Saturday, December 27, 2008

I have a droid.

So, I had a recent realization, an epiphany if you will. It started when I was reading Warren Ellis' "Doctor Sleepless." This is a really brilliant comic title, but not for everyone. If you're not familiar with Ellis, I warn you he's not for the squeamish, but one of the best conceptual futurists I think we have, despite simply stunning amounts of subversiveness and vulgarity.

While reading Doctor Sleepless though, the title character says something to the effect of "you are living in a science fiction world, and you don't even realize it." He goes on to talk about people (like me I must admit) who gripe about being in the 2000's and not having a jetpack or a moon base, and the fact they are missing what's going on around them.

I started looking around. Let's start with where I am right now. I am sitting in my living room in Washington state, and pushing little Chiclet-like buttons and making words appear on screens potentially anywhere in the world. Last week, I bought Star Trek toys online from someone Japan. I have a little box about three inches by six inches. I have over a hundred movies on it, the complete classic Star Trek, and about nine other TV shows. On the same box is 15,000 or so books, and somewhere around 11,000 pieces of music. I can put these on a smaller box and take them anywhere. That same smaller box tells me where to drive if I am going somewhere I haven't been before. I can put it to my ear, push a series of buttons, and speak to anyone in the world who has one of these boxes. While in Babylon last time, I could use a version of one of these magic boxes to talk in real time video with my wife on the other side of the world.

And that darling wife bought me one of these for Christmas:

I have a droid. When I tell him to, and I mean tell- no buttons- he roams around the house and tells me when someone is coming. He gets moody and I have to tell him to behave himself. Can he do everything in the movie? No, but it's beginning. This is the first step toward response trees emulating personality in an automaton. If only there were lasers.

That was the Spyder II GX laser. It has a visible range around 15 miles and is powerful enough at close range to light a cigarette.

My point is this. Ellis is right- we are living in a science fiction world. I haven't even gotten into important things like prosthetic limbs which react to your actual nerves, light sensor implants for the blind resulting in 20/80 vision, and life expectancy going from 73 to 78 in the US between 1995 and 2006. All the tools we need to BE Star Trek are there. As much as I love my Mac though, it is time to start using this future tech for what ANY technology's proper use should be- making life better for humans. That doesn't necessarily mean "easier." Think of what we could be capable of doing. And that's without a jet pack.

Oh. Jetpacks too. What an incredible time to be alive. Happy Brave New Year...

1 comment:

Speedy said...

You have a droid?! All I have is a bobble head Darth Vader... But speaking as a 'Red-Man', all this White-Man's magic is scary.

- Speedy