It can be an interesting and even fun exercise to think and speculate on what is still to come. People have been doing so for decades and even centuries in terms of the various technological advancements and some how culture evolution is still at the forefront, but for completely different reasons.

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Predicting Jetpacks, flying cars, elevators to the moon and the like. All very hopeful and mostly positive. Not least because, as legendary speculative fiction author Harlan Ellison once pointed out, it assumes that there will still be humans in the future.

Culture evolution intertwined with tech

culture evolution

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The hands on the Doomsday Clock are still moving forward. Take heed humanity, take heed. And a lot of people are. It was not that long ago, around about the late 1960s, that people began to think hard, and on a mass scale, about ‘future generations’ and even ‘future societies’ and what they might think about what is going in the present moment.

We can get a good idea of this by examining how we view people and society even fifty years ago. Given the history of social evolution and our track record so far, the odds of people looking kindly on us in 100 years time are distinctly slim.  (Also look at:Evolution of humans: How weird are we going to look in the future? )

Once this has been accepted, it then begs the even more fundamental question as to what part of our current society, through the ongoing process of cultural evolution, will future generations find the most revolting.

Culture evolution left field

culture evolution

There have been many people making many speculations on this question in recent years, as things on the cultural front have only continued to get worse. Some very interesting and plausible notions have been put forward, though most of them are based on the notion of human advancement.

Just like those authors of the mid-20th century, going on about pet robots and moon colonies. Taking a bit of an outside approach and looking at things as they are rather than reflecting back from the perspective of how they might one day be. It may seem odd to say in this context, but it is my belief that it is an aspect of our present day technology that those in the future will find to be most distasteful.

Is tech the real culprit?

nanotechnology

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Culture evolution is firmly intertwined with the phenomena that is social media. In particular the ‘Twitter Hate Mob’, using what should be an amazing communication tool brining people together, as a weapon to destroy reputations and even lives, seemingly on a whim. This is basically what happened in the case of Justine Sacco.

A PR worker who, while waiting for a connector flight to South Africa, Tweeted a misguided but heart-felt, ironic jab about AIDS in Africa that actually made fun of her own Western, white privilege.

It got out into the wider ‘Twittervese’ unleashing a fire-storm that would have made the clamoring crowds at a 18th century town square execution tell the posters of the vitriol to lighten up. While all social media platforms have both their positive and negative aspects, which mostly depends on how it is used, Twitter seem to have increased the capacity nastiness.

The written word has long been acknowledged as the worst medium for conveying emotion and nuance. This includes novels and political reports that have thousands and upon thousands of words to make the author’s meaning clear.

The combination of anonymity, limit of 120 characters and instant posting ability allowed by Twitter added to the amplified, hair-trigger emotions associated with the Snowflake Generation is a recipe for disaster and massive tragedy waiting to happen.

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Trevor McNeil spent much of his childhood playing video-games on early-form personal computers back when the disks were literally floppy. He attended the University of Victoria, completing a degree in Social Science with a concentration in Technology In Society, while also writing for the campus newspaper. He has written articles for such diverse publications as Humanity Death Watch, PopMatters and Perfect Sound Forever. He is a veteran of numerous “watershed moments” in the history of technological development and firmly believes that Han shot first.