Google’s definition: A member of Generation X (born from the early 1960s to mid 1970s), "as a Generation Xer I have come to the conclusion that the politicians have let a whole generation down".
Wikipedia’s definition: A generation whose worldview is based on change, on the need to combat corruption, dictatorships, abuse, AIDS, a generation in search of human dignity and individual freedom, the need for stability, love, tolerance, and human rights for all.
A very different label than the one we were given by Douglas Coupland in the 80’s when we were called the materialistic, slacker, disenfranchised stereotype youths of America. Not a surprising description when you think about how sensationalism sells. It amazes me that my generation was ever called materialistic, since most of us considered finding a strong wooden stick or the ownership of a rubber ball the same as kids today think about having an iPhone or iPad. Being raised by a grandmother who was a child of the Great American Depression and as a very poor latch key kid, I was one of the lucky ones who was able to surpass my economic situation and work myself out extreme poverty. An experience that makes me focus on surviving in the now, while doing my best to plan for an ever changing and economically chaotic future.
The next ten to twenty years is going to be one of amazing technological breakthroughs in new technologies and a series of terrifying social upheavals. Being raised on Star Trek, I always enjoyed the idea of this semi-perfect future of the human race, where poverty and hunger and prejudice has been wiped out of society like a disease, but from my experiences I know the world will actually look something closer to the world of Star Wars. Sadly enough, I fear that the world of Star Wars is even too nice and pretty of a future. The reality, I fear, will be much worse and something more along the lines of the movie Blade Runner / Johnny Mnemonic / Gattaca / Almost Human and the world from the MMO Anarchy Online. I’ve attached the trailers down below, just ignore the cheesy 80’s graphics and special effects on Blade Runner & Johnny Mnemonic. Oh, completely ignore the electro dolphin, because that shit just didn’t make any sense.
In many ways many of these are being seen in our current lives. Blade Runner where companies use human-like robots off earth to mine minerals in asteroids or for are sold to people for entertainment purposes. There are discussions about the use of robot control space craft and drones making more sense to send for exploration to other planets then sending humans. Not to mention the idea of AI running amok. Johnny Mnemonic, where people enhance their body functions with technology by assisting their memory, making them stronger and quicker, or improving their vision, all of which is happening now. Also, how international companies grow too large until they begin to control parts of the government, which allows them to enforce their own desired regulations that hurt the citizens. Gattaca, where companies want to know a person’s genes to help reduce cost for health insurance and as a guarantee how smart an employee is and will become. Almost Human, because the technology is right around the corner. The ideas of robots that are basically human. The technology crimes that normal people are facing. I feel like they really hit this right on the mark. Ignore the whole Buck Rodgers sealed off city thing from the mutant humans, that’s just off the wall, but everything else I would say is right on the mark. Anarchy Online, where a large international corporation nearly controls all aspects of the government and use this control to abuse their employees.
I’m not saying this small list is every good movie or MMO showing the concerns of a possible dark future for us, but this is my immediate list of futuristic films and MMO’s that depicts things we are starting to see coming to pass right now. I guys if you took a piece of each of these films and mixed them together into one world, I fear this could be the future we will find ourselves living in.
The sad part is that we are really nearing a point in human evolution and technology where hunger and poverty and discrimination could be eliminated, but unfortunately the intrinsic nature and focus of our current materialistic society cannot allow that to come about without major changes to our current societal focus. I’m not saying having cool tech and technology to improve our lives is a bad thing, but the focus on stuff at its current levels is definitely not healthy. To be honest, I would have even taken the Star Wars ideology even if that meant overcoming some terrible Empire or even working for the Empire. Think of Corran Horn in the Rogue Squadron Series http://www.amazon.com/Rogue-Squadron-Star-X-Wing-Legends-ebook/dp/B00513HXBA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1434224057&sr=1-1&keywords=x-wing+rogue+squadron I love how Michael A. Stackpole had his hero start out as working for the Empire as a TIE Fighter, before he became part of the Republic.
The sad part, one that I didn’t cover, is that in every book, movie or game that I think does a great job in predicting a very possible real future if we keep going down the road we’re headed down always has a Third World War that humanity must face before things gets better. Lately when I watch everything going on in the world today. Russia’s recent invasion of the Ukraine and their subsequent increase in troop build-up and flexing their military might around the world. China’s aggressive military and economical stance over their claims for the Senkaku Islands, their push to become the new monetary and their disregards for human rights in general. It makes me wonder how close we really are to this possible Third World War. Five years ago I would have said that such a fear was insane, but the invasion of the Ukraine with conventional forces by Russia made me say “WTF, how could something like that happen in today’s day and age.” Unfortunately you know what they say. It always gets worse before it gets better. I hope my fears of a possible World War Three is just an overreaction to the events I see happening around, but none the less I find it very much on my mind as I see the strained economic chaos happening around the world. Desperate people do desperate things in desperate times.
Anyway, I am slowly solidifying an idea of a near futuristic society for a new book series where I put all of these ideas together. It’s been churning around in the back of my mind for a while and the pressure is growing stronger and stronger to begin working on the story, but first I need to finish the four books I have planned for The Last Paladin Series.