Honey, they shrunk the future


The New York Times interviewed some Silicon Valley boffins about their visions of our technological future. Here’s a representative sample of the replies:

Marc Andreessen: “Hundreds or thousands of drones flying to and fro for all kinds of reasons. Getting a top-end college education without going to a physical campus. Cars driven by computers instead of humans.”

Clara Shih: “Implantable chips that monitor the number of steps we take, hours we sleep, all of our vital signs, blood chemistry and beyond.”

Ev Williams: “Phones and computers will automatically do anything tedious that doesn’t require brainpower, like signing up for a web site or app.”

Sebastian Thrun: “Implantables, like a chip under your fingernail that unlocks all your devices.”

So surprising. So ambitious. In fact, they’ve inspired me to launch my own startup.

8 thoughts on “Honey, they shrunk the future

  1. Kirk

    I was thinking of youngbloodtravel.com . Get your aging blood replaced by young blood while your computer-driven car takes you to work.

    Or remcommute.com . You answered emails and tweets all night while entertaining yourself with The Returned and Call of Duty. Now you can get your REM sleep in your computer-controlled car as the interior electronics smooth your brain into delta waves.

    Or dronenails.com . Unfamiliar drones peering in your windows? Zap them out of the sky with your fingernails.

  2. Henry Beer

    The ornithologists sat around snickering, elbowing each other and gesticulating as the unsuspecting bird made its hopelessly inadequate attempt at describing how it flies.
    When the session was over, the scientists could only walk back to their labs while the bird, as it does naturally, caught a thermal and soared off, disappearing over the horizon.

  3. Sascha Cohen

    It’s so sad. These great ‘innovators’ have provided answers which remind me of nothing more than the absurd ‘educational’ films we used to be shown in grade school and at summer camp back in the late 60’s and 70’s: “In the FUTURE, robots will do all our boring tasks, leaving humanity to bask in the joy of perpetual leisure!” “In the FUTURE, technology will provide us with food in the form of a tiny pill, so housewives will no longer be chained to the stove, cooking endless meals for her children and her hardworking husband.”

    I fear that this total absence of real imagination in so many of the leaders of the valley is just an aftereffect of drinking their own evangelical techno-utopian vision of human possibility.

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