Monday, January 14, 2008
John Harris notes pop culture's curious retro air. Technology which should be propelling us into the future is, in fact, bearing us back into the past. Harris says - I think correctly - that old technology limited our capacity to wallow in nostalgia, new technology makes everything available all the time. Faced with this landscape of infinite choice, we curl up with the old and familiar, fearful of the new and strange. Meanwhile, the CES in Las Vegas and Macworld in San Francisco are desperately selling us the future. The imagery surrounding these vast promotions is always forward and outward. But we prefer to use the technology to make it easier to be at home with our selves and our memories. We even use it to pretend to be going to the gym. We don't seem to be good enough for the future. I felt this while partying at the tip of the Gherkin, a monument to our future selves. Transhumanism makes explicit the technnocracy's implicit impatience with our mere humanity. We can engineer our own salvation, say the transhumanists. But, of course, like Gatsby, we can't.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:29 am