Why did I write this book and how did it get its title, The Future Never Arrives—at least not as expected and it always brings baggage? What actually does arrive?
“This is the future. This is the time when so many of the promises I have been hearing for decades are supposed to be coming true.” “If this is the future I have been waiting for, where is it?” “This is not the future I had been promised, this is not the future I have been expecting.” “If the future doesn’t arrive, what does arrive?” It occurred to me that the future arrives, not as we expect it and it seems to bring baggage.
I can remember that morning I woke up and those thoughts came barreling into my mind. What kind of future have you been expecting? Is this the future you have been expecting? How is it different? What are you expecting your future to be like?
The futurists I had been listening to didn’t tell me that the future I was expecting would be a jungle! When futurists are painting the paradise of promises they always seem to leave the jungle part off the sales pitch. Everything seems shiny neat and tidy. Shouldn’t we be prepared for the future armed with both the good news and the bad? There’s plenty of jungle aspects in the media of the present, however, there’s little focus on what we could prepare for that might not be entirely positive. This is the unexpected jungle of the future.
One day I was going to have a robot I could assign work to and then go off in my flying car to a life of leisure. As a boomer, I grew up with all sorts of techno-promises. Nearly everyday, I heard something like “Scientists have discovered…,” or “…one day, we will….” It seemed endless. I even hoped that I could go into outer space.
A few decades ago we looked forward to nuclear powered cars that would need no gas. The reality turned out to be a focus on electric cars that can drive themselves. Today we seem to believe a smartwatch knows how to somehow give us more time. How have promises set up your expectations for the future? How does your life and this world differ from the promises and expectation you have held on to?
Am I, are we, really in the future now? As I look around, the future looks nothing like the visions built in my head by all those techno-promises from scientists and futurists. Life today is full of very similar problems to life in previous generations. Any difficulties that have been solved seem to have been replaced by other problems. Issues of concern are just different. E-mail has replaced the problem of having to write notes and letters to other people, wasting paper and having to wait for a response. Instead of having a few notes or letters to deal with, we can have dozens, even hundreds, a day to deal with. Can you think of any other issues that have been resolved only to be replaced by another issue?
We seem to be much better off than in the past, but how much better? Do you feel sometimes that you need a help button?
With each step into the future, our world seems to become more complex. New technologies come and go. Many stick around as even newer technologies arrive on top of the older ones and this contributes to more complications and complexities in our lives. We often hear people exclaiming that something new has rapidly become old, outdated, or obsolete. Can you think of examples of technologies that have become obsolete? How about some old ones that have stuck around? Can you think of any problems introduced by new technologies?
People are more anxious and overwhelmed, often barely coping with staying afloat in a sea of changing technology. Technology is sold to us as supposedly making our lives easier. Does your modern Technojungle life seem easier, or does it seem to be getting faster, more complex, busier, and more stressful?
The future is just as messy and human as the past. The difference is that the technologies and the corporations behind them gain more power over our lives in ways we don’t understand or even suspect.
Time does continue to carry us along. It does drop us into moments further along the timeline of life that we usually call the past, present and future. However, I can say with certainty, based on many decades of observation, that it never comes packaged as promised—as we expected it.
What we do get is a version of the future comprising elements of the past, some promises of hope, and a huge dose of both the expected and the unexpected.
In a rapidly changing world and a never ending deluge of information, people become more bewildered and disoriented. Many become sad, confused, or anxious. They may be so consumed by the present they are unaware of the positive or negative issues of technological change in their life.
Is there hope for humans? If we can understand better what we are observing and experiencing, we can begin to find hope. We are going to have a look at some of these truths and learn to spot others.
The future is now. Now is the time to learn and understand what is happening so we can take action to deal with some of the unexpected aspects of this Technojungle world. As we become more active and proactive, we will be able to turn some of the unexpected of the coming future into the expected and avoid undesirable baggage. We can be prepared for the future and begin to discover how to be human beings living in a world of technology—the Technojungle.
So, the future never arrives. It is never exactly as we might expect it. Let’s talk about the last part of the book title.