Do We Live In The Future? | Idea Channel | PBS Digital Studios
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Do We Live In The Future? | Idea Channel | PBS Digital Studios

August 25, 2019

[WHOOSHING SOUND] Here’s an idea. We live in the future. Just not the hoverboard one. [MAN LAUGHING OFFSCREEN] [THEME MUSIC] Where are the flying cars? Where is my jet pack? And why on earth do I still
need to eat and sleep? How have we not solved
these problems yet? Demands and questions
made of science by people wondering when
the future will arrive. A common lament, this is not
the future I was promised. It’s tough to say
anything was promised. Most signifiers for the
future, even a dystopic one, come from a generally
Western complex of media that can
sometimes make it seem like we are standing on
the great precipice of destiny. But really, progress is slow and
mundane and woefully irregular. I mean, we all know the
William Gibson quote. We are living in some future. I mean, I guess
insofar as we’re not stuck in some perpetual present,
but that is a much lengthier conversation. The question is whether we
are living in the future, and I think the
answer to this is yes, even given the regrettable
absence of hoverboards. And no, this does not count. I’m talking about this. [MUSIC PLAYING] SINGER: (SINGING) Blast away. For one thing, if having
a pocket computer that can play games, contact
your friends and family, access practically
infinite knowledge, and sound the club
horn whenever you want isn’t future enough for you,
I don’t even know how to deal. [AIR HORN BLARES] But I think there’s more to
living in the future than just available technology. In my mind, one lives
in the future when there is significantly
distributed and operable opportunity and
a wide understanding that allows one to plan for
and effectively construct an even further future. Which is a thing we’re bad at. It’s why it took us so long
to stop wandering around just hoping to find food. It’s why credit cards exist and
are so successful slash awful. Planning ahead is hard, but
lots of us think lots about it and try valiantly to do it,
socially, environmentally, economically, culturally,
scientifically, and we always have. Which is potentially why this
framework is super boring. If living in the
future means being able to effectively
construct one, that means we’ve
maybe been living in the future for a while,
which I think we have. As we’ve slowly figured out how
and why to construct and work towards eventualities as a
species, a set of cultures, and a global community,
we’ve gotten better at it. We’ve maybe always
lived in the future. The question is, when
do we become good at it? Not quite sure we’re there yet. The future’s arrival
then isn’t signified by some piece of technology
or scientific capability, but by a set of
attitudes and practices of which that scientific
capability might be one result. Alive! [CHEERING] When you put it that way, it
might sound kind of obvious. Another and maybe
less obvious question is, what happens to
that perpetual present that we may or may
not be stuck in when we get better and better at
constructing our own futures? I don’t mean this in that
vaguely spiritual sense of, (HIPPIE VOICE) you gotta just,
like, live in the present, man. (NORMAL VOICE) But more like,
what happens, if anything, to now when it is
increasingly fodder for later? There are, of course,
degrees and domains to this question in
science and economics. Can one ever be too concerned
about the future of things? Is one ever not building
on past knowledge and hoping their knowledge
will eventually be built upon? The practice of all of
these things and history and art and politics is
all about work done now so it may be extended
or responded to later. But where constant recording,
documentation, reporting, analysis, and responding
were at one point clinical practices
reserved not exclusively though mostly for institutional
spaces, distributed technology and an understanding of
what it can be used to do has made those things part
of the everyday process of living for so many people. Their personal and social lives,
relationships, and past times. And OK. Stipulated, for a
while now, you could have been the type of person
to obsessively document and catalog their life. But today, that’s less
of a type of person and more of just
a thing people do. And I think it goes
without saying, but in case you’re new
here, I will say it anyways. This isn’t necessarily
a bad thing. Of course, there are bad
uses of any technology. But at this point,
I hope we are bored to death of non-nuanced griping
about personal experiences of the world that
involve devices. [AIR HORN BLARES] But for all of the red-faced
frustration that it causes, the griping does imply
something interesting. That for those who
gripe, something is happening to “now.” Not the global now of our
present cultural historical moment– though
something is definitely happening to that– but the
personal individual nows of the people who are
self tracking, tweeting, and taking Instagrams instead
of living in the moment, or whatever. That gripe, it seems, is
that the precious now is deconstructed or disrespected. That our experience
of it is somehow ruined in the presence of
sharing, documentation, or editorialization
empowered by the network. We talked a little
bit about this in our mobile phones
versus reality episode. When you’re at a
concert taking a photo, are you really experiencing it? And that is something that only
the person taking the photo can answer. Either way, correct
or not, this moment does change based upon the
chosen method of experience. It must, otherwise this
conversation wouldn’t happen. Maybe it’s that the practice
of documenting and sharing creates a separate
concurrent now. Not a better or worse
one, just another one. Maybe it’s that there is
the physical now happening at the concert or
the dinner party, and then there is
the now in images, represented by photos and text. And some people,
believing those two nows to be mutually
exclusive, see the first as being cheapened for what
is ostensibly the ability to return to it later
at some future point, in turning now into later. And so maybe that’s
what all of this is, the collecting and
collating of our present experiences so that we may
return to them in the future, and through that,
the construction of some potentially upsetting
dichotomy of the present. But I don’t know. I mean, I rarely return to
my Instagrams, tweets, Vines, videos. Is it instead that I’m
doing it for the attention? Maybe. But, I mean, my impulse to post
this photo from the Country Music Hall of Fame wasn’t,
whoa, look where I am. It was more like, here’s this
thing for you, if you want it. Maybe what happens to now
