Oct. 13th, 2035.
The little television fits in the palm of my hand. I see my sister on a clear LCD screen and wave to her. She waves back and we start talking about music, movies, Alan Rickman, all the usual things. Her voice projects clearly from the handheld TV and is free from static despite the long distance (she in California, I in Maryland). For a moment I remember using cell phones and constantly having to move around to get a decent signal. And going into the country? Always lost reception. Now I can easily communicate with my sister from across the country.
My parents, though limited in their technological knowledge, are adjusting well to newfound communication devices. They’ve come a long way.
My father has always read the paper in the morning before going to work. He also has terrible eyesight. Luckily, his e-newspaper can adjust font size and page size according to his eyes. It recognizes his fingerprint and retina and brings up his paper every morning when he wants it.
The car does the same thing. My father has tremendous difficulty driving at night, so the headlights automatically adjust to a higher setting (though not high-beam setting so as to blind other drivers), as does the rearview mirror. The mirror acts similarly to the e-newspaper by adjusting to his eyes. The music is played using a screen on the dashboard that contains his entire music library, which he never fails to play extra loudly.
My mother has come a long way with computers, and now her laptop seems to love her back. It remembers the lesson plans she works on and brings them up for her automatically without having to search through her recent documents. She frequently sends my siblings and me pictures of the cats on both her laptop and her phone, which operates more like a telepathic friend than anything; it recognizes her fingerprint and automatically adjusts the voice and volume settings according to what she prefers.
My mother’s car also caters to her unique preferences. For instance, whenever Warren Zevon or Melissa Etheridge comes on the radio, it recognizes that she plays the CDs on her own in the car and automatically makes a note of the song and the station when one of her favorites plays.
Oct. 13th, 2035.
The president was on the news today. He warned the nation about hackers and scams. “These are people, groups of people, corporations that seek to destroy all a manner of what makes communication a progressive activity. These are people that care only for money, their own interests and the completely underhanded manipulation and monopolization of modern technology.”
Manipulation and monopolization certainly seem to be the case these days. The worry used to be about big time corporations like Disney and News Corp owning everything in their industry. Now they’ve turned into frail infrastructures that are slowly crumbling in the face of non-centralized hacker companies.
At first it was just individuals fighting corporate America and standing up to “the man”. There were some people who knew how to hack into a system and change it to fit a different cause. Then they formed small groups, calling themselves anarchists and liberators. They feel that they are the only ones who can save a population “drowning in corporate corruption”. They leave messages in the system mainframes they hack: “We must be liberated from the chains of government greed.”
The groups became companies, and now even the government is struggling against them. Hacker companies have installed their own deceptive technology to stand against the government’s deceptive technology; they created wire taps and listen in on people they think are involved in the government. They hack into their home computers, their laptops, even their phones, harassing and threatening them. Calling them “servants of pigs”. It’s become a national issue. Everyone is afraid to have anything to do with the government for fear hackers will destroy them, and everyone is afraid to have anything to do with hackers for fear that the government will throw them in jail.
It’s become a turf war between the government and the hackers. And we are paying the price.
As for my own life in 2035, I would hope communication technology would be such that I could communicate with people I care about in a way that is non-expensive and non-harmful to the environment. I’m a writer, so I would probably still be using a laptop with good old Microsoft Word or some such thing. Maybe even a vintage “notepad” program just for kicks. I would love to be able to read the news on the internet as I do now or on some sort of e-reader. Music is a very important part of my life, so I would require some sort of music player, mp3, Ipod, what have you. Perhaps it could have an endless battery or an unlimited amount of memory. That would be most excellent.
The field of mass communication would change dramatically in terms of presentation, but not in content. There would still be news, music, film, journalism, everything; the change would be in how everything is presented. Rather than being printed on paper, news would be online or on e-readers. The field of journalism would become ultimately digital. CDs and DVDs would become more or less obsolete, though such 90s technology makes me fondly nostalgic. Movies would become available, like much of them are today, online and on phones. Everything would be digital and more compact than before, and maybe, if we’re lucky, it’ll all be shiny. Very, very shiny.