i’ve been thinking lately … about what technology will be like in the future, maybe 10-20 years down the road… and what implications this will have for modern society, ethics, and… general psychological wellbeing…
just a few specific things i’ve been thinking about lately :
The Gigapixel project
link to example: http://www.gigapxl.org/gallery-Parasail.htm
basically what it is is this guy made this really huge powerful camera that is capable of taking pictures in GIGA-pixel resolution. in that link he is able to zoom in to about 1% of the original picture, and it still shows in great detail, it looks like a magazine scan almost. each one of these picture files is so large it takes up an entire DVD. which isn’t very useful right now… but… in 20 years… we will probably have handheld cameras that can record VIDEO in gigapixel resolutions. imagine the implications for surveillance. being able to tell the colour of a person’s eyes from a mile away. this could be great for legitimate law enforcement purposes, but it could also be scary in the wrong hands (stalkers, terrorists, etc) …
this is also semi related to satellite imaging, i mean there are already highly detailed satellite photos where you can definitely pick out peoples’ cars and see people on the street and stuff. but think about if it was possble to survey from satellites in REALTIME, and these were blanketed all over the world, conceivably, the government could spy on anyone anywhere in realtime at high resolutions. scary big brother shit.
another thing i’ve been wondering/worrying about is graphical quality and capability in regards to entertainment. Obviously graphical detail is going to continue to increase for a while now… video games in particular are what i’m worried about … what will happen when video games are to the point where they are photorealistic? there are several social/emotional implications of this possibility… the obvious one that many/most people talk about is violence - i.e. how is this going to affect children who may be playing these games? a lot of people draw comparisons to movies, saying well, movies have real-life graphics and often lots of violence… and they may or may not be inspiring our children to kill … but… games is a whole different story. it’s one thing to shoot a person on screen that looks cartooney. but it’s totally a different thing if he looks as real as your dad.
case in point, what if you had to play a game where you had to kill this guy
and he just happened to look like your dad? i mean… that would not only be traumatizing… .but … just f****ed up
what i’m getting at here is… just go look at some pictures on this forum : http://www.cgtalk.com/forumdisplay.php?f=121 they are absolutely amazing, many are photorealistic of fantastic scenes. there is a huge gap in technology between pre-rendered and real-time rendering… example: the games we play now that are rendered in real time have about the same level of graphical detail as many pov-ray pre-renders and such that i used to look at about 10 years ago. this means that in 10 or so years, we will have realtime-rendered video games that look as good as a lot of the pictures on that forum. amazing and scary at the same time.
but this brings me to my main concern… possibly the most complicated and difficult to predict:
i don’t know what to call this although some people have probably given it a name…
i have named it “reality decay”… basically this is the theory that , once a certain level of technology of entertainment media is achieved, people will be so enthralled with and involved in their videogames and movies that they won’t even want to live their own lives anymore. they will just want to play the game. reality will look so drab and boring comparitively that it just won’t be worth participating in. right now we haven’t reached this level of technology, but with the advent of more advanced virtual reality type systems, with greater levels of immersion, coupled with more advanced graphics and more engrossing games - i think this is a true possibility. what will happen then? people will be very depressed when they have to leave to go to work? i mean more depressed than they already are right now. it will be like a crack addiction, people will want to play the game all the time and they won’t want to live in the real world anymore, thus their lives will suffer, their family life, work life, social life, etc will all go downhill.
i could probably write more about this but i will wait to hear what people have to say about it first
another thing related to reality decay is:
my final idea (for now)… and i have been thinking and wondering about this one for my whole life. constant expansion (in relation to entertainment). this is directly related to progress. technological progress mostly. but the electronics and entertainment industries are constantly expanding. there is so much competition in the marketplace that there is always progress. if there were fewer competitors or a smaller market, maybe games today wouldn’t be as advanced as they currently are. but does that mean we would enjoy them less? not necessarily.
