First of all, I'm posting this in /tech/ but I'll admit it doesn't involve a very rigorous analysis of any technology, so apologies.
So, Mark Fisher and the "lost future" have become such a cliché on the online left that it's barely interesting to talk about, but people usually focus on the death of _cultural_ imagination, and explain it in terms of _cultural_ factors. What I wanted to ask is more material: does anyone get a sense that there is no real substantial technological development coming in the next 10-20 or even 50 years? Isn't the reason we're unable to conceive of a new futurism simply that there is no future promised at all, not just by the artists but the actual technologists who were supposed to deliver it to us?
The futurists we wax nostalgic about were envisioning worlds that they thought were just around the corner, and that they thought could actually change their lives and make possible entirely new experiences: where you could be anywhere in the world within hours if not minutes; where we could explore and inhabit places no one had ever been able to explore (whether the ocean, space, or wherever); where we'd be able to live for centuries if we so chose.
Regardless of how accurate such visions were, they're gone now; and it's not like there weren't many amazing technological changes in the past few decades. But the amazing things that are in the cards don't seem like they're destined for _us_. They might be something our children and grandchildren will experience, but not us. Space, immortality, wherever. I'm not trying to start a discussion on whether these things are even desirable, by the way; I'm just trying to exemplify something more general.
What does seem like it's coming soon just feels… meaningless. Self-driving cars just let you not drive your car. Big deal; it's a slightly less stressful version of the bus experience. Oh, and they might cause massive unemployment, but that's not something to be excited about, exactly, is it? And who cares about smart appliances; so what if you can have a conversation with your toilet?
My point is, it feels like the "near future" has died not because we've stopped imagining it but because no one is actually developing it. All the technologies that are coming feel like one of either:>stuff that makes your life slightly more convenient or efficient or cheaper, but not significantly more soPost too long. Click here to view the full text.