If there is one thing I can say definitively about the human race and its dual quest for both knowledge and comfort, it is the fact that sometimes humanities reach, now and then, stretches too far ahead for its own good - all in the name of our righteous progression into eternity. It is this sort of idea that created Fanny Packs, invested in MiniDisk Player's, and caused Oppenheimer to utter those frightening words, "Now I am Become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds", immediately after witnessing the detonation of the Atomic Bomb for the first time in history, and stood in the mushroom shaped shadow of the unknown but inherently destructive possibilities that lie within human potential.
Like a blind person, unaware of the edge of a cliff - but forever enjoying the search - somehow unswayed by the thought of falling into oblivion, we walk swiftly to the next level of innovation with only a small memory of a warning echoing throughout our conciseness in a sort of perpetual whisper, "be careful... you could fall" - yet we stride toward it unburdened. I am not sure if we do this out of spite, necessity, or merely out of a hunger not to be postponed by all types of friction that life can throw our way; whether it be physical, philosophical, ideological, or cultural. Whatever our genetic motivation for progress, we stride toward it. Most of the hindsight or theoretical outcomes of these innovations can be found NOT in the minds of the people who create them, but in the minds of the artists, writers, and especially in the 21st century - TV & Film makers that inhabit the reality they are created. The Tv and Film makers are like the other kid in the room, keeping watch for grown-ups, as the infinitely curious humanity attempts to stick a penny into the light socket of life. Standing in the background, feverishly theorizing away at what outcomes the event about to transpire will have on the present and future. Imagination, you see, is a gateway to the unknown mass of potential a small or large act can have. Because, before humanity could perform the action, it came up with the idea to place that penny in an unknown situation, and once that spark of thought is released into the atmosphere it will be the creative types who will prophesies the future based on humanities intentions, along with of course, their own experiences - up to the moment of experimentation. Including too much of their own experiences can sometimes hinder the story which is why most of the time, they miss their mark, going too far and assuming too much about how the mindset of humanity will actually react to innovation, which tends to take their theories into extremely confusing territory – but often, it’s still pretty fun. Other times though, we will see technologies which are much more of a possible reality. A promise of technological advancement rather than some sci-fi fantasy; and it is in these times that we truly bare witness to the future through the lens of a camera or in the pages of a book. Sometimes without even knowing it. Hell, there are even times that the imagery we are seeing is so far advanced that it isn't until we go back and read the books, or watch the films again, that we see our present reflected in the pasts predicted future.
I know my wording might seem confusing, but that is just how shit goes when you try to relate ideas on existential topics involving film and TV via text and another persons eye balls. So, if you want to get off this train now I understand, because we are about to enter my brains filter of both The Outer Limits, and how one episode could have heralded the downfall of humanity all the way back in 1997 …
First off I would like to go on record in saying I have not seen this episode in a very long time. I probably saw it soon after it came out in 1997 because , well, I was a hell of a nerd back then and it being two years before Y2K I can’t really be 100% sure what I was doing. Except of course having my mind blown by the folks at Syfy who brought back The Outer Limits for a short time. A show that will always be - in my mind - one of the craziest and greatest Sci-fi anthology series of all time. It was dedicated more to the Sci and less to the Fi if you get my meaning; where The Twilight Zone dealt with ghosts, curses, and the occasional angel – The Outer Limits was like watching the inside of Isak Assamov’s brain on DMT. It was trip-tastic, especially if you’re a kid at home on a Saturday morning at the peak of a sugar high tooling in the wake of a Loony Tunes marathon. Like most science fiction, the episodes seemed to illustrate the wrongs in our own society, but also the predicting possible societies of the future. One episode in particular did this so well that it has never left my mind since. The episode was called “Stream of Consciousness”, and since all my attempts to go back and re-watch the episode have failed, (besides this shitty youtube copy) so here is the synopsis directly from Wikipedia:
“Unfortunately for the human race, the Stream has been erroneously programmed to crave information instead of knowledge. Soon, it begins to turn the human race into its slaves to attempt to locate and process every single bit of information, a process that will lead to the Human race's extinction as people stop doing everything to obtain the desired information.
