This is not the future I had in mind

Last edited on Thu, 5 Jan 2012 17:05:45 -0500

The future didn't exactly turn out the way I had expected. A piece of my own writing from 1996 revealed that my 2011 would consist of Flying Cars, Men on Mars, Teleportation (why would we want both flying cars and teleportation?), and Household Robots. But enough about what I predicted, and more about what I never saw coming.

In the year 2011, I woke up one morning and decided that I wanted to visit my cousins in Montreal for Christmas. After about three footsteps from my bed and four minutes on the Internet, I had a two-way Toronto-Montreal ticket that looked nothing like a piece of paper and everything like an eight-character long alphanumeric code. But of course, I never took note of it. Such careless conduct!

On the day of my journey, I had to present that magic eight-character code at the train station. But I never took note of it in the first place, so how was I supposed to... ah yes, my Smartphone! From my pocket I pulled it out - a 5-inch tall, 3-inch wide screen that allowed me to retrieve said eight-character magic code, and I was off to Montreal.

It wasn't long before I was bored on the train. I wanted to listen to some music but I had no music on my Smartphone. So I touched and flicked the screen a few times with my fingers and I was listening to music - MY music that wasn't on my phone but stored at some remote location that people called The Cloud. I was still bored, and I wanted to see some photos that I had taken, but I don't carry my 60 GB of photos around. So I touched and flicked my Smartphone screen again and I was browsing through photos - MY photos, on The Cloud.

I was still bored, and I wanted to watch a movie but I had no movies on the Smartphone. So I made a few more finger gestures, and I was looking through a large collection of movies on The Cloud. The movies were suggested to me based on an award-winning, data-driven, highly mathematical, artifically-intelligent, self-learning algorithm that analyzed how much I enjoyed all my previously watched movies. I made my pick based on how good the actresses on the cover looked. At some point during this carefully selected movie, I fell asleep.

At some other point long after the movie ended, my phone started vibrating and woke me up, much like an alarm clock wakes people up. But I was on vacation. I didn't about care about the time of the day. I looked out the window and it was snowing. It was 8 degrees below zero, according to my Smartphone. But that's not why it woke me up - it woke me up because my favourite TV show had started. Excitedly, I began watching my TV show on my Smartphone but halfway through it, my train arrived at Montreal.

The future didn't help my sense of direction - I didn't know how to get to my cousins' place from the train station. But that's what cab drivers are for, so I hailed a cab, and gave the driver my cousins' address and he had no clue either. So once again, I made a few finger gestures on my Smartphone (it seemed to know exactly where I was), and after some judicious use of the words, "gauche", "droit", and "merci", I was at my cousins' place in less than ten minutes. I thrust my Smartphone back into my pocket, like it never existed, like the Cloud never existed, like the Internet never existed. Just like they didn't in my 1996 outlook of 2011.

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