Watching the two commercial visions of the digital future: Day Made of Glass and Productivity Future

  • Education is presented as seamlessly integrated with ecology and environmental issues, especially in the Corning film. Socialisation seems to occur effortlessly, as though magically inspired by the technologically advantaged environment – no jockeying for places around the worktable. One wonders where the disaffected kids have gone, or is disaffection cured by technological advantage?

There are no questions in the classroom, nor at the park – factual representations of science and the past are presented as artefacts – is there any room for personal interpretations or responses? Students are seen as consumers of images and manipulators of educational products but not necessarily creators who can express themselves. Technology is often shown as telling humans what to do or where to go. Even the translator specs make learning a foreign language redundant.

In these versions of the future (especially the Corning view) reality is always behind glass.

  • Communication is instantaneous, unproblematic and efficient. There is no room for incomprehension – everything is tagged and accurate – arriving in Joburg is no challenge for the woman – even the location of tomorrow’s meeting is tagged. All this, of course, presupposes a flawless and totally integrated dataset.

Everything in this future is mediated through technology.

  • I guess the challenge posed by these utopian visions is to maintain a connection with the natural and the human, allowing the flaws of reality to persist. The imagery is enticingly utopian, but one has to ask where are the impoverished and disenfranchised? Who is caring for them? Who is paying?¬†

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