Untopia

Designing the future; Shinter

TIME Magazine has got an interesting section called 10 ideas for the next 10 years on this weeks issue. It features some interesting ideas dealing with thoughts ranging from why watching Kubrick’s 2001 – A space Odyssey is depressing (I’m always surprised how people attribute the work to Kubrick instead of Clarke), how and why white America will become a minority group, how an increasing amount of people are turning their backs on the rat race to lead more chilled out lives  to how TV will save the world.

Personally i am partial to the one before that last one. Utopic or starkly authoritarian views of the future have always fascinated me; not because they are a contradiction, but simply because utopia never seems to exist in the future unless iron-hard control is exercised throughout the system. Orwell’s 1984 portrays the bad side of it, while Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World shows the psychotic side of it. Iain M. Banks though comes out with a wholly agreeable outlook for the future of humans that i wouldnt mind freezing my brain for another few hundred thousand years to be a part of.

But just like Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001 gave us a nice ride through fantasy, Iain M. Banks’s future controlled by super benevolent, super(artificially)intelligent yet independent Minds dedicated to the running of the known galaxy while ensuring all their flesh and blood species led completely pampered lives may seem the stuff of fairy tales come year 1,000,000; our computers can still seriously mess our lives up. But on scales vastly less devious than HALs.

People look at the future and see magic. But then in reality it’s just probably the same us out there with a fancier phone, wearing goofier clothes and holding atrocious moral compasses.

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4 comments
  1. John said:

    Even Bank’s novels had totally aggressive aliens to deal with. And you still had to contend with the “Special Interests” group of Minds that tried to cause the war 😛

    Utopia is an admirable goal to work toward, but I doubt our image of utopia will ever come true.

    • Whacko said:

      yeah man, even Iain Bank’s future would be boring without that kind of stuff. i’m not going unless they promise me a permanent place in Special Circumstances anyway! May be we don’t WANT utopia

      • John said:

        Here’s to chaos and all that it entails!

  2. maf said:

    these issues have been around for centuries – even the original Utopia as coined by Sir Thomas Moore dealt with these issues as far back as 1516. Utopia ironically points out through Raphael, More’s ultimate conflict between his beliefs as a humanist and a servant of the King at court. More tries to illustrate how he can try and influence courtly figures including the king to the humanist way of thinking but as Raphael points out, one day they will come into conflict with the political reality. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utopia_%28book%29

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