The two iron laws of modernity are 1) things are getting better, and 2) people think they’re getting worse. Or as the comedian Louis C.K. put it, “Everything is amazing and nobody’s happy.”
That’s what makes this essay by David Bauer such a good read. The year 2000 once seemed like a distant future point, almost an abstraction. It was also the setting for any number of high-tech science fiction fantasies. Then it came and went, and nobody thought much of it. Now, in 2013, the technology that we take for granted makes the year 2000 look downright primitive. No wi-fi, no smartphones, no social networking sites, no touchscreen tablets. As Bauer concludes his trip to the year 2000:
Here you are, back in 2013, where self-driving cars, 3D-printing, and augmented reality glasses excite people. All those things you missed while travelling back to 2000? Boring, everyday stuff we don’t even think about any longer.
Pessimistic bias wins again, unfortunately.