so what i’m trying to get at is… just because a game has prettier graphics, does that make it a more fun game? do we really NEED stuff to be ever “better and better”? say you play half life 2 now. do you really want to go back and play doom? no , it’s old and ugly and doesn’t seem as fun now . but it was fun 10 years ago, wasn’t it? and 10 years before that, weren’t your atari 2600 games fun? hell yeah, but you probably don’t want to play them now. or if you do , you would only want to play them for nostalgic purposes. it’s doubtful that you would seek out atari2600 games that you haven’t played yet, just to find that great gaming experience. why ? who knows. “the latest is always the greates” i guess. that’s our modern society’s mentality anyway.
this directly relates to other technologies such as TV. you know how kids of our generation say to their parents, " i don’t know how you ever got along with out TV". but think about ancient peoples who didn’t even have ELECTRICITY. or BOOKS. and they got along just fine. they were still able to have fun in simpler ways, and lead potentially just as enriching lives as we do. i bet their suicide rate was lower too.
so… what is constant expansion driving us to? i don’t quite know yet.
those are my thoughts. give me yours.
Our future will be sort of a mad-max one.
dj io, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better explanation of elements of technology in the future.
I think new strains of bacteria will become a major issue.
Because of all the products containing new chemicals that have been released over the past 20 years and people’s eagerness to use all of them, I think the number of cancer cases is going to skyrocket over the next 10 years, just in time to find the cure or at least ways of slowing down a few types of cancers we know about now.
I think ways of slowing down Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s will be found in about 10 years.
I think in the U.S. there will be some states that will start to require drug tests to graduate high school and to attend college.
In the U.S., I think the pendulum will swing to the left even harder than it has currently swung to the right–I believe that many socialist policies will be adopted, and in the process a civil war will happen.
I believe within 5 years we will reach peak oil–and we’ll watch gas prices quadruple and many industries get shut down.
I think global warming will not be able to be ignored in 15 years.
Scientists have booked positive results upon a certain research concerning Alzheimer. I don’t know if the same goes up for Parkingson.
Global warming is an effect that is attached to Global Dimming. (google for the last term)
The results of global warming ending abruptly (all air, sea and land traffic stops to move or steps over to hybrid fuels) may be as disastrous or worse than slowly dimmish the effect of global warming.
I bought an Atari 2600 and a Philips Videopac G7000 a few years ago. I really like the minimalistic style. Some of the best games were completely new to me. I didn’t own these consoles when I was a kid, but some friends did, so I guess there’s a nostalgic motive as well.
Dj io, just wanted to thank you for finally giving a term to what I’ve thought about so often, constant expansion. And as for reality decay, I definitely feel we’re already living it. I read one article last year where someone lent a virtual sword to someone else in a video game, and that person sold it. The individual who lent the virtual sword then proceeded to break into the guys room while he slept and stabbed him to death. And isn’t it everquest? that has been responsible for numerous suicides of people who just leave their “real” families behind. Anyway, my compliments to you on how well you phrased your thoughts, keep them coming.
yeah Sigma, I heard about that too… pretty crazy shit… there’s another one that just happened this past week I read about yesterday… these 2 people in their 20’s left their 4 month old child at home for hours while they went to an internet café to play world of warcraft, and while they were gone the baby died
i have a 1 year old son and i wouldn’t leave him alone for 2 minutes, much less 5 hours.
Don’t take kids if you’re under 30 year old and i’m serious about that.
Just enjoy your twenty+ period and settle down after you have reached 30.
well i’m 24. it was an unexpected event, but now that i’m already in it, i’m doing my best to create a good home. there are 2 perspectives on the timing that you have your kids…
1 - if you have them late, then you will be able to enjoy your 20’s and early 30 years and be wild & crazy and explore the world or whatever.
the downside: when your kids are finally raised, you will be in your mid-late 50’s and you might not be able to have very much fun anymore
2 - if you have them early, like in your early 20s, you will only be in your early 40’s when you’re done raising the kids… which means, sure you loose your freedom in your 20s, but then after that it’s parttyyy time !! woohoo! plus maybe when i’m 42 i will still wanna have a good time but know better what i want than i do right now.