in the face of distributed documentation and
editorialization is that instead of
creating a dichotomy, or several distinct nows,
the resolution of the one big now is increased. We get to see all,
or I guess much more of what now is, a
multiverse of all of the actually possible nows. And that in the eyes of the
gripers, that now is less so. Because it is so often
coupled with “here,” a private kind of
a local experience spoiled by hyper connection. If true, this could be
one explanation for FOMO, or the Fear Of Missing Out. With now at such
a high resolution, the pressure to navigate to
the correct or most fulfilling sector is could
potentially really high. From this perspective, now
isn’t a time and a place, but a choice and an imperative. Which maybe it always
was, but today, right now, now also has an audience. [MUSIC – VAN HALEN, “RIGHT NOW”] What do you guys think? How do you determine whether
or not we live in the future? And has the idea of
now changed in response to available technology? Let us know in the
comments, and of course– [AIR HORN BLARES] VOICE FROM PHONE:
Please subscribe. (SINGING) She loves you,
good comments, more than me. Let’s see what you guys had
to say about country music. First things first. I talked with Peter
over at GoVERBaNOUN about Idea Channel
and creativity and educational content
on the internet. And he just published
the interview in three 20 minute
long segments. So we’ll put links to
that in the doobly-doo if you want to check it
out, which you should. I had a lot of fun. And second, I am
going to be getting on a plane in about 36
hours to go to Phoenix. So I hope to see some of
you at Comicon this weekend. We’ll put links to
information about the meet-up that I’m going to be
doing with Joe Hanson from It’s OK to be Smart
and Jamin from Game/Show, and also the panel
that we’re going to be doing on Saturday evening. So, yeah. Links to that stuff down there, OK. On the comments. So Ace0fSwords in
t in the subreddit talks about how
catharsis is maybe an important factor of
enjoying sad country music, but that aspiration
is also a big part of the general
enjoyment of music. And this makes me
think about stuff that TheSomeday42
and Jake Dockter wrote about how the kind of
message that country music is putting together
might be one that you don’t want to aspire
to, that you actually want to actively avoid. Or, an aspiration for something
that doesn’t really exist, because in modern America,
when 1% to 3% of people could be considered
farmers or people who work the land– this
message, this life of being a salt of the earth
kind of person that popular
country music sells, it’s kind of a simulacra. Like, it doesn’t really
exist, and so that leads to some very strange
creations of meaning. HogsInDavis on the subreddit
talked a little bit about the rap and
country exclusion that is popular when you ask
people what kinds of music they like. That it’s popular, or
maybe it was at one point more popular than it
is now, to say that, oh, I like all kinds of
music except rap and country. And this is something
that I actually wrote a little bit
about on Tumblr, so I’ll put a link to
that in the doobly-doo. But the other thing that came up
that like John Ohno and a bunch of other people brought up
is the idea of classicism, that there is a kind
of classicist attitude towards country music in that
it is seen as a low music, which I think is really
interesting and I think has some relationship
to this topic of how people view
themselves as enjoyers of certain kinds of
music and the reason why people might say they
don’t like rap or country. Keith Buckson wrote
a comment about how the meaning of something is
very, very much connected to its roots and that you
can’t have this full meaning or understanding of it unless
it has a connection to where it came from, whereas Cesca
Peay– whose name I’m probably destroying, so I’m sorry– sort
of talks about wanting to enjoy certain kinds of
music, country music among them, by divorcing
it from its roots. Because the roots are what
are unattractive about it. So there were a lot of
really great conversations in the comments both on
YouTube and on the subreddit about navigating
this tension here between wanting
to like something, but knowing where it came from
and maybe being excited or not about that. John, we were making sure
that (VOICE CREAKING) you were paying attention? That is a lie. This is embarrassing. We all feel very bad
and kind of dumb. SeanTheOriginal,
challenge accepted. I hope you brought your unicorn. Song number one, Kacey
Musgraves’ “Biscuits.” Song number two, Sturgill
Simpson’s “Voices.” Song number three, Alison KL
Krauss’ “Outside Looking In.” Song number four,
Charlie Daniel’s “Devil Goes Down to Georgia”?
“When the Devil Goes”– I always forget what the
actual title of it is. And song number five, Johnny
Cash’s “Ain’t No Grave,” which contains
religious imagery, so you probably should have
said no religious things. So we’ll go with “Folsom
Prison Blues,” which has a gun in it, which is
another thing that you probably should have put on the list. So we’ll say “Get Rhythm
When You Get the Blues.” And your unicorn. Zxjacko and srpilha
both write really, really great comments
about the idea of whether or not the present or the future
changes the meaning of the past and sort of pull in some
ideas about genre theory and how we make meanings. So we’ll put links to these
and all of the other comments in the doobly-doo. This week’s episode
was brought to you by the hard work of these
heartbreakers by the number. We have a Facebook, an
IRC, and a subreddit. Links in the doobly-doo. And the tweet of the week
comes from DoctorFumetts who points us towards Taylor
and Francis’ free collection of papers about comic books
and graphic novels that are up until the end of
August, I think it is. And I took a look at
some of this morning, and they look super rad, so
I’m so excited that these are available. And they are free,
so check them out. It looks great. And, hey. In case you were wondering,
this episode of Idea Channel was brought to you
by Squarespace. Squarespace is an easy way
to create a web site, blog, or online store for
you and your ideas. Squarespace features a
user-friendly interface, custom templates, and
24/7 customer support. To try Squarespace, go to for a special offer. Squarespace. Build it beautiful. [THEME MUSIC] [MUSIC PLAYING] |

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  1. Mike, when is tomorrow? You are lost in metaphors and euphemisms. Future will never come, as long as there is something else to happen after it.
    Tomorrow is in the future. Today cant be tomorrow, so future will never come! There allays be a future. 
    You probably talk about your childhood future. which has passed, sorry!

