Dear Blog Readers of the Future,
This is a time capsule.
As I write this, it is 17:00 CET, on Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016. I am sitting in my home office in Hannover, basking in the pale, deathly glow of my monitor while the window beside me fills with pure, stygian blackness and yet another German autumn descends into winter.
My wife is downstairs grading tests for her smelly high school students, and our 3-month-old beagle, Yeti, is asleep at her feet. I made her take him downstairs because he was chewing on everything in my office while I was trying to work. Do you know how it feels to try and concentrate on designing a brochure for a multimillion-dollar company while your spastic purebred is yanking the very socks from your feet? It feels like maybe we should have beagle burgers for dinner tonight.
But life in our home — while calm, peaceful and loving — is incredibly dull compared to some of the things going on in the world right now. Here are just a few of 2016’s greatest hits:
- Everybody freaked right the hell out over the Zika virus. And just like Bird flu, Swine flu and the Ebola outbreak, the news headlines died down just as soon as everyone stopped loading their shorts about it.
- All the celebrities died. David Bowie, Mohamed Ali, Prince, Alan Rickman, Leonard Cohen, Nancy Reagan, Gene Wilder… all of them. (Except Keith Richards, who, at the time of this writing, was still alive because he obviously snorts powdered stem cells.)
- Great Britain voted to leave the European Union. The populists had one foot out the door right from the start. Screw ’em. The EU is for the cool kids anyway.
- America elected a bag of smashed tangerines instead of a President. Donald Trump won the electoral vote over Hillary Clinton exactly two weeks ago. Did that seriously just happen? Maybe I’m dreaming. Maybe I’m having a really bad nightmare or something, and I’m actually still in bed, pissing myself under the sheets. (God I hope I’m just pissing myself.)
- Nationalism is, once again, on the rise. Fears are running high, but that’s nothing new; we’re afraid of everything. We’ve got global warming, terrorism, threats of war, shooting sprees… you name it, we’re scared of it. And that’s where nationalism comes from. Times get tough, people get scared, and then they fashion diapers out of their nation’s flag so they can feel a little more confident while they shit themselves
- Political correctness is approaching its fervent extreme. Although it originated with constructive intentions, political correctness seems to be devolving into self-righteousness and social cannibalism. A lot of it is false outrage; a luxury among the more privileged socioeconomic spheres. Young people seem to be the most enthusiastic in their evisceration of all things risqué, and I have no doubt they’re coming for me next. I think I hear their designer shoes on my doorstep right now.
And now for a prediction! What does the future have in store for us? I have no idea. Probably more of the same. But in general? Dig this:
Technology – especially smart phones and other portable/wearable devices connected to the Internet – will continue to improve global communication until it shows us all things, from all corners of the world, all at the same time. We will be saturated with information at a rate never experienced before – from the goings-on of the largest celestial body, to the smallest atomic division – and the specificity of such information will be limited only by the depth of our interest in it.
Formerly cloaked maneuvers, such as those found behind politics, big business and war, will continue to be dragged — kicking and screaming — into the light. This will not come about as a result of some internet-based moral initiative, but rather the unquenchable human thirst for – and consumption of – digital information.
Every individual will have an online identity. Not just a Facebook profile or a Twitter account, but rather an amalgamation of your entire digital footprint in one very real, very quantifiable identity. This identity will be far more important than your social security number, as it will be utilized every moment of your day – for every single action you take – and carry with it the full weight of your human reputation. In the future, nothing will be sacred.
Alrighty then! Thank you for reading and remember to put a piece of masking tape over the camera on your computer before you tug one out.
Have an awesome day!
– Zack Zwieback