thing as un-shelled peanuts is crazy, I’m thinking it’s “crazy like a fox”.
Is it just me, or is Kale getting increasingly desperate? It’s the vitamin powder of vegetables, no-one likes the taste, but it’s good for you, so just slather that sucker in chocolate and nom on.