  2. I know we're in the future after I was able to see Michael Jackson, as a hologram, perform a song for the very first time AFTER HE PASSED AWAY! Take a moment to think about that. A famous artist, revived from the dead with holograms, to sing a song that no one has ever heard before… Just. Wow.

  3. the future in western civilization really is tied to movies and what technology was shown such as the hover board. BUT we are in the future, we have phones that put the 90s best computer or 2000s to shame now. There is a robot that makes food & does dishes, we started on synthetic skin, cells, etc. We are in the future, we have electric cars.

  4. Here's an idea: The Halo trilogy is a commentary on religious fanaticism.
    I'm curious to see what you guys have to say on this.

  5. To me there is no living in the now, future, or the past, at least in the way I think either party views it. I have skied down a mountain with another group of people all naked, I have seen other photo's of people doing a naked run, and neither of those are the now, when I did it I didn't need a picture, nor do I appose seeing a bunch of athletes naked on skis. Now is an infinitely small fleeting idea. What is and what was, is every bit as important. Whether its "Holy crap i get to see mastodon next weekend", "Holy crap I loved that mastodon show", "Holy crap I love this song", or "Holy crap I loved that song" I love the moment. I also love the expectation, the memory, the images, and the people I share them with whether they could make it or not. So in TL;DR living in the now is a capture of the emotion of living in the past and future simultaneously.

  6. About those gripers: See that photo?  Like right there… to the left.  By my words.  That's something to the tune of five years old.  I'm not a photo person.  Not against it, but I've just never thought to myself, "Ohemgee I need a picture of that!"  And people gripe to me about that.  People gripe to me about not being so atop the culture and why are all the pictures of my taken by someone else??  But the fact is that I'm just me doin' me.  The fact is: gripers gonna gripe.

  7.   😀

  8. Whenever I read books like 1984, Farenheight 451, or It Can't Happen Here (books about the future written quite a few decades ago), that is when I am reminded that we do live in the future. Technology plays a large role, but an even bigger role is society's attitude towards knowledge, information, entertainment and creativity.

  9. Of course hyper-connectivity causes addictive behavior (fomo). Any sort of over-stimulation can lead to low tolerance to not having as much stimulation. The simple answer is to tear yourself away every once and a while to lower your sensitivity, but you could also solve it with a bit of meditation or a hobby that lets you zone out a bit.

  10. The future is usually idealized in one of two ways. As the time when all current problems are fixed. Or when everything falls apart. In either situation its usually contrasted to the now. And how exciting it will be. For better or for worse. Its the potential thrill of what we don't have in the "now". Unfortunately its never going to seem like the "future" because its never an instant change. And young people are at a greater disposition to this. Because they have no "before" to contrast it to. Meaning that all the great things we have now don't have as much value. What's sad is so many people get caught in the mentality that something in the future made by some one else will solve a problem they have. And take no action themselves or, they are caught in constant motion moving towards something they want in the future. That they never are satisfied with their life because they never take the chance to stop. And think back at what they have already accomplished. Which may be why there is so much emphasis on the "now" with out technology. Because if you live in the moment. Without being worried about things in the future. Then you could potentially have an perfect life moment. But you distract yourself by documenting it. And personally. Sure you can look back at something you instigramed and see that frame in time. But its like a really good song. Every time you listen to it again. It looses a bit more of the novelty and magic that it once had. Hate to be a Debbie downer here but that's my take.

  11. The Future in the eyes of mainstream science fiction would be now, if it wasn't suppressed due to the greed of humans.

  12. As someone who lives in the past I can say that this now isn't the one I had in mind, expected or was promised.
    Smartphones are great but it is sad that they are the only major advancement in the last decade that has been my adult life.

  13. Okay I love this topic of "now" as it lets me point some things about the universe that was recently speculated by scientists. That is what we consider present is in all actuallity a shockwave that propagates away from the big bang in higher dimention of space. That means that neither past nor future exists there is just "now" that evolves expands and takes precious moments with it on its everlasting and ever accelerating journey away from the point of origin. The universe remembers you. Long after your bones turn to dust.

  14. I agree that viewing your life through a lens doesn't necessarily impede the vividness of your perception of it, but I think you misrepresented 'being in the moment man' thing as a statement directed primarily against the documentation of self. I'm quite familiar with the mindfulness movement which that statement is a caricature of; I find the arguments for it are most effective when not stated in terms of this curious internetian (rhymes with Venetian) world we live in.

