Am I living in the future?

I guess it’s a symptom of getting old but I quite often get the impression that I am in fact living in the future. Computers beating humans at Go for a start but also lots of internet things and everyone going round in masks and avoiding each other like there’s been some kind of zombie apocalypse.
So I was wondering if anyone else has any evidence that supports or contradicts the feeling.
My starter for 10 is a story about sending part of one’s own body away to be treated elsewhere and then being reattached…

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Just last year everything on-site was pushed as the better version and online was considered inferior, on-site price much more because “on-site costs”, but now everything turned to online, even things we didn’t know could be done online, is suddenly exactly the same in quality and it counts the same, but it costs on-site price.
Anyone else whiplash? Only me?

I don’t know if it supports or contradicts the feeling.

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I think that coronavirus has increased this feeling (that I share): zoom meetings for everything, apps that control your position, police drones flying around and, of course, the obvious dystopian touch of being isolated in our homes while a pandemic creates a havoc poorly handled by the world’s leaders.

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:musical_note: Brazil! :musical_note:

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The movie?

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The first video is spine tingling isn’t - the accuracy of the prediction being made, which sounded far fetched to the audience of the time.

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Also, the foreshadowing of the world as a giant suburb was a very clear -and disquieting- insight.

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“People won’t travel for business, only for pleasure”. Laughs in 2020 quarantine.

“they will take it as much for granted as we take the telephone”. Well, it will be both actually.

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Yes, he did miss the convergence of the phone, but we can forgive him that.

Meanwhile, I’m not living in the future, I’m living in the wrong parallel universe. I got sent down the wrong track around about when Trump got elected…

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The whole developed world has been living in the future since the late nineteenth century.

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image

Are you talking about this?

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In one of his SF novels Ray Bradbury described the idea of satellite and regretted the rest of his life that he didn’t claim the rights. And this is certainly not the only “wild” idea turned to reality.

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The Time Machine (1960) was a splendid movie (except for the dated scenes with the crude Morlocks). The screenplay was by David Duncan (not to be confused with the modern fantasy writer), who was an excellent though forgotten writer (science fiction and otherwise). He wrote several off-beat SF novels, most notably Dark Dominion.

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I think you are thinking of Arthur C. Clarke, who proposed the idea of communication satellites in a famous 1945 paper.

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You are probably correct. At least I wouldn’t be very surprised if you are correct. It was a memory from almost half a century ago and I didn’t bother to check it.
The list of impossible ideas that became reality is long.
Maybe this is the reason why the once so enormously popular genre is now almost extinct. There is hardly a sci fi novel released anymore. It is all fantasy nowadays.

EDIT: Okay, almost extinct.

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Hmm, Iain Banks published six excellent scifi novels from 2000 to 2012.

Recently I’ve enjoyed these two short scifi videos by Tom Scott:

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Wikipedia on Clark’s geostationary communications satellite

Clarke contributed to the popularity of the idea that geostationary satellites would be ideal telecommunications relays. He first described this in a letter to the editor of Wireless World in February 1945 and elaborated on the concept in a paper titled Extra-Terrestrial Relays – Can Rocket Stations Give Worldwide Radio Coverage?, published in Wireless World in October 1945.
The geostationary orbit is now sometimes known as the Clarke Orbit or the Clarke Belt in his honour.

It is not clear that this article was actually the inspiration for the modern telecommunications satellite. According to John R. Pierce, of Bell Labs, who was involved in the Echo satellite and Telstar projects, he gave a talk upon the subject in 1954 (published in 1955), using ideas that were “in the air”, but was not aware of Clarke’s article at the time. In an interview given shortly before his death, Clarke was asked whether he had ever suspected that one day communications satellites would become so important; he replied: “I’m often asked why I didn’t try to patent the idea of a communications satellite. My answer is always, ‘A patent is really a license to be sued.’”

Though different from Clarke’s idea of telecom relay, the idea of communicating via satellites in geostationary orbit itself had been described earlier. For example, the concept of geostationary satellites was described in Hermann Oberth’s 1923 book Die Rakete zu den Planetenräumen (The Rocket into Interplanetary Space), and then the idea of radio communication by means of those satellites in Herman Potočnik’s (written under the pseudonym Hermann Noordung) 1928 book *Das Problem der Befahrung des Weltraums – der Raketen-Motor (The Problem of Space Travel – The Rocket Motor], sections: Providing for Long Distance Communications and Safety, and (possibly referring to the idea of relaying messages via satellite, but not that three would be optimal) Observing and Researching the Earth’s Surface, published in Berlin. Clarke acknowledged the earlier concept in his book Profiles of the Future.

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Science fiction does seem moribund, but I think it is due more to rampant commercialism spawned by screen success and the economics of publishing. What we get are slick, techno upgrades of old tropes, which get padded to 400 pages and spun out into an interminable series. We rarely get anything that grabs and shakes us like a couple generations ago. The cyberpunks have faded away, and as for the Strugatskys, Lem, Dick, Vance, Bayley, Coney—all dead. Only D.G. Compton is still alive (I think), and he stopped writing SF in the 1980s. The only book in recent years that had that old power was The Girl with All the Gifts, even though, ironically, I regard it as a bad book on philosophical grounds.

Also, SF requires a certain interest in science in most cases, while fantasy is less demanding (don’t get me wrong, one of my all-time favorite books is a fantasy, The Crock of Gold). I had always hoped that SF would become a consistent, serious literary form, as it is in some of the writers named above (in addition to Wells, Huxley, etc.). But it hasn’t happened. Instead, the mystery genre has greatly eclipsed both SF and fantasy as the most popular in libraries (per my librarian friend who led our semi-defiunct SF book group).

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Sci-fi? Aren’t both of these educational documentaries?

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