”I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.” ~ HAL 9000 (2001: A Space Odyssey)
Do you ever talk to people and discover they have secret and slightly insane concerns about the future of mankind? I’m not talking about our obvious path of environmental self-destruction. That is a reality that we all face each day and hopefully are doing our bit to combat.
Not that. No. I’m talking about how the machines are going to rise up and get us. How all our amazing scientific progress is going to come back and bite us in the bum.
I had a friend over at our house one day. We started talking about the X-Box Kinect I had recently started using. For those not acquainted with the X-Box, the Kinect component utilises an infrared camera to track your movements. Here in lies the problem for my friend. Her husband has concerns about the possibility of a Sky-Net situation in our near future. Sky-Net, of course, being the intelligent computer network that turns against humans in Terminator. Beginning the rise of the machines. Or like HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey. They will never be getting an X-Box Kinect.
Oh, I hear you laughing that Terminator is just a film. Sure it is. That doesn’t make the general gist of what happens any less plausible. I’m not saying that I think my car’s Sat-Nav system is going to turn on me like the ATMOS system in Doctor Who (which was on TV last night), take control of my car and drive me into a river or anything like that (although, that story last year when the guy couldn’t get his car to stop cruise control on the freeway niggled a little bit at my evil car paranoia that stems from watching Christine as a child). But I do think maybe it is a possibility. not entirely impossible.
How many people know someone who got prepared for Y2K? You know, when all the computers were going to wig-out when their dates clicked over to 2000? I can honestly say I did not give a second thought to that one. But probably mainly because I was going to Earthcore for an awesome party and was 21 with the world at my feet (you know what I mean).
Now that I am older and wiser, got a couple of kids to think about, maybe I would have been one of those people down at the supermarket stocking up on canned foods. Would I have built a bomb shelter? Probably not. But maybe only because I don’t have the resources.
I often think about the Future-land where there is some sort of apocalypse and how I would hold up. This conversation actually came up recently at playgroup of all places. Some surprising outcomes. It seems that some mothers would prefer to die in the apocalypse with their children (quickly and painlessly of course) than to suffer the aftermath of plague or extreme natural disaster that may render most of our modern technologies useless and kill a large percentage of the earth’s population.
It made me think about 28 Days Later when the main character returns to his home to find his parents bodies on their beds clutching a photo him, written on the back is “we hope you never wake up” or something along those lines. They have committed suicide together instead of dealing with the terrible situation of a zombie apocalypse.
Another round of “ha ha, that’s just a movie”. But I actually (deep breath, embarrassing admission about to spew forth) do think about how my home will hold up if there is a World War Z. My previous home was elevated and was designed in such a way that we could have destroyed the front stairway and then only have to block or a narrow hallway to make our home zombie proof (apparently zombies don’t have enough motor skills to climb and aren’t really strong enough or smart enough to get through a barricade). This house left us with the advantage of having high up windows for surveillance . There was a location in the old bathroom for a secret exit/entrance. Yes. I have thought about this long and hard. I haven’t thought about it quite so much since moving to the countryside. For some reason, the danger seems to be more in the metropolitan areas more so than the countryside. Even so, my initial thoughts on our new home for zombie-proofing were completely based on the strength of the double-glazing. If they can get through that, then we are goners.
I digress, this has turned into a zombie survival guide.
Another Future-land that worries me is the Gattica scenario. Where people are designated jobs in life based on how good their genetics are. Like having bad eyesight as a family trait, will decide from the moment you are born that you will never be a doctor or something like that. Having your blood tested as a form of id-ing you to see if you are allowed to do certain things or not. This subject gets a little touchy for me due to my own genetic “defects” that only became apparent to me 4 years ago when my son was born and he was suspected of having cystic-fibrosis.
It doesn’t affect his health in any way, but I guess in the future if they were, say, picking who would go on the “Ark” to perpetuate mankind in the event of earth being so badly damaged that we had no choice but to flee, he would not be chosen.
Gosh, I sound like a character from Big Bang Theory or something, don’t I? Is it just utter nerds who think about these things or do normal people have their own Future-land paranoid moments? Perhaps I just watch too much sci-fi……