Cool Futurism: We’re The Foundation, and Not In The Asimov Way

Such was the delusion. We wouldn’t have to do any actual work to get rid of all those terrible problems that didn’t actually have technological solutions, like class warfare (or actual warfare). All we had to do was wait for the tech to evolve to the point where those problems would wither away, where money and jobs (at least, as we currently understood them) would become irrelevancies.

In response to my analysis of the Omni Cool Futurism and how disunity set in in social trends, Serdar noted one of the big flaws that occurred was that we relied on technology to solve problems. The problems that we needed to solve in many cases were the problems of US.

Now Serdar notes that he thinks 9/11 more finished demolishing the sense of a bright high-tech future that had been slowly eroding. I’m not sure that’s the case as I felt it was more a catalyst/opportunity for some of the forces and trends out there to be unleashed. That may be something to address further down the road (or specifically). The demolishing of the idea of a bright future was one, in short, that I think benefited some people not in a conspiracy sense, but more in that pressing their own advantage harmed us.

However, he hits on the simple point that we thought technology would solve our problems and it didn’t because sometimes, we’re the problem.

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The Loss of Cool Futurism: Disunity

Serdar and I were recently’ discussing the revival/return of Omni magazine. If you’re not familiar with Omni then you’re . . . probably younger than I am.  So stop playing your music so loud and get off my lawn.

Anyway, Omni was one of those publications that had a theme of what I call “cool futurism”, of the amazing stuff we’d see, of soaring cities and great technology and a better world. It was hip and happening and often positive. Cool futurism is the kind of thing you see in Star Trek TOS, in speculations on future architecture, on imagining how we’ll solve disease or poverty – not naive, but, well, “Cool”.

It’s cool to make things better. Cool to imagine awesome things we can make.

It just doesn’t seem to be that popular anymore in America. So I began asking what happened, and you’ll be utterly shocked to hear there’s a blog post about it to follow. Probably several.

First of all, I think Cool Futurism is gone because there’s no sense of unity or potential unity.

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So What’s Next For Apple?

We here at the fan-to-pro group have a mailing list we discuss things on, including tweets, news, etc.  This came partially from my discussion on what’s next for Apple.

And namely, I’m not entirely sure – because it’s hard to know where anything goes next.

Look, Apple was successful.  They defined markets and products.  They defined designs.  They’re being imitated.  They’ve done well – but as we all know, there’s always the question of “what’s next” which is kind of hard when you’ve come as far as they have.

Except I think the question applies to a lot of technology companies.

Where does anyone go from here?

  • The norm is portable phones that are small computers.
  • The norm is tablets that are flat slates of computing power.
  • The norm is slick and powerful laptops.
  • The norm is portable music, portable books, portable video – portable everything.

So we’ve all got a lot of powerful stuff that does all sorts of things out of SF films and technophilic fantasies.  Hell, I’ll say we’re further along technically than I’d ever dreamed 10 years ago.  The problem is I’m not sure what’s next for any company.

Television?  Gaming consoles?  Being subsumed into other devices.  Social media is established.  Until we start implanting things it seems we’ve hit a great pinnacle of This Stuff Is Awesome.

So what’s next for Apple?  Hell, what’s next for any technology company?

For those of us who can figure it out it’s a fantastic career advantage, or a chance to even found a business.  It’s just we won’t always know when we’re right until it’s too late . . .

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, nerd and geek culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at