Homo sapiens is a strange species – a marvelous creature with extraordinary cognitive faculties. With these capacities humankind has conquered even most dangerous animal to pieces of lands that were unapproachable once. If we look back at available literature, we can read about future predicted for current society centuries ago. Some of these books –works of literature including novels, short stories, and poems had clearly included current technological advancements, changes in human behavior and unnatural social environment. At the time when these books were published, their settings and themes were considered fictitious and even paranoid. But now, they have become realities. For reference, take a look at the following five works of literature:
Marinettes,Inc – Artificial Sexual Life
Are you aware of Japan’s aversion to sex? It is estimated that over 60 percent of unmarried men and about 48 percent of women have never dated, neither have any interest in physical intimacy. Experts call this phenomenon “herbivore” in which asexual people give up and show disinterest in sex. But this is not because the population has actually lost interest in sex. The private lives of people have become eerily satisfactory with artificial means of imitating sexual pleasure. Pillows with pictures of girls on them are part of their lives. Here comes a short-story “Marionettes, Inc” written by Ray Bradbury in 1949 as part of his collection of short stories The Illustrated Man. The story talks about men who reaches a saturation point in their marital life that they face hard time putting up with their overwhelmingly affectionate wives. They buy look-alike robots to stand in their place. The wives find the robots more satisfactory than real ones. The story ends with a scene in which real husband is stuffed into a crate while robots is preferred on his place.
The Machine Stops – Dependence on and Involvement with Machines
Author of the novel, E.M. Forster had depicted the future of human interaction and changed methods of social involvements in 1909. He had described a society where people spent their time indoors with their machines and face-to-face conversation is completely lost. People could send short, pithy messages to thousands of friends whom they haven’t met in person ever. People “like” things similar to what they do on Facebook nowadays. It provided them escape from complex and traumatizing emotional impacts due to stress in real life. The new mediums of communication (currently social media) were shown as means of distraction. People don’t like going outside. Indeed, in America, only a couple of percent population actually takes on natural outdoor activities.
The Brain Center – Replacement of Human Employees with Robots
We know that currently, experts have estimated that by the end of next 20 years, robotic employees would replace 50 percent human workers in factories, offices, restaurants, airports etc. Well, that’s what a 1964 novel had summarized. Rod Serling, the author of Twilight Zone series, in one of the episodes “The Brain Center at Whipple’s” showed the protagonist who fires his employees to replace them with robots. Eventually, he meets the same fate and is replaced by a robot. It was a disheartening scene that is gradually becoming reality. Computer coding has made it possible to create perfect employees with no error in judgment.
The Sheep Look Up – Environmental Disaster
Written by British author John Brunner, the book was published in year 1972. The dystopian setting of the novel predicted alarming deterioration of the environment in the United States. It is set in a world covered in dense smog, people wearing masks to escape toxics floating in air, rich drinking only filtered water while poor risked their lives by using tap water. The soil and water destroyed by chemical contamination. This has become reality in China. In Beijing people wear mask and drink purchased water as safety measure. There are lakes and water-bodies that are turned into eerily places due to chemical contamination.
Fhrenheit 451 – Reality TV Obsession
Written by Ray Bradbury, this dystopian novel was published in 1953 had predicted a future where human kind is more obsessed with reality TV characters and even ignored their own family by putting audible seashells in ears. The books are outlawed and were burnt to prevent formation of ideas in the minds of people. In the world it predicted, people had more knowledge about TV characters than those of their own family. Now, the audible seashells are played by earphones/ earbuds to disconnect from external world. The obsession about reality TV is clearly visible.