This article once again reminds me that writing science fiction has become irrelevant in this age of the approaching singularity. The speed of change in reality has outpaced our imaginations. And yesterday’s science fiction nightmares are today’s headlines.
“Concealed in regular safety helmets or uniform hats, these lightweight, wireless sensors constantly monitor the wearer’s brainwaves and stream the data to computers that use artificial intelligence algorithms to detect emotional spikes such as depression, anxiety or rage”
I hope someone can convince me that this is Onion-style irony. The article details efforts to scan worker’s brain waves in real time as they work, observing and recording emotions and thought-patterns throughout their day. No worries, right? How could this go wrong?
Most people don’t want to acknowledge the degree to which our most private thoughts, feelings, and desires are being studied, analyzed, and manipulated by companies and government agencies. I guess that most people don’t know Michel Foucault’s idea about a future in which each of us is subjected to “an interrogation without end, an investigation that would be extended without limit to a meticulous and ever more analytical observation, a judgement that would at the same time be the constitution of a file that was never closed…” But this frightening future is the world in which we now live, the world which we have allowed to be built around us.
Probably few of you have read Ira Levin’s science fiction work, This Perfect Day, though most people at least know the concept of Orwell’s 1984, and Huxley’s Brave New World. These science fiction dystopias have radically underestimated our present situation, as technological progress has sped beyond anything those writers could have imagined. And the future…? I actually believe that you don’t want to know.
No, there’s not much point in writing science fiction, anymore, when the real world is already so strange. Though I’ll probably write some more, anyway.