The famous quote from the original cyberpunk author William Gibson – “the future is already here; it’s just not evenly distributed” is everywhere, and mostly true. At least that was primarily true before 2020. I feel that there is a change in the air.
We are no longer just looking at the future through a lens, wondering what the future will be. We are now in the future. 2020 IS the future. Most of the science fiction of the 20th century placed the future squarely in the worlds from 2020 onwards, so the future is not unevenly distributed, it is here. Indications that the future is here are all around us.
First, the smartphone has already turned us all into cyborgs – we cannot live without our connection to the universe afforded to us by our phones. Our phones have instantly expanded our brain potential to nearly the full set of knowledge of humankind. Within a few taps, we can know anything – past or present, local or global. In tap, we can find out what the weather is Budapest is like.
We can get answers to any question we might typically ask our parent’s advice on, from someone on the other side of the world who is going through the same things as we are. We can communicate with almost anyone else on the planet in seconds. We can learn new things in moments by accessing educational materials in any form – text, audio, or video. We learn by watching others and doing, instead of sitting in a classroom for years of our lives, learning about a past that is no longer relevant.
Work, play, education, mating, living, and dying are all now fundamentally different. The internet and instant connectivity have practically eliminated the old world. We are more attuned with the world than we have ever been – the human race is now more interconnected than it has ever been, and the reality is is that the future is already here, and in those few pockets, we find the past.
So why do we keep bringing up the past? Why do we keep measuring ourselves by the standards of the past? Why do we still expect kids to go to high school or college when everything that they need to know can be learned just-in-time over the internet as required? Why do we need to force people into harrowing interview experiences when looking for work, which are light-years from the situations which they will be in on the job, with the knowledge of all of humanity behind them? Why do we need to force employees to commute, work specific hours, and file W2s?
The world is entirely different, but our institutions are stuck in the past. Have you embraced the future all around us, or are you still pushing an agenda of the past? Are you consistently bringing the future and technology into your life to transform yourself and your business, or are you still stuck in the past?
It’s the future. It’s finally here. It’s now time to embrace it fully and say – I will abandon the past, which no longer serves me.