Your first dose of tomorrow


    ‘What else do you want? Asteroid mining? Moon bases? Lab-grown chicken nuggets? Light-sabers? Chekhov’s gun?’

    IN the year 2020, a large percentage of the world was controlled by corporations, notably Zhang Li’s dataDyne and the Institute of Daniel Carrington. True in the Perfect Dark series by Rare and Xbox Game Studios. But in the real world of ersatz communist parties and QAnon, Conversant Wireless Licensing S.A.R.L, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., and ZTE Corporation have been battling over patents.


    In another version of the year 2020, the Rev-9 is sent back (from its original time of 2042) to Mexico City to murder Dani Ramos. [Terminator: Dark Fate] But in the real world of ISIL-ISIS (Daesh) and jihadists, an arms race animates governments, profiteers and political parties to create legions of Terminators.


    In fact, the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots (a global civil society coalition coordinated by Human Rights Watch) is calling for the negotiation of a legally binding instrument to prohibit or restrict lethal autonomous weapons systems.


    In the 2020 of Roujin Z, the Ministry of Public Welfare directed scientists and hospital administrators to develop the Z-001 robotic hospital bed for patients in Japan. The “bed” takes charge of the food, medicine, hygiene, and exercise needs of its resident-patient, although it was really an experimental weapons-grade government robot. Intriguingly, in the pandemic year of 2020 (failure of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to fully and effectively coordinate the global response to SARS-CoV-2 from its first reported appearance in Chinese Wuhan), there exists a system for bedside assistance that integrates a robotic bed and a mobile manipulator.


    You can also buy a “Resyone Plus” Robotic Care Bed/Wheelchair.

    [] Or: [This is “RIBA-II,” a robot designed to help with the tough task of lifting patients from their futon mattress into a wheelchair.]

    These three scenarios of science fiction of the past pockmarked the actual 2020 A.D.

    Earthlings simply neglected to afford them more of a notice given the horrendous impact of COVID-19 in the last 10 months. Thus, for the first seven days of the new year of 2021, such headlines: “Beijing desperate to avoid blame for a virus that has killed more than 1.8 million people worldwide”


    “225 employees at Google and its parent company Alphabet are the first dues-paying members of the Alphabet Workers Union”


    “Drugmakers are also fighting new drug price-cutting rules from the Trump administration”


    “Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard seized the MT Hankuk Chemi”


    “Pompeo says jailing of activists shows China ‘fragile dictatorship’”


    Compare those actual news reports to this literary gem: “Early this morning, 01 January 2021, three minutes after midnight, the last human being to be born on earth was killed in a pub brawl in a suburb of Buenos Aires, aged 25 years, two months and 12 days.” Comes from the “journal of Theodore Faron, Doctor of Philosophy, Fellow of Merton College in the University of Oxford, historian of the Victorian age, divorced, childless, solitary, whose only claim to notice is that he is cousin to Xan Lyppiatt, the dictator and Warden of England.”

    Yes, from the first part of P.D. James’ “The Children of Men” — a speculative dystopia where the old are despairing and the young are cruel due to Xan Lyppiat’s despotism and where the human species faces extinction caused by a feminist civil war as well as sperm counts of human males zeroing out. It is also a world of Sojourners, overseas workers exploited and oppressed, hired as domestic help.

    How different from our present 2021, a dystopia of Han chauvinism and assorted imperialisms? In our timeline, more than 300,000 Filipinos have been repatriated from countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic last year, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs. Meanwhile, the NBI, on the order of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, is investigating the smuggling of the vaccines.


    Or do you prefer the 2021 of Johnny Mnemonic (by William Gibson) where stored data are fed in through a modified series of micro-surgical contra-autism prostheses, the client’s code is stored in a special chip? Perhaps a trip to the past is in your cards.

    How far are we from 1921? New Year’s Day 100 years ago, the Senate President of the Philippines: “I say to every American or Filipino who opposes Philippine independence, you, and not me, are the one who is disloyal to the United States.”


    A decade later, Pedro Colosa and Cesare Abe would lead an uprising in Tayug in Pangasinan.


    “Peacetime,” was it? “The problem of tenancy was questioned, criticized and acted upon by the government, forced into action by a united and very angry union of farmers. There were instances of armed uprisings. Tayug of Pangasinan was one (1931), led by Pedro Colosa who organized a Katipunan-like group.”


    Peace in our future? Yes, “Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will.” Yes, it is still the time of hegemonism, stupid bureaucrats and narcissists. It is also the world of Fortnite, Byju, Koolearn, Prosus, Electronic Arts, Discord, and Netflix, among others. Coming soon: flying cars.


    What else do you want? Asteroid mining? Moon bases? Lab-grown chicken nuggets? Light-sabers? Chekhov’s gun?


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