    The returning to the moment thing is effectively a life hack: the act of repeatedly returning your awareness to some focal point which is not ordinarily considered captivating, such as breath, state of body or quiet ambient sound, seems to develop three capacities of consciousness: dereification of experience (realising that thoughts and sensations are not concrete by being their observer instead of their enacter), aperture and strength of attention, and meta-awareness (feeling the edges as well as the center). This is based the phenomenological state space model developed by neuroscientist Dr. Cliff Saron and others. It's just a helpful heuristic, for a type of experience which is difficult to document, let alone study.

    Once you develop this skill, through intensive practice like meditation, it tends to become easier to envelop yourself in the viscerality of life – what you call the 'physical now'. I would say the 'physical and emotional now' is perhaps a more helpful way of putting it. This is not because the mind becomes less busy, but rather that the capacity of the observer of that busyness is strengthened. It is common to also find it easier to sit with difficult emotional and/or physical states, instead of running away from them in some way. It just so happens that we have plenty of captivating things to run away to, but that doesn't mean that this tendency is unique to recent times.

    There are countless neuroscience and psychology studies about mindfulness in its various forms, and the changes in behaviour and brain function which are linked (obviously not causally) to it. There also many investigating the effect of rapid task-switching, and the effect of constant decision-making, which is where my (hopefully nuanced!) griping comes in.

    There is a growing scientific consensus is no such thing as multi-tasking, only rapid task switching. The more your attention shifts from one slightly rewarding stimulus to another, the less efficient you are at any one of the things your attention is directed towards. To me your idea of the two nows is limited by practicalities: if your consciousnesss mostly absorbed in cropping images, writing posts and such during some experience considered memorable, it is empirically demonstrable that it is not vividly immersed in that experience itself in a physically and emotionally embodied way, because it just can't do both simultaneously.

    Note that this doesn't contradict the xkcd comic: taking photos of an aspect of experience intermittently during immersion in the 'physical now' is to me very different to taking photos, then fiddling with filters, then writing the post, then responding to comments, then checking messages, then momentarily dropping back into 'physical now' awareness, then leaving it again.

    While we do of course constantly switch between wandering thoughts and focus on immediate stimuli (and have done for an awfully long time), I think there is a distinction between distraction by thoughts and distraction by constant micro decisions and mini rewards which the internet provides so keenly. Directed attention fatigue is one such challenge worth reading about. Without this distinction, griping about presence and technology tends to be crude and easy to dismiss as ahistorical, not acknowledging that brains have always been good at distracting themselves.
    The more you play with that 'physical and emotional now', the more it seems like it is unknowable, that the threads of consciousness can not be traced and mapped and recorded, only imperfectly observed. Our brain imaging tools record the noise around them, but establishing causality between the images and consciousness seems to be impossible, and thus to present human knowledge seems that fully digitally recording the experience of consciousness is fundamentally impossible. A corollary: 'the physical and emotional now' will never be truly accessible through 'the now of images'. That mysterious physical now, what Jack Kerouac called 'the silence inside the illusion of the world', will never be truly digitally reconstructible.

  15. To be less esoteric and more hoverboard-y, when people ask "where's my hoverboard" they are really asking "why don't we live in the future popular media promised us?"

    Assuming utopian visions of the future (the Jetsons, Back to the Future II), what popular media promised Americans was an energy revolution, where powered flight and rayguns would have ridiculously compact batteries to power them, and power would be so plentiful as to be free on a national scale.  Obviously we didn't get that.  Instead we received a computing revolution, where machines took up the mental mundane and information became a universal utility, instead of a private and privileged commodity.  We only see echos of that kind of technology in our older visions of the future, mostly in robotics and AI.

    We can see this different revolution happening in many "futures" we were "promised."  In the Cyberpunk futures computer technology slowed down to allow bioinformatics and cybernetics to advance.  The Jules Verne futures expected engineering and materials sciences to allow the intelligentsia to go on ever-more fantastic voyages to ever-more remote and alien locations, with much of the "energy revolution future" in tow.  Many Apocalyptic futures expected the Cold War to escalate like Europe did prior to WWI, but on a global and nuclear scale, a political revolution wherein international-scale politics destroys itself due to either incompetence or chest-thumping (and this is seen as a positive change in most of these stories).

    Even the Pokemon future shows us a world where the superpower revolution took place, where anyone can have incredible abilities on a personal scale and science rises to meet the challenge of analyzing and commercializing it.

  16. Hey idea channel I have a question for you is it possible to move your conscience/soul to a machine like a robot or to a other organic life form or is it just movie and video game magic

  17. i feel that technology as slowed down. from 1900-1950 we went from horses to cars, we went from a hot air balloon to a jet-plane, we landed a man on the moon. yeah we have cellphones but i feel if this continued we would have more technology today

  18. There is only now. As Alan Watt's would say, "the past is memory and the future is expectation." Every time you have thought of the past, it has occurred in the now. Every time you have thought of the future, it has been in the now. Trying to "live in the now" is redundant. It is impossible not to live in the now.

    That being said, you make great points about how it is all perceived.

  19. the first few paragraphs and graphs of are, I believe, applicable. "It seems like a pretty intense place to be standing—but then you have to remember something about what it’s like to stand on a time graph: you can’t see what’s to your right."

  20. Has anybody noticed that when you take a picture of something and then you think back to that moment its hard to picture the event/object in the picture and all you can remember is that you did/saw this thing, and you cant remember actually viewing the thing (i.e you cant picture it in your mind)….. or is that just me.

    – sorry for the run-on sentence.

