Future me, Future you: A Utopic Dystopia?

He was agitated. A deep sense of apprehension brewed inside him. He quickened his pace and broke into a sweat as his pulse rate began to rise. The sweat started to drip down his forehead. It made his blue eyes glisten even more in the afternoon sun. People on the street began staring at him as he walked in a rush. Nobody in this day and age was ever in a hurry, with time hardly a concern. After all, he was merely middle-aged at 176. It should have been creepy that everyone staring at him too had blue eyes but the HERC2 gene therapy fad involved merely a switch of Adenosine to Guanine, at the 26,039,213th position on chromosome 15. Child’s play in 2269 A.D.

Even in his histrionic state, he couldn’t help but chuckle. ‘AD. Anno domini’, he thought ‘Latin for “in the year of the lord.”’ He could do with divine intervention now, but Catholicism was all but wrecked when The Big Bang was proven so much so that it replaced Vinegar Volcanos in school science projects! Suddenly the chip embedded in his forearm began to tingle; it was the call he had been dreading.

It was his colleague Sarah, he pressed down on his forearm to activate the call, and the signals went from his near-antique model Cochlear phone straight up the auditory nerve. The age of lousy voice quality and questionable connectivity was over. Today he could have used with a dropped call or two. She told him the worst, he had misguided his professional delivery cyborg and not only were the teleporters not delivered but also the android lay in a heap of metal. Billions of dollars lost. Artificial intelligence was still being undone by its natural variant! He was power walking on the 90-storey skywalk and took a fleeting glance down where the re-forestation work was going strong. ‘What a stupid species we are,’ he thought, ‘We spent decades destroying all life on earth and then a few more to build it all up from scratch.’

He was now almost in a sprint now toward the local apparition station. His Bio-skin tingled around his hamstrings warning him that the muscle tension was building and his body temperature was mimicking the summer heat outside the protective BioDome. He finally reached the terminal and went straight to the office. The journey of 8000 kilometres took only 6 seconds in this dimension, but you lost years in the others. Again, time hardly matters when you live till 400. He got to the office and saw the scraps that were previously iRobot 7. ‘This is the latest technology?’ he rued. ‘It seems as ancient as the iPhone XX.’

He had two new notifications on his Google Lens. The first was his nth reminder to get his yearly telomerase and zombie cell clearance therapy. He knew he couldn’t put it off anymore. He hailed Alexa in his thoughts and placed the order. As she usually did, she read his brain waves and placed the order followed almost instantaneously by ordering the latest Cochlear phone too. ‘Stupid EEG integration!’ he thought. As though online marketing wasn’t pervasive enough they now took orders based on his brain wave patterns! His irritation was short lived and was soon replaced with despondency. The second notification was his email of termination.

He began the journey to the apparition station, back to his home pod. That day he did something he never did before, he looked up at the sunset. The reds, oranges and yellows were as stunning and vibrant as they had been for billions of years. More notifications popped up on his Google Lens warning him about the risk of retinal damage and melanoma. He thought back to the time of his ancestors when this dystopia began. Back when technology and the ‘mobile phone’ became an addiction and wearables and IoT an obsession. If only we had drawn the line back then, he wished, back when the sunset was nothing more than an illustration of Mother Nature’s magnificence and magnanimity.

About the author – Rohan D’Souza

Disclaimer: Although this piece is fictional, it has drawn inspiration from ongoing research currently active across the world.  

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