The technical developments of the last decades have wiped away the boundaries between reality and fiction and with it the concept of certainties. Distorted realities go so far that the advertising industry even uses my family as advertising space. But how did it come about?
If there are two constants in human history it is a) war and b) people’s inability to recognize historical disruptions as such. We ignore most revolutions because they come creeping up. Only in retrospect does the historical reveal itself in the everyday. And yes, the year 2042 we are in is also an amazing time, but more on that in a moment.
Future theme week at GIGA
Yes, this is a post about the year 2042. No, you haven’t made a journey through time. This contribution belongs to the theme week “The Future in 2042” on GIGA, in which we will turn our millennium by 21 years and show you what the tech and gaming world could look like in 2042.
You can find all contributions from this topic week in our special on the year 2042.
Revolutions are (almost) invisible
My grandfather often told me about how the semiconductor revolution in the 1980s and 1990s seemed almost natural. Bigger TVs, prettier video games, electronic music production gradually became a matter of course. How much all of this changes our lives, indeed our planet, only gradually dawned on us.
The same is true of the information revolution brought about by the Internet in the 2000s and the communications revolution brought about by smartphones in the 2010s. They structured world knowledge and made goods immediately available. Nevertheless, we still made a distinction at that time between a digital sphere and “real life” – a folk term that seems absurd today.
In the twenties of our century there was still a contrast between natural, human thinking and artificial intelligence. Today, in times of brain interfaces, zero-gap communication and advanced robotics, this seems pie-in-the-sky and reactionary to us.
Changed rules of the game
It was primarily two innovations that catapulted us into this new world: the breakthroughs in machine learning in the 2020s and in the development of affordable quantum computers in the 2030s.
If you previously thought that basically everything you see is true, as long as the opposite has not been proven, we will know better after the east-west bloc crisis of 2029 at the latest. The then declaration of war by one leader on another was not made until months later than elaborately fabricated video message out. Nowadays anyone can create such videos in seconds – by voice command.
Encryption and digital verification no longer protect, since quantum computers themselves crack state-of-the-art cryptographic procedures in seconds. In the meantime, a whole new industry has emerged from this, which, for example, implants deceptively real advertising messages in free communication services.
For example, my daughter recently recommended in a VR message that I should buy a new car. My VR mail provider’s algorithm added that I did take a look at the new Tesla Model Z3 Ultimate should. In the message, these words came from my daughter’s mouth, but in reality she had never recommended a specific product. Today it seems normal to us, a few years ago we would never have touched a messenger with such a function.
Zeitgeist when in doubt
Technical developments like this gave rise to a new basic social attitude: We no longer believe anything. Not even when we see it with our own eyes. Is it good? Yes. Is it bad? Also yes. Because we are more and more alienated from reality, our senses, even from our neighbors. Can I still trust my own daughter’s VR video message?when I know that it has passed tens of nodes on the Internet that someone could have tampered with?
We are interwoven, yet far apart, nihilistic world community become. I can convey information to each of the 9.4 billion people on this planet within a second, convey my views and emotions – but nobody will believe me.
Loss of closeness
And that brings us to the core problem of our time. Without trust there can be no closeness and without closeness there can be no trust. A disastrous vicious circlebecause people’s emotional maturity depends directly on how they experienced closeness and trust as adolescents. Are we breeding a generation of emotionally cold people who are guided more by instincts and compulsions for self-optimization than the will to bond and closeness?
As an optimist, I rely on the self-healing powers of humanity. Almost every move in the wrong direction has resulted in a countermovement throughout history. The best example is climate change and the development of renewable energies and private energy autonomy.
A winking look at the latest news in 2042:
Society at a crossroads
What will lead us out of this crisis of confidence? Well, that is difficult to assess, perhaps the resignation in our society has to progress so far that it makes us aware of what we have lost. Maybe holds the arrival of mechanical beings Hope that resembles you and me as part of our society, which through its advanced cognition and its own communication protocols are able to better differentiate between truths and presumptions of reality. But maybe it is also a return to a pre-digital, yes, pre-industrial life.
Developments in both directions can already be seen: the former with machines that combine a synthesis of human-like thinking, experience and feeling with the expanded possibilities of the digital. These Human-machine hybrids appear as natural as you and meAt the same time, they are emotionally so highly developed that they not only have their own needs, but also satisfy them as acting subjects. In short: machines will soon see themselves as part of our society, no longer as servants of humanity.
The other direction represents the neohippie movementwho consciously opts for a life apart from technology and is mostly decried as a cult or even sect in the media. Whether the NHs really represent a corrosive threat to progress or whether they were the first group of this age to recognize the great dilemma and to draw the right conclusions from it, I cannot and will not discuss here. Only express the hope that there will not one day be a major conflict between technology optimists and doubters. Because ideological explosive power is always present here.