Warnings From The Future

Sci-Fi flicks have always involved some dark, twisted utopian vision of the future. Yeah, you have the flying cars, the laser guns, robots and the like. But the future that is envisioned  often features some totalitarian state that governs the people, some macabre unfeeling computer/database that runs the System, an Artificial Intelligence construct controlling civilisation. People are retina scanned and tracked (a la Minority Report); their complete biometric data is stored in databases and perused and controlled by machines, or an elite governing body. Doors, vehicles, weapons, computers all work at the touch of a fingerprint or the scan of a retina for convenience. The futuristic vision of Sci-Fi films is not so far off, with the rate technology is advancing. But how personal is our genetic makeup? How public do we want our DNA records/iris makeup/fingerprint patterns to be?

You see, for me the Science Fiction futuristic cities and societies were always seen as something dangerous, something cold and unfeeling. In the films, people had traded in their personal data and genetic makeup to the higher powers, and the System as it were is always run by some macabre governing body (e.g Equilibrium, 1984- not sci-fi as such but Orwell’s vision of the future, hauntingly accurate) in conjunction with a state-of-the-art AI System (e.g The Matrix, Surrogates etc, etc.)… In the films, the vision of utopia and advancement is seen as beneficial, everyone is “happier” and tasks are much simpler. And yet, the protagonist of the film, the hero of the hour is often the only one to notice how bad things have truly gotten, who sees beyond the facade and notices that something is not right, and that the totalitarian governing body (be it a human gvt. or AI system) is inherently evil, or at least cold and unfeeling enough not to have emotion. In essence, human emotion is usually eroded away in these Sci-Fi film portrayals.. People become much like the very robots that “serve” them, or is it control them?  Continue reading

War and Peace

This is a poem that I wrote a few months ago. I was inspired by a conversation that I had with a close friend on the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the conflicts throughout the world that are still ongoing today. Many of the conflicts are being fought by new generations of soldiers or “freedom fighters”, some barely more than children who inherit the history and the battles from their fathers, grandfathers or even ancestors. In this decade of warfare and violence, it appears as if there is no foreseeable end in sight; the wars are self-perpetuating, the new generations inherit the anger and the vengeance from the past and continue the fight. During the conversation, we discussed how warfare has changed from battles on horseback or on foot, using weapons such as swords which harm only the users. Throughout the course of history, weaponry has evolved to cause more damage and destruction, to the point where today we use missiles and bombs, tanks and fighters, which level cities and kill thousands of civilians. Now, warfare takes the lives of those not present on the battlefield, those who never asked for the violence. Where once battle was honourable and took trained knights or soldiers, now war is as simple as designating specific co-ordinates and launching a missile from the control room. Obviously this is just a part of warfare but serves to illustrate how battles have “evolved”, and how if we do not consciously stop the warfare, then it will continue to perpetuate with each new generation inheriting the history of violence, with no end in sight.

I don’t know the end, or how it began,
or the men that were slain, or the songs that they sang,
but I know that the battles continue this day,
for the violence remains, it is here to stay.

Fighting for freedom, for love and for peace
they clashed swords with Fate and let Death take his prizes
For out of the carnage and blood nothing rises
Save evil and sin, Destiny’s twin, blackened and twisted it rises within Continue reading