  21. Individual machines are inherently selfish: you cannot be part of the live-in or be-in when you are being in something else.  You are removing yourself from the experience, like the person talking in class or listening to a radio in the theater.  Imposing meta instead of sincerely experiencing.  Doing this says "what you all are experiencing: it is not good enough for me".   It is, all at once, alienating, selfish, arrogant and aggrandizing.  Not in a huge font, just in little, tiny, unignorable comic sans.  You're the center of your busy busy busy world, stopped immovable on the sidewalk and fiddling with filters at a sunset and lighting up your face at a movie. 

    Socially tacky technological braggadocio.

  22. Despite all the advances in science and technology (which, don't get me wrong, I love), it hasn't really felt like the future since the nineties: everything from then, whether I liked it or not, felt like and still feels like it was the next step toward reaching the mythical FUTURE! of 2015, whereas everything since has just felt like the nineties being increasingly deemphasized rather than having its own cultural identity like previous decades have had.  It's occurred to me that I could just feel that way because that was when I grew up, so I ran it by my dad to see if he felt the same future-ness about when he was a kid, and he said yes, "but then again, it was the f**** sixties," so maybe it is just through the eyes of children or we could both be lucky to have been born at two perfect times to experience peaks in futurocity. 

    It also occurs to me that there may have been a deliberate emphasis on the future in the nineties with the year 2000 on the horizon.

  23. Soooo, is Bruce Jenner a woman?
    I always thought that being a woman is much more than the sum of parts, but if all the comments by woman I see on Facebook identifying this guy and his swap, I guess I could be wrong.

  24. What I love about our future-now is the fact that if I missed the original broadcast of a show, I can still watch it without waiting for a rerun. I don't even mean illegally! The fact that I can go and watch Batman on Netflix is amazing to me because I missed it as a kid since we lost cable and until it was released in a big DVD collection, it was pretty much the end of my option to see it… Until now. Obviously this technology isn't new new new, but still pretty phenomenal.

  25. skimming ontological philosophical. love it. good to watch after a long absence from your show. i come back to educational channels when i quit using. Cross fingers that i stay and remain sober

  26. Do we live in the future? No. We are constantly rewriting the future. The latest discoveries, works of fiction and inventions result in constant revisions of what we expect the future to have.

    Even if the present day was like the 2015 of Back To The Future, we wouldn't be saying we live in the future because that would be our present and everything would be mundane to us, having lived through the arrival of all that technology. Our vision of the future would be something different based on what we have, what we know is possible, what we'd like to see, and what we don't want to have happen.

  27. Is there anyone else that gets jealous when they don't understand a media reference. It makes me feel excluded, which I know is dumb, because no one is purposefully trying to exclude me. It's just a feeling I get when someone points out a fact about a gif and I'm the person smiling and nodding to my computer screen when it's mentioned. Ha, I'm just being silly.

  28. Actually I do think we live in the future, why do we need hoverboards when we have selfdriving cars, space exploration and computers in our pocket?

  29. Heres and idea: can we talk about the death of Elisa Lam and what could of happened… I am sick of far out conspiracies yet I do feel there was foul play. Without a clear resolution after watching the video and doing my own "research" it's leaving me with a feeling of wonder that I am not necessarily comfortable with. I feel between you and v sauce you two are the most well thought out ambassadors of ideas (or at the very least presenting them in an exciting and interesting way). After watching that video I NEED ANSWERS! *Side note* when are you going to talk about ASMR..

  30. I'm sorry, but if you can't talk to me without putting down your cellphone and talking to me, then you are a dumbass.

  31. What we expect of the future is space travel. That is all. Anything short of space travel is not the future, therefore, we have not arrived there yet. If you can have hover cars, you can have space travel. If you can have hover boards, you can have space travel. If you can have food synthesizers and unlimited energy production, you can have space travel. (Very shortly after)

    When space travel is here, then the only question will be how far we want to go and our media will diverge into works of extreme isolation in the vastest of unlimited space and the grandness that can be experienced in a statistically insignificant location or scenario.

    The future is not here because it is not here. Our idea of the future is one far away. That is why even old future movies are still future movies in spite of the dates being completely wrong. Space travel is the most common theme, and what is not explicitly stated is otherwise implied.

  32. 2:38
    Oh yeah, Mike? We'll see who has the last laugh when the New Horizons probe finally reaches Pluto in a few weeks and confirms that Pluto's moon Charon is indeed a frozen Mass Effect relay. I'mma go clubbing with a Turian, while you can sit there and be wrong !

  33. I think it depends on your perspective. You defined the 'future' as a state where we are better able to construct another future. If we roll with that definition, someone who is older, they remember how it was when they were younger, and can then 'better' be able to construct a new future than they could when they were younger. Making them live in the future. But for someone younger, they've always had this improved future making ability and have yet to achieve 'better-ness'

    Personally though, I prefer to think of the future as a state where all present problems are solved, and replaced with new ones. This would place the future constantly in front of us, and we could never reach it. At least, until no problems exist. At that point I would say we are living in the future. 

    But this is a change in definition so we are discussing two different words, even though we refer to the concepts by the same letter.