Ryan's injury keeps him from falling under the sway of the Stream, leaving him the only person who can stop it. The Stream will not allow itself to be shut down, however, and it commands the humans under its control to defend itself from Ryan. In the end, Ryan succeeds in shutting down the Stream and saving mankind. Cut off from the mental crutch humanity has used for so long, the entire population (save Ryan) are reduced to a childlike mental state. Ryan finds himself needing to teach mankind the old ways of acquiring information again — from books.”
I swear, you might not think it but that description illustrates every bit of the actual episode, but trust me, just by reading it you can say that you have seen the episode. All you have to do is know there was a classic mentor character in the story and a classic bully and then presto, you have the entire 45 minute episode.
While that isn’t really too impressive, the fact that this story was written in 1997 should blow your mind when you look around today in 2015. In '97 we had cellphones as big as a brick and an internet that’s life blood was photo porn, 64 bit color schemes, and enough animated gifs to give everyone a headache. How David Shore - the same guy who brought us “House” - ever looked at his surroundings and wrote something like “The Stream of Consciousness” makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I mean… beepers were still a thing folks, and Shore just looked straight past all that and came up with what seems to be where our society is headed.
I see ya there, judging....you may think my ideas to be a little wacky don't you? Well did you know there was a guy running for President in the next election from the Transhumanist Party, and his name is Zoltan? No I am not making this up, although if I did it would seem cheesy in my opinion to name the leader of a Transhumanist organization hell bent on merging computers and humans in some sort evolutionary mold Zoltan Istvan, but thats the guys real name…. Doesn't that seem like the most ominous fucking name you have ever heard?! These folks want a society where people upgrade their arms and legs by turing them in for robot versions, use nano machines to breath under water, and even make it so we can control computers via thought alone and they go with a guy named Zoltan? I dont know whether to clap or poop my pants....
“Who’s that guy you are voting for?”
“Oh, you mean Zoltan the Magnificant, Zoltan the Mercilious, Zoltan the Destroyer, Zoltan the…”
“Okay, Okay, I get it… Vote for him or I get my face melted.”
While General Zoltan the Goofball and his cyborg wannabe's are trying to merge technology with the human body through the magic of politics, there is a Russian billionaire by the name of Dmitry Itskov trying to create holograms that have the downloaded consciousness’s of humans that trade physical life for artificial holographic life. Yeah… that’s something that is happening right now…. Some rich asshole in Russia… trying to download the human consciousness into a computer… Hopefully though, if it does happen it wont be as shitty as when Johnny Depp did it; or in the least, a lot more Russian!
What I am trying to say is that I am just blown away at the fact that back in the day I sat and saw the future of humanity played out before me when SyFy was called The Sci-Fi Channel, and MTV still played music. Now as I look back it seems only inevitable we would end up where we are currently, because like The "Stream" we hunger for knowledge at an almost exponential rate. Imagine being in a world where all that shit was available but you couldn’t have it because of some biological reason, and even though in respect to other humans you are considered quite smart, but those who are jacked into "the Google Stream" would be effortless in their genius, almost Godlike?? Now imagine how our entire world will be when some folks can afford an upgrade while others can’t. If it keeps going like it is, the future will turn into a Bladerunner form of a Marxist society where the bourgeoisie are human robot hybrid cyborgs, and the proletariat's are made to serve them by performing menial and labored tasks to survive. That is until they revolt, because you (and Marx) know that’s what would happen. It would turn into the same sort of society that we saw in “Surrogets”, where Bruce Willis’s robot host almost gets torn apart by the madness that is the downtrodden result of such a society. Which is probably what it’s like every time someone yells Bruno at him on the street…
That may be our future, or close to it, (Not to be Bruno, I doubt anyone could replicate that) but when I look at this now I think of Graham Hancock and that crazy hair guy from Ancient Aliens. Then, I wonder that maybe that this is not only where we are going but where we have already been. The crazy haired guy liked to think it was Aliens from other worlds, but I sort of entertain the idea we have been around for much longer than we believe so far. Maybe this happened before, where we somehow created biological computers (Which is why there are no traces because bio-computers would disintegrate over a long peroid of time) that where able to connect to a certain Google hub of all knowledge. Perhaps that is what the Pyramids were in the first place. It is an interesting theory since we really don’t even know how old the massive structures are in the first place, and some even put them as old as 12,000 years. This is spooky, because recorded history puts the invention of the pulley in 1500 BC.
