Been thinking a lot about possessions lately. It seems like the “things” thing is on its way to extinction. Software, music, television, movies, news, photos, books, and more are all online. In some cities, people share community-cars and -bicycles. The “cloud” concept provides ubiquitous data storage. Many businesses now forego office space for telecommuting or managing d-t-d operations from their cell phones.
In India, one man is making nano-technological clothing which tracks body temperature, pulse rate, and other physical health characteristics. Most of today’s youth are focusing their education on web programming and high finance, neither of which require manufacturing.
What do we have left then? Memories, dreams, goals, the inanimate objects stuck inside our heads that disappear with a pulse’s end. Maybe not. Recently I’ve been reading about new technology where researchers are designing memories – an idea right out of 1990’s cinematic blockbuster Total Recall – and hoping to be able to implant information into the human brain.
It seems we are searching for universal accessibility and thus, destined to be digitized. “Open the pod bay door, Hal”(classic Kubrickian reference) no longer seems so far away. With the questionably disintegrating environment, the guarantee of overpopulation at some point in the near future – barring some unconquerable pandemic – and limited resources to sustain civilization, it appears personal possessions will become more obsolete.
Maybe after data becomes the global commodity, after the digital age apexes, after products are turned into ideas instead of vice-versa, after possessions disappear and all we are left with is our innate ability to love and feel and dream, we will find a need for human contact again. Or perhaps we’ll end up implanting computer-chip lives for the rest of our lives.
Point being, when I smile at you in the street, a little nod and a wave wouldn’t kill you.