Coping with Future Daze

There are days when I begin the day with coffee and contemplation. I peruse Facebook or open my local paper and put the TV news on in the background. A day doesn’t go by lately when I haven’t felt like I am living in a Twilight Zone episode. I could say like I was in a Black Mirror episode, for those too young to remember the reference to the 1959-60s TV show.

I am reminded of how I felt the first time the national news began reporting about the new colors our military vehicles and uniforms would be. They’d always been jungle green as long as I could remember. WWII ushered in a certain look for the U.S. military, and TV shows, movies and Sgt. Rock or Sgt. Fury comic books cemented that look. A year or two before the 1st Gulf War began, sand-colored camouflage was painted on vehicles and made into uniforms. Gone was the dark green of Viet Nam era uniforms and in came the Desert Storm version. And it was long before any of those wars in the Middle East had started in earnest. It was a sign of plans for that part of the world. If the armed forces roll out pure white uniforms next year you can bet the Arctic or Antarctica is not going to be a good place to vacation.

Now we are assaulted by a constant stream of postings and TV stories about drones, driverless tanks and robots that roll on the battle field along with robots that WALK, RUN, and JUMP on the battlefield. The warning sign of things to come.

We have submarines that are autonomous, drones that can become a buzzing mass and attack someone before they ever knew what hit them and tanks that have no operators, just algorithms to keep them functioning.

The amount of effort we are putting into weapons is thankfully being matched somewhat with inventions that will improve mankind’s existence. The medical advancements are nothing short of miraculous: machines that can accurately examine cancer cells and predict their growth or what it will take to kill them off. And machines that assist doctors in surgery being steadier and less likely to error or tire.

Just the sheer amount of information being shared worldwide should be encouraging, but the wealth of knowledge doesn’t seem to sink in like it used to when we had to crack a book and write out our thoughts. Most of us can not recall our own important phone numbers anymore, as we have regulated that part of memory to our smart phones.

It’s really an era of Yin and Yang. Of have and have not. The truth is our technology should be leveling the playing field for all humans, not just those with the proper internet server, or the latest laptop that allows them to grow with the times.

We have the power in our hands. We can create the most amazing life for nearly everyone on the planet. Distribution networks can be re-worked, re-imagined and re-established to the point where no one need go hungry or without health care.

We can produce enough solar-powered energy that fossil fuels could and should become part of our ancient history.

To grow into this new world, we will need to evolve from the old world. In order to bring the automobile into the everyday lives of people, we had to have the horse and buggy industries shrink in direct proportion to the growth of the combustion engine. The same will be true of fossil fuels, and other antiquated forms of energy production. We can do all of this. So why don’t we?

That’s where the Twilight Zone part comes into play.