  34. I am a mom of a 17 and a 20 year old. I am and always have been terrible about documenting their lives because I find myself so caught up in  watching them enjoy life. I had to constantly get others to take pictures at birthday parties and sporting events so I could be free to watch 1st hand. I think the fact I felt it was a 2nd hand viewing of the event if I had to see their eyes sparkle from behind a tiny camera lens is what makes me think the simultaneous now of technology is the lesser one. I really was in the forefront of the grumpy argument you refer to about not enjoying "now" when you have to step outside of the moment to document now.
    It might be easier for my kids to document "now" because their ways of capturing "now" are possibly more second nature, but  the act of  remembering to snap a picture or take a video reminds me that this moment won't last. Which is not what I want to be thinking at a dance recital, a birthday party, or any good event. I want to in that moment to be caught up in and fully engaged with the sights, sounds and feelings that come with that single historic event.
    I never want to miss an eye sparkle with joy over a gift , or a sly smile of victory when they realize they are going to win! 
    I have felt selfish for not being the mom who stages those beach pictures where we all wear similar outfits. Our pictures are often after thoughts, out of focus because they happen when I do remember this will not last forever and if I want a record of this trip to Florida… I better take some pictures real fast….

  35. As one of the gripers you spent much of the episode griping about, I have a few thoughts.

    For me, the experience of a moment is potentially diminished when it's mediated by technology—but more, it's diminished when other people are engaging in a way mediated by technology.

    You mention the example of taking video or pictures at a concert, and for me the question of occasional documentation is fairly clean and simple. It doesn't need to take up too much of the time, it can provide some artifacts, and it really is't that disruptive. When it comes to human interaction, however, the question of technological mediation gets far messier.

    When I ask questions, people whip our their smartphones to ask Google. But I didn't want to talk to Google; I wanted to talk to my friends. People are pulling away from conversations to constantly converse with others via text or online messaging. The technology acts as a portable comfort zone, and so gets in the way of people from doing the uncomfortable but enriching things.

    I've had wonderful experiences with technology. Wielding a camera helps me keep my eyes open to the beauty of the world; I've met some of my best friends through the internet; and I'm grateful for the opportunity to stay so easily connected with so many people. The breadth of these connections often make them shallow, however, and technology has the potential to steal the moments that it captures.

    I am not ungrateful for technology. I just think that a healthy level of griping s not only possible but necessary. We carry portable skinner boxes with us these days; being aware of what they're doing to our experiences and the experiences of those around us is, to me, a vital part of a healthy relationship with tech.

  36. The future is yours, pervasive social media and preference algorithms give you an idea of the world that tries to fit what you're aready thinking of it. It's good to sell electronic appliancs, less so to generate awareness and empathy.

  37. It's not the future until we are in a post-scarcity economy, and human labor is indistinguishable from play or a hobby.

  38. isn't the future a relative thing to where in time you are currently in ? when we say "future" .. don't we mean a time that have yet to happen , or is it a time where a number of circumstances has occurred like inventing the flying car or the hover board ? when we say the future is now for whatever reason, then what is the present ? .. is it a case where two of the ( Past , Present , Future) can mean the same thing ?

  39. When people talk to me about the "future that they were promised".
    I show them an ipad…

    If when i was 5, i was born '91. So in 1996, someone showed me an ipad… I would be screaming at that person, and demanding that he/she be burned at the stake! 
    Or with my first PC, i was like "holy moses! This is fast!" and now, with my current laptop, that can buffer any video without stuttering, i still feel isn't fast enough, for basically menial, basic tasks. But, of course if you showed 5-6 year old me my current laptop, my mind would fucking flip! 

    I'm happy with our future.

  40. I wouldn't exchange my smartphone and internet access for all the hoverboards, flying cars and jetpacks. Or the magical world of Hogwarts (Electronics don't mix well with Magic, as was established in the series).

  41. Regarding the discussion of the modern expansion of "now" to include everything that happened anywhere in a particular moment, the size of it is simply enormous. It's unwieldy. A single person can't possibly keep up with all of the "now" going on in their social circles because the internet has enabled our conception of "now" as a temporal phenomenon to span large spacial distances. In other words, if "now" means "this time" then it can be everywhere at once and still be "now". If this is true, "now" has become a very, very, big thing.

    Perhaps it would help to use a different term than "now" when evaluating the relative importance of all the information we have available to us. A term that communicates immediacy of space as well as time. In the video "here and now" was used, but the word "and" makes them feel separate somehow. The phrase "the present moment" works rather well since "presence" implies both coincident time and location. Yes, I think I will choose my words carefully from now on when referring to the global "now" versus the local "present moment".

  42. +PBS Idea Channel – Here's a different interpretation – by constantly sharing and uploading via smartphones and other mobile devices, you are publicly displaying that to you, your virtual audience matters more than the people with whom you are experiencing that real moment, to the point where you actively maiming their own experience of the shared moment.

    Think about it for 2 seconds. It's not the fact that a minority of people are tracking their lives that bothers the rest; it's the phone and selfie stick blocking the view of nature, or the concert, or the architectural marvel. It's taking the time and money to show up to meet with a friend only to have that friend repeatedly pull back from the interaction for the virtual audience that responds to their texts or their photographed meal. Did you ask for a crowd? No, but suddenly you're relegated as "one of the audience", displacing any potential intimacy in exchange for the other person asking to be artificially worshiped like the smallest celebrity ever. Sure you may choose to be part of the audience later, but the cut-off of intimacy ends up being a strong deterrent for continuing the relationship at all.

