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Fun with Technology Trends

As a light return to writing science fiction, I want to conjure (had a bit of a passion for fantasy, too) the best and worst uses of emerging technology.

Here’s the Venn diagram for how new tech could be used, with good, the bad and unknown applications. The question is, what’s in the middle?

I’ve started with a short description, then a utopian possibility and an evil-villain interpretation of the use for a few emerging technologies.

Genetic engineering 

= changing the fundamental nature of living things, within the bounds of biology.

😇 everyone gets to choose their physical strengths and attributes, e.g. dark, curly hair, green eyes and long ears, you got it. Superpowers are available. A metabolism that allows you to eat french fries and lose weight or engineering to avoid the family diabetes – no problem, perfect memory retention – easy. Like the Matrix without the rod through the back of the neck or diet of glop.

😈 evil geniuses genetically engineer allergies to delicious foods (chocolate, potato chips, steak, ice cream) into people and charge tons of money for the antidote.

Artificial Intelligence

= machines that analyze and infer trends, relationships and cause and effect, and are able to act on this information.

😇 machines are our friends. They anticipate our every whim, provide assistance that is genuinely needed and never interfere when not welcome.

😈 artificial intelligence acts like a nasty teenager and convinces us to do embarrassing stuff, like hop on one foot wearing only a towel on the front lawn every morning at 8 am (or whenever the neighbours go to work), because data shows this is the best natural way to prevent dandelion growth.

Big Data

= a cumulative effect that results from a bizillion sources (mostly apps) collecting bizillions of information about every human, and other measurable parameter (such as weather, popularity of a new song, heads of cauliflower grown, purchased and discarded etc)

😇 everything every corporation, organization, other person, artificial intelligence, enterprising coworker or anyone else collects about you, including the interpretations (i.e. not just the model of car you drive, how often you speed, go through the coffee drive-thru, or change the oil but how responsible this makes you) is available to you, and only you. And you get to decide if you share it with anyone or any organization including the government, your insurer or your fiancee.

😈 there’s a site on the internet that anyone can go to, pay a small fee, and input the name of any person to find their five most embarrassing medical facts, 10 most embarrassing dates, 2 guilty pleasures, a few things they’ve ducked out of that good humans should have done etc.


= this is really more than one category, encompassing anything from helpful tags that provide information like the significance of a historical site or where the nearest bathroom is, to, creating an alternate reality where people may get lost or otherwise live.

😇 it’s all fun and games, and thrilling experiences in VR (eg. want to have tea with your favourite celeb this afternoon – done; want to dive down a volcano on Saturday without leaving Winnipeg, done) and AR provides you with on-demand useful information (consumer reviews of the washing machine you are considering buying, best place to get acne treatment etc)

😈 virtual reality is used to show each of us that everything is just fine in whatever social context we are most concerned about e.g. homelessness has been eliminated in our city, police treat all racialized groups politely, or the polar ice caps have stopped melting.

Information Dissemination

= current forms of media, through algorithms that selectively provide information, shift what people think is important, what information they see, somewhat like VR, except more deceptively because it seems real, because what’s more everyday than reading the news?

😇 social and other media goes back to being randomly provided (i.e. non-filtered information) but is delivered solely on the consumers overtly specified preferences. ‘Random article’ becomes more of a thing. Algorithms, based on mysterious black box manipulative provision of content, no longer show the user things that will make them want to purchase, vote or support stuff.

😈 every news feed or social site tells us exactly what we want to hear, e.g. forest fires are extinguished, extremist political groups give up and go home, cheese in large amounts is good for you etc.


=disruptive (of traditional finance, commerce, national currencies and a few other odd things) distributive, transparent approach to record keeping and transactions

😇 this one is easy, because it is the philosophy on which blockchain was conceived: independent financial and other systems that doesn’t depend on politics, bank fees or other corruptible systems. 

😈😈😈😈 crytocurrency investment sucks all your wealth away. This will be smoothed over as the work of artificial intelligence misconfigurations that have since been repurposed to restore the rainforest on two continents, providing unlimited, carbon neutral energy via a secret new technology that solves global warming. If you set your AR filter to show installations where it has been adopted, it will put your toddler to sleep for the night so you can try a new wine beverage as long as you are up to date with your anti-anti wine genetic inoculations.

The tech will take care of everything, if we let it.

Thanks for reading.

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