There’s nothing more bewilderingly mind-numbing than watching a science-fiction movie franchise get butchered and killed then brought to life again, re-butchered and murdered once again. It’s sad in a way because I really love this time-bending, robot monster, chase story. The potential, even without branching away from the hunter and the hunted plot device, is endless. Bewildered? With all this goodwill and talent, and money involved, how the hell could they get it so wrong? This is a major iconic brand. “The Terminator” is embedded in the brains of at least two or three generations of consumers. There is no shortage of creative talent nor money that prevent this story from working its magic, yet the IP owners have achieved nothing else but toss stools of shit at audiences across the globe. Sure, the movie industry wins, artists, technicians and executives got jobs, and the marketing machine scored, but tossing shit at the audience’s faces was still the end result.
Now the next time Skynet returns to threaten our future chances are audiences will be a little suspect before handing over money, or even waste time and bandwidth to illegally download it. Skynet will hopefully learn from past mistakes and deliver the killer blow they’ve been trying to throw since it first hatched up the plan to go back in time and kill John Conner.
Scientists are anxious these days about the advent of artificial intelligence. They all seem to infer that as soon as one such cyber entity awakens, it’ll deem humanity evolutionary and intellectually inferior and will plot to exterminate its creator.
With the advent of new oral technologies, the ability to communicate and access information has become more convenient and intuitive. Speech recognition software, virtual assistants, and voice-controlled devices have made it easier for individuals to interact with technology using spoken commands. As these technologies become increasingly affordable and integrated into everyday life, there is a likelihood that reading and writing skills will become less necessary for basic communication and information retrieval.
The increasing accessibility of oral technology may lead to a decline in literacy rates. As more individuals rely on spoken communication and voice-based interfaces, the motivation and necessity to acquire strong reading and writing skills may diminish. This could result in reduced emphasis on literacy education, leading to a decline in the overall literacy levels within the population. Such a decline could have significant consequences for individual opportunities, economic productivity, and the ability to engage critically with written information.
Another contributing factor to the potential decline in literacy rates is the escalating cost of education. Higher education and even basic literacy programs have become increasingly unaffordable for many individuals, particularly in marginalized communities. The prohibitive costs restrict access to quality education, perpetuating educational inequalities and limiting opportunities for individuals to develop essential literacy skills. Consequently, those who are unable to afford education may become more reliant on oral technology, further marginalizing the importance of reading and writing.
If literacy rates decline significantly, it is possible that language could evolve and revert to a state reminiscent of ancient times. Millennia ago, societies relied heavily on oral traditions and verbal communication for transmitting knowledge and preserving cultural heritage. With the increasing prominence of oral technology, written language may become less prevalent, and the emphasis on spoken communication may rise. This could lead to shifts in linguistic structures, vocabulary, and the use of non-verbal communication, as society adapts to a new norm that prioritizes oral forms of information exchange.
While the proliferation of oral technologies has undoubtedly transformed communication and information access, concerns regarding declining literacy rates and language evolution are valid. It is essential to strike a balance between embracing technological advancements and preserving the crucial skills associated with reading and writing. Maintaining robust literacy education programs and making education more affordable and accessible will be pivotal in mitigating the potential negative consequences. By ensuring that individuals are equipped with strong literacy skills alongside oral technological literacy, society can navigate the evolving landscape and foster a future that values both oral and written forms of communication.
The genesis of this project began way back in 2004. Working as a corporate audio visual technician, sitting through endless conferences and business meetings, I posed the question; what if some of these corporate cats around me, who behaved almost like scheming gangsters and money pirates, were indeed genuine gangsters and pirates. How would they fare in this corporate environment? What economic conditions would spawn such a corporate breed?
I wrote a draft script for a short film. Then made the mistake of fleshing it out into feature film. I don’t know how but somehow the story took a life of its own. Soon, I realised a screenplay was not going to be enough. It could never be made and would therefore never find an audience. So I decided to unshackle the story from the constraints of a screenplay and found myself on a long odyssey trying to complete a novel.
This book was written on notepads, scraps of paper, on the back of receipts, on desktops, laptops, numerous smartphones, Nokia phones, iPhones, stored on hard drives, miniSD cards, in clouds. Entire technological inventions and innovations would come and go. I worked on it on trains going to work, during work, underneath the bed covers, in dreams within dreams.
In the end, after finding exciting answers to my inciting questions, and raising new questions and attempting to answer these, I believe this is a story that delves into a near future that is loathsomely familiar, unwelcome, divisive, and yet one we all know is coming.