“What is remarkable is that there are no traces of evolution from simple to sophisticated, and the same is true of mathematics, medicine, astronomy and architecture and of Egypt's amazingly rich and convoluted religio-mythological system (even the central content of such refined works as the Book of the Dead existed right at the start of the dynastic period). 7 The majority of Egyptologists will not consider the implications of Egypt's early sophistication. These implications are startling, according to a number of more daring thinkers. John Anthony West, an expert on the early dynastic period, asks: How does a complex civilization spring full-blown into being? Look at a 1905 automobile and compare it to a modern one. There is no mistaking the process of `development'. But in Egypt there are no parallels. Everything is right there at the start. The answer to the mystery is of course obvious but, because it is repellent to the prevailing cast of modern thinking, it is seldom considered. Egyptian civilization was not a `development', it was a legacy.”
― Graham Hancock, Fingerprints of the Gods: The Evidence of Earth's Lost Civilization
Not to mention sites like Gobekli Tepe, a remarkable site discovered recently that dates back to 11,000 years and was buried on purpose for reasons we do not yet know. Regardless whether the theory is completely factual or not the absences we find in our past really breaths into speculation the life of imagination when taking into account human nature and its progression. Take hieroglyphics for example. When you look at it it almost seems like emoji’s put together to illustrate a point. Well what do we do now when we want to illustrate to a computer a certain set of instructions at once using something in the outside world? We put it into a QR Code, which is just a fancy barcode, but holds a lot more information via black and white squares. So if the society had not only cyborg’s but regular people, theoretically this would be the perfect way for them to be able to communicate. Through a sequence of emoticons, because at that point when a cyborg with a robot brain attempted to communicate to a regular person, the process would be like talking to a toddler. Also, take the legend of the Tower of Babble. That story from our past seems so similar to a “Stream” situation than I have ever seen. Everyone can speak the same language (the emoticon language perhaps?) and then one day the whole thing goes away and everyone is left babbling to one another.
“Not for the first time I felt myself confronted by the dizzying possibility that an entire episode in the story of mankind might have been forgotten. Indeed it seemed to me then, as I overlooked the mathematical city of the gods from the summit of the Pyramid of the Moon, that our species could have been afflicted with some terrible amnesia and that the dark period so blithely and dismissively referred to as `prehistory' might turn out to conceal unimagined truths about our own past. What is prehistory, after all, if not a time forgotten--a time for which we have no records? What is prehistory if not an epoch of impenetrable obscurity through which our ancestors passed but about which we have no conscious remembrance? It was out of this epoch of obscurity, configured in mathematical code along astronomical and geodetic lines, that Teotihuacan with all its riddles was sent down to us. And out of that same epoch came the great Olmec sculptures, the inexplicably precise and accurate calendar the Mayans inherited from their predecessors, the inscrutable geoglyphs of Nazca, the mysterious Andean city of Tiahuanaco ... and so many other marvels of which we do not know the provenance. It is almost as though we have awakened into the daylight of history from a long and troubled sleep, and yet continue to be disturbed by the faint but haunting echoes of our dreams”
― Graham Hancock, Fingerprints of the Gods: The Evidence of Earth's Lost Civilization
You might think I am crazy, but I just think its fun to think about these sorts of anomalies. They are inspiring, which is one of the reasons I wrote the article. It’s an exciting time we live in now and we are constantly surrounded by innovation. The other day I saw a guy who had a computer chip installed in his brain with a metal tentacle that extended from his skull so that he could hear color. You just can’t make this shit up, and THAT is one of the wildest things about us humans too. The fact we can make so much up, see so far into possible futures, exaggerate even more, and still never manage to come up with some guy like Zoltan Istvan and have him running for President in 2016. I doubt we could even get close to the mark. It doesn't matter though, despite it all we will look and look for the next step in innovation despite not knowing where the danger is or will be. In a time where we jerk off with our phones and smoke cigarettes with batteries, I just wonder what crazy things we will come up with next or if we will even be ready for them when they get here.
Thanks for Reading!!!!
Here are some more interesting articles on future tech:
Gel that enables a person to stop bleeding instantly
Robot Fucking Arms
Bullet Proof Skin
- Motherfuckin Super Syrium (Fountain of Youth Gene Discovered)
- Soft Exoskeleton
- Brain Predictions
- Technologic Telepathy
- Brain to Computer Communication