September 22, 2005
@ 03:46 PM

Feeding poor people is useful tech, but it's not very sexy and it won't get you on the cover of Wired. Talk about it too much and you sound like an earnest hippie. So nobody wants to do that.

They want to make cell phones that can scan your personal measurements and send them real-time to potential sex partners. Because, you know, the fucking Japanese teenagers love it, and Japanese teenagers are clearly the smartest people on the planet.

The upshot of all of this is that the Future gets divided; the cute, insulated future that Joi Ito and Cory Doctorow and you and I inhabit, and the grim meathook future that most of the world is facing, in which they watch their squats and under-developed fields get turned into a giant game of Counterstrike between crazy faith-ridden jihadist motherfuckers and crazy faith-ridden American redneck motherfuckers, each doing their best to turn the entire world into one type of fascist nightmare or another.

Of course, nobody really wants to talk about that future, because it's depressing and not fun and doesn't have Fischerspooner doing the soundtrack. So everybody pretends they don't know what the future holds, when the unfortunate fact is that -- unless we start paying very serious attention -- it holds what the past holds: a great deal of extreme boredom punctuated by occasional horror and the odd moment of grace.

By Joshua Ellis, found via Jamie Zawinski.


Friday, September 23, 2005 2:54:50 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
The author is engaging in extreme hyperbole, and distorts what's really happening. What's really happening is that the middle class as a proportion of the world is growing explosively, and more teenagers can indulge in flirting games than ever before. It's not just U.S. and Japan anymore, it's China and India, and that's all Europe has been doing for several hundred years. It's interesting that so many of the east coast liberal elite descend from puritannical stock -- "OH my God, how can you indulge in young love, when people in Indonesia are STARVING!! (Or the ozone layer is shrinking, or whatever)". No doubt there are still too many grim meathook places, but if I were to bet on what's going to grow the middle class further around the world, it's flirting games and not puritannical self-righteousness.
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