"Social Services," a short story by Madeline Ashby

Social services By Madeline Ashby “Spirit Machine” by Daniel Martin Diaz Introduction In 2013 at Institute for the Future, the non-profit forecasting thinktank where I’m a researcher, we explored what we’re calling the Coming Age of Networked Matter. Over the next few decades, a confluence of breakthroughs in physics, engineering, biology, computation, and complexity science will… READ THE REST

I know dystopian stories are meant to inspire us to do better in the present, “1984” and all that (although that one didn’t work, apparently), but portraying the future as bleak & undesirable to live in have negative consequences, I suspect. Almost all of the best sci-fi movies portrays the future as a place most people wouldn’t want to be, which in turn makes them turn away from thinking about the wonders & challenges the future will bring. Only to embrace the technology without critical thought, when it becomes a normal part of living, a must-have. I feel that if we want everyone to realize that the future is created from the present & that what we do now, matters, we need inspiration, not depression. We need to stop thinking that radical change is only going to happen to our unborn descendants & not something we can do anything about, anyway.
There are two ways to get us off our lazy asses & do something: To scare us senseless or to dangle a carrot in front of us. I personally prefer the carrot, which is why I mainly watch sci-fi movies for the CGI & save my escapism for the books. Like the Culture series from the late, great Iain M. Banks… I guess this post might just be delayed grief at the thought that a genius have died. I remember when I first read Player of Games & for the first time in my life felt that a book gave a honest look at what the future holds (not so much the plot-line, but the idea of the Culture itself), but then I’ve always been an optimist, I guess.
Anyway, I did like the story, as well as the two others & I’m looking forward to the rest. Just remember that life is great & will most likely continue to be, if that’s what we want.

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