    By choosing to screw over the people around you with constant tracking, you're the MMORPG equivalent of a camper – someone who only wants to play by griefing others' gameplay before they even get to experience the game.

  43. The 80's are cool, but did we think that back then? no it was just "now" we didn't think any of that will be a big thing one day, and today we don't think so much of now, one day the early 2000 will be Great

  44. had a vision of the future where we live in a swimming pool city and wear swimwear everywhere. roads are pool lanes and buildings are made of mosaic pool tiles.

  45. If hoverboards DID come out, like 9 people would be good at using them on the entire planet. 😐

  46. I'm a former griper in the way you described. I'm a 23-year old without a smart phone and my only social media is Facebook, which I use sparingly. I'm a very analytical person, and strongly emotive images/posts/arguments for the most part just don't appeal to me. As for social interaction, I prefer intentional conversation to tweets, and as an introvert, I only have so much energy to go around, so I generally invest in the former.

    However, over the past few years, I've softened my stance on said relentless documentation. I've come to realize that my disdain for continuous documentation is more due to my own idiosyncrasies than any sort of "inherent evil" of modern technology. These sorts of practices have a lot of value for a lot of people, and it was really rather prideful of me to project my personal preferences onto culture at large. To each, his/her own I now say!

  47. We don't have flying cars because they're dangerous. They exist. We just can't make them fool proof. Just one flying car failing could kill hundreds of people. Not to mention what nefarious things they could be used for. 9/11 would have been a lot easier if all they had to do was go buy a handful of cars.

  48. I believe "The Future" is the aesthetic of eliminating the barriers that make us human. Whenever a new revolutionary technology or social order is established that crushes what was once a human limitation; that is what is bringing us closer to "The Future". Thus, "The Future" is a goal and a self-imposed aesthetic for humans since the beginning of times, and it represents perfectly our primal ideal: to survive.

  49. I do not just have a pocket computer that does all that, I do not even have to pull it out of my pocket. I control it via a smaller computer that is just barely inside my head.

    I look forward to technologies of private toggleable passive documentation, so that people can document while living in the now man. The footage of that meteorite over russia is a great example of the power of passive documentation. No one had to stop what they were doing to film it.

    I do not document generally, merely because I do not really value visual representations of my memories very much. If I do remember it, I remember it in all its all sense encompassing glory, and if I do not remember it, I do not care. For this reason I only take or make pictures for the purpose of sharing a specific particularly remarkable thing with others whom I personally know will specifically like it.

    I would prefer if I did not have to bother doing anything in particular at the time to capture things that people I know will like. So for this reason I think passive documentation with a good interface for capturing specific points out of it would be ideal.

    P.S. I think it would be awesome if you could easily obtain footage of yourself that was recorded by others without having to bug them and exchange contact information.

  50. At least thanks to modern medicine we don't have to worry about deadly bacterial infections anymor–oh…wait…

  51. I really love the idea of the multiverse of nows. It seems like the best explanation I've ever heard for the documentation and sharing of events on social media. There's an archival function too, but it's not the whole purpose.

  52. Hi, I really wonder if it is not about the intellectual distancing that happens when recording. Say there are 3 levels of consciousness. 1) Aware of my needs like a new Baby, or an insect. 2) me in the environment, i can see the environment.  3) Acute Awareness of self in the environment. The urge to tell people to "dance like no one is watching is showing us the perceived value of forgetting the 3rd level and simply engaging in the environment. that is what a lot of getting over stage fright is. Moving from being hyper aware of yourself to being able to act in the moment when things are reminding you of your presentness. Now the act of documenting and Selfies, is constantly adapting and changing the presentation of oneself. It is ruining the now  of simply being in the present because one is constantly being reminded of the presentation of the self in time and space.

    To go further, meditation is often about going deeper. Getting to 2 if you are having anxiety attacks. It is why you can't watch yourself going to sleep. Going into yourself with meditation and reaching 1 is important, if you have been so in the environment you are not paying attention to your own needs. Budhists try to even get below the awareness of yourself and just BE. Now none of those are individually better or worse but to be more complete and functional the ability to navigate and be able to utilize all the different kinds of perception. You want a functioning 3 if you are going into a Job interview.  

    P.S. I made most of this up but it seems reasonably to me from what I have experienced

  53. once you have taken a picture of now it be comes history, as for liveing in the future you can't get there from Now. you can't waite for it you can try to plan for it but now is now for ever until ?

  54. The moment I knew I was in the future was when I was holding an iPad for the first time and realized that my childhood dreams of a Star Wars datapad were finally realized. My mind was blown. I had literally grown up pretending to do stuff on a touch based pad, admitting I had hoped that it would have had holograms but I'm not complaining too much.

  55. Perhaps living in the "now" of documentation provides individuals with the sense of creation, that they are actively making something extracted from their own lives and sharing it with others around them. The concept of sharing is not foreign, and throughout history there have been relatively unusual "rituals" of sharing, such as during the 19th century when families of the deceased used to prepare the body of the dead for images and documentation. It is not a very cheerful incident to remember or share for that matter, yet it was an extremely common practice. One could argue that this increased frequency of daily documentation is a result of decreased family relations and the general and global support for individually-lead lifestyles. This would, to an extent, promote solitude, but since community gatherings are inscribed in our ancestral roots (evolutionary nature of humans traveling in clans, etc…) humans are inclined to share parts of their day with others in an attempt to be a part of a group. Hence it would create a sense of belonging to a community, regardless of whether or not relationships within this community are on a personal level. This could also explain the ascending appeal and popularity of blogs and other social media websites.

