February 20, 2012

Future is Meaningless

I was in Vue the other night (this is a cinema chain in the UK, and probably other places) where, before the film, they give us a little advertorial trailer thing about themselves, describing their super HD screens and Dolby megablasters as 'the future of cinema'.
This got me thinking about the overuse of the word 'future' in advertising. I get it: technology has moved beyond what you're used to and is now so amazing that it feels like you're in the future. Everything you were promised is now a reality. This is the future and it's happening now. But actually, apart from being overused to the point of making it a meaningless, clich├ęd buzzword, 'future' is a strange intangible concept.

You can never have future technology. Future technology is like 'tomorrow' and even little orphan Annie knew that tomorrow was always out of reach. Sure, that's what she loved about it, but Annie feared the future. She was a realist. Anyway, you know what you can have? Present technology.

If you think about it, Present Technology is the most advanced technology you can get. Anything less is Past Technology. Think about it. Now that we have self-driving cars, people-driven cars are so totally in the past man. GOD. Self-driving cars aren't the future. They are the present. In the future, cars will drive people (after the automobile revolution of 2021).

Now, I'm not just being pedantic. It's probably a better advertising technique, too. If they say 'this phone is the Future of phones', you might think, 'well, one day I'll be able to get that phone and I'll be awesome, but I'm happy to stay in the present. If, however, they say 'this phone is the Present of phones,' you'll think , 'shit, my phone is stuck in the Past! I have to keep up!'

We live in the Present. I want to buy stuff that occupies the same temporal location as me. You have to bring the Future to me in the Present. You have to tell me that hoverphones (previously in the Future) are now available in the Present. Then I will get one.

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