Dreaming and imagining leads the way to our best future. But pessimism seems to be a defining feature of our generation and some may even allow the ugly possibilities of the future determine how they caution through life now. We know it is a scary word, because with the word future, comes words like ‘purpose’, ‘environment’, and ‘wellbeing’ that send us into an existential spin. So we’re here to address the elephant in the room.
You might be at University for personal development or to gain the knowledge and skills to be able to advance something or contribute to society. Or…you’re here just because it seems like the safe option, but outside of University, there is something unrecognised that is your calling. That goal for you can be intimidating but also your five year old self is looking at you in wonder and and with hope they can be like you one day. It’s time to channel that inner-child again.
Our egalitarianism (belief that people deserve equal rights/opportunities) has gotten in the way of us being able to openly express our hopes and dreams for the future. Somehow that is seen as naïve and ignorant to the struggles that people have today. But without dreaming as a society, it is hard to imagine a future to work towards.
To co-operate with the movement of time by ourselves is exhausting, frightening and taxing. Even if you own a multinational tech company that launches penises into the sky, you cannot pave the future on your own; you need a whole Amazon customer base and a bunch of labourers to help you do all the work for you. The future moves with collective force.
So this week, we invite you to pose some questions about the future. Who do you allow to be in charge of your future? How will you start to embrace ideas about the future? What kind of steps need to happen in between now and the future you imagine?
As well, the connotations of technology are inevitable. We are already merged with a digital version of ourselves; as we sit in the Craccum office hours from print deadline, our full attention is captured by our computer screens. You’ll find that some of the work in this issue is authored by artificial intelligence.
Of course, the future of technology raises scary prospects, such as conversational, autonomous AI, or at our level of ability, being able to use Excel spreadsheets. It also creates new and oftentimes controversial opportunities, such as online exams and learning.
When we think about the future, we need to think about how we will use technology to improve our lives. It has the potential to accelerate creation and innovation of ideas, but also can be destructive to productivity and wellbeing.
Anecdotally, without uncovering the research/science behind this, it is already convoluted the impacts digital technology is having on the younger generation. While it has its educational benefits at times, at others it is a black hole of binge consumption which reduces motivation and steals attention.
What is clear about modern times is that the future is abundant with opportunity. It can lead us down good paths and bad. However, ultimately the future is what we make of it.
Sometimes your contribution is planting a seed and that’s enough.
Brian Gu (he/him) & Eda Tang (she/her)
Co-editors of Craccum 2021