  56. People don't like "everything except rap and country" and I ALWAYS challenge people on this when they say it. Does that mean you like Southern Baptist hymns? What about extreme death metal? What about Noises (the genre)? I have yet to find someone who "everything except rap and country" who enjoys any of those three genres.

  57. I think it exists in the form of the Butterfly Effect. I refer to MikuExpo 2014 as a present.
    The past exist because multiple events that occurred cause what happens in the now. Buying a ticket, telling my parents, hitching a ride to LA, saving cash for merc.
    The present exists in enjoyment or involvement of an event as it happens. I'd link a video, but it's too embarrassing. If you wanna see it, just ask and we'll see if I upload.
    The future is a variable yet to be solved for. No one knows what will influence what and how. For example back then it was believed we'd have flying cars, but no one could've predicted the arrival of smartphones or the lack of renewable energy, making flying cars practically inconceivable. Robots are still conceivable since influences such as technology, society and necessity ask for the existence of robots. The future for my example case, could be anything the event causes. Miku being mainstream, another Vocaloid concert, more songs in English, me going broke or the invention of outdoor phasable holograms.

  58. a scene from "the future": yesterday my daughter went to the shore with her friends. when she was in the bus, she called me to tell me how cool the trip was and told me to open facebook to see photos and i saw them. i know i'm telling an everyday scene now, but if i go back 30 years, when i was her age, how would i imagine that i could put photos on facebook during my trip and call from a bus?

  59. the present is the past, the future is now, and the past is tomorrow. Because in mother russia, you do not pass time, time pass you.

  60. Here's an idea I had and I want people that know better than me to build upon:
    Humanity(or, as far as I actually know, western society) is reaching the zenith of cowardice(i.e. inability too face challenging situations). Not saying that the others generations din't want estability as much we do, whoever, never before we had so much acces to stay cousy in our confort zones:
    _The rampant and intense domination of nostalgia on culture as a whole;
    _The obssesion with cleaning/organic food/simplistic designs;
    _Social media getting, ironic, less broad, with people interacting more and more exclusively with small groups of people that they know and agree;
    _The usually hated teenage rebellion appearing to be less and less… rebel. I mean, damn, I don't seee any teenagers even dreaming about moving out f their parent's homes. That was all I could think when I was 16.
    _Big franchises like Mac Donald's and Coca-cola making different parts of the globe more and more similar. People visit other countries and look for a Subway sanduich than taste this food that they might never get another oportunity to eat ion their lives.
    _Last, but not the least, people's seemingly infinite willingness to accept their government's B.S.. South park made a epsode that basically said "NSA isn't the problem, people sharing everything on facebook is". F*** SOUTH PARK!

  61. you upload the picture of the country music hall of fame for the sake of the anticipated audience. here is something for "you", if "you" want it. the social-networked Now is being framed as a broadcast

  62. I think we are starting to live in a sci-fi future (web 2.0, globalization, every single culture is into electronic music) but it's looking more and more like a lame dystopian one (mass surveillance, corporations ruling everything and neoliberalism running rampant).

  63. yes, we live in the future of our past that is the future of its own past, wich if used with the transitivity law should always be future of something, that if we assume that the universe, or most accurately, time has a starting and an ending point, should lead us to conclude taht we are the future and past of nothing, so we can say that we are a floating, pice of existance in the middle of nothing, that actually doesnt exist so time is infinite, so we live in a singular point, that is and isnt something at the same time, not being able to be considered future or past of anything, because we have no reference of anything

  64. I think determining if you live in a fictional future is almost determined by which fictional future you're thinking of living in. I often lament the lack of good cyberpunk being created but I think when we look at the cyberpunk of the 80s and 90s, it's just a retro view of what the world has actually become. Invasive information technology, Corporations basically controlling the world, etc. With advancements in prosthetic technology and AI, We may, honestly have the 2030s that Ghost in the Shell promises us. However, if our future was defined by unrealistic space travel based on science that can't/doesn't exist, we have been disappointed. No moon base Alpha in 1999. No interstellar wormhole technology.

  65. Yes, having a pocket computer that does all those things you mentioned isn't enough for me, and you know why? BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT USING IT RIGHT. Computers were made for AUTOMATION. Tell me: when's the last time you used that computer of yours to automate a task rather than just communicate or play a game?

    If you had to download 50 different things on a web page with 50 different URLs would you do it one at a time by hand? You shouldn't. I wouldn't. Yet our modern day "operating systems" tend to not even have an easy way to automate such a trivial task without writing an entire program just for that task.

    Not only are most tasks still done manually (somehow) but we don't even have all people on Earth able to access this obviously primitive technology (again, against all logic and reason that would say that technology should be evenly distributed).

  66. Imagine you have 10 minutes to watch a beautiful sunset, a sunset you will never see again in your life. You can spend 1 minute taking a nice picture to visit this moment whenever you want, then enjoy and live in the moment fully for the remaining 9 minutes. Just because you've taken a picture of something doesn't mean you can't continue to enjoy the moment. Although there are those people at parties or gatherings who just constantly corral people in for more photos instead of actually engaging with anyone. that's just annoying

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