Your graduate research team in Guatemala - just checking in.
April 28, 2007 11:24 AM   Subscribe

Paleo-Future: A look into the future that never was. More recent predictions include the future according to AT&T, Apple's Knowledge Navigator and Bill Gates on the Future of Police Work.
posted by phaedon (22 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yeah, I just stuck this blog in my RSS reader a week ago or so. Highly recommended, great stuff.
posted by the dief at 11:29 AM on April 28, 2007


I love this stuff!
Thanks, phaedon!
posted by Dizzy at 11:36 AM on April 28, 2007


Wonderful blog, nicely organised and great visuals.
posted by nickyskye at 11:37 AM on April 28, 2007


Nice find, cool blog, thanks!
posted by vronsky at 11:46 AM on April 28, 2007


I think what's intresting about all these corporate visions for the future is that they saw these vast networks (rather obvious) and the only thing they could imagine us doing with them was buying stuff. It really sheds a light on how corporations and a lot of people viewed society: As a undifferentiated mass of "consumers" with a single gaping maw hungry for whatever crap they could produce.
posted by delmoi at 12:02 PM on April 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


Sadly, delmoi, they were largely right.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:05 PM on April 28, 2007


Great post!

I watched the Apple one and was struck by how the protagonist seemed like a huge douchebag. This comment on the blog points to one reason why:
One of the instructors said that after the video was made, a lot of Apple folks freaked out about the human agent; they considered it taboo to order around a human, and wanted the agent changed to a talking dog.
I wonder whether it would make the guy more or less likeable to be shown bossing around a talking dog...
posted by myeviltwin at 12:09 PM on April 28, 2007


Great stuff. I've always had a real weakness for futurism, I aways seem to get taken in by the current stuff too. I remember being a kid in the seventies reading old space and laughing at the future predictions from the 30s, 40s and 50s but still getting sucked in by the same kind of articles in Popular Science and Analog.
posted by octothorpe at 12:20 PM on April 28, 2007


I think what's intresting about all these corporate visions for the future is that they saw these vast networks (rather obvious) and the only thing they could imagine us doing with them was buying stuff.

It's called business development.
posted by three blind mice at 12:29 PM on April 28, 2007


The VR segment from AT&T was a hoot. I was baffled by the game, which apparently consisted of standing perfectly still while a vampire attacks you.
posted by O9scar at 1:23 PM on April 28, 2007


I've seen this site before but I'm glad you posted it.

And yes, the future is all about buying stuff apparently, while wearing our stylish jumpsuits with matching boots.

Was just talking about futurism with a friend a few days ago, and I suddenly had the thought that the one thing the futurists/sci-fi writers never really anticipated was lolcats. Either the future was going to be so bright you gotta wear shades with your jumpsuit, or else it was endlessly bleak and grey. But they never imagined high technology and instant communication would be used to display cats with twee messages.

For that reason alone, I think we're in the best of all possible worlds.
posted by pandaharma at 1:30 PM on April 28, 2007


Wow, this is really great. Thanks!
posted by malthas at 1:54 PM on April 28, 2007


I think what's intresting about all these corporate visions for the future is that they saw these vast networks (rather obvious) and the only thing they could imagine us doing with them was buying stuff.

Their attitude toward the internet is certainly this way.

It really sheds a light on how corporations and a lot of people viewed society: As a undifferentiated mass of "consumers" with a single gaping maw hungry for whatever crap they could produce.

None of this is surprising if you've ever had an economics class or interacted with MBAs.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:38 PM on April 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


hm, for whatever reason I haven't ever seen the Knowledge Navigator thing as specifically about buying stuff. It seems to me to be more about using stuff. I still find it head-shaking to see what they got right (a big interconnected dataspace with dynamically changing datasets, video-conferencing [sorta], the laptop [sorta]) versus the stuff they got wrong (the guy doesn't take the doohickey with him when he leaves, for example, in what I take to be the wrong, wrong, WRONG iteration of computers-as-increasers-of-non-computed-leisure-time idea).

Also, every time I have watched this since finding it somewheres or other years after having seen it on someone's old Apple Developer Network (or whatever it was they called it) CDs I have been struck by two things: that Agent was either inspired by Bill Nye the Science Guy or vice versa, and second, that agent would today be portrayed by Google. How they have avoided being roped into an alliance with Jobs is surely one of the great untold stories of the Internet 2.0 era.
posted by mwhybark at 3:14 PM on April 28, 2007


One of the instructors said that after the video was made, a lot of Apple folks freaked out about the human agent; they considered it taboo to order around a human, and wanted the agent changed to a talking dog.

*ahem* They did that. It was called Cyberdog and it was actually pretty damn cool. I kind of miss it. I should pull out one of the machines that run Classic and fire it up. :) Ohhhh... and maybe see if Project X (a.k.a. HotSauce) will still even run.


How they have avoided being roped into an alliance with Jobs is surely one of the great untold stories of the Internet 2.0 era.

Ohhhh... don't count Stevie out of that yet. He knows Google is infinitely more interesting than Yahoo, which is why the maps feature of the iPhone is wrapped up with Google Maps and not Yahoo! Maps. (Although Yahoo! mail is there I see that as practically inconsequential to what the device is about.)

Re consumerism and corps: indeed, the one thing that nearly every corporation failed to anticipate was that their customers should be, would be, could be content generators and not simply "consumers" of data pushes. And frankly, when you look back at the same sort of short films from the 40s, 50s, and even 60s, you'll find that to some large degree the corporations may not have had a 100% accurate track record, but they were hitting pretty much on the mark... until the computer came along and introduced us al lto the ability to "Reply" to content we saw. To me, "reply" has more to do with the boom of the internet than anything else. It basically spurred blogging along to what it is today causing people to finally, FINALLY sit up and say "Wait a second... I'm as smart as this idiot writing this, and he get s PAID to do it. Fuck that."

I discovered Pale-Future only a few weeks ago. Don't miss the Paleofuture Google Group for further discussion.
posted by smallerdemon at 4:29 PM on April 28, 2007


s-dem--
I like your take on "reply".
Used to be radio; sat there passively.
Then talk radio; answered back, but passively absorbed content.
Then MeFi, etc, etc; actively provided own content.
What's next?
posted by Dizzy at 5:45 PM on April 28, 2007


"Hello, this is Wildfire." [/breathy]
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:03 PM on April 28, 2007


The Gernsback Continuum - William Gibson
posted by Artw at 8:12 PM on April 28, 2007


I watched the Apple one and was struck by how the protagonist seemed like a huge douchebag.

The professor's dialog in the script was incredibly stilted. It had nothing to do with the on-screen agent being a person.
posted by zippy at 10:28 PM on April 28, 2007


I love this blog. Been subscribed for awhile.
posted by Tlogmer at 11:52 PM on April 28, 2007


It seems that the problem with futurism is that people almost invariably see the future as just like the present, but more so. This could be 50s society projected onto a future where the 50s space race has been taken to the extreme, the 80s where the trend of, say, the rise of Japanese corporations dominating is pushed to the max, or the 90s internet revolution being extended to eternity, etc.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:12 AM on April 29, 2007


They forgot network delivery of Strawberries as Large as Apples.

Metafilter: a single gaping maw hungry for whatever crap
posted by eritain at 10:23 PM on April 29, 2007


« Older Outragefilter: After a photo labeled "drunken pira...  |  On Red Sox pitcher Curt Schill... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments