H.G. Wells wrote about a time machine but Aldous Huxley – author of Brave New World – may actually have had one. And used it to to travel to our now, jotted down a few notes and then returned to the early 20th century to write his chirpily depressing picture of what tomorrow will look like:
A world of endiapered adults who remain perpetual children, perpetually distracted by imbecile pursuits – because distracted imbeciles are much easier to herd than conscious, thinking adults are to bayonet-prod in the desired direction.
Well, here we are – almost.
Talking cartoon characters will be displayed inside the automated cars of the impending Future – to keep the endiapered imbeciles within droolingly quiescent and vacuously smiling as they are meatsacked to whatever destination the controllers input. Perhaps the mall.
They won’t know the difference and – far more important – won’t care. They will be entertained.
This is no kidding. It was on display at the CES Technology Trade Show in Shanghai last week. Not one but several former (or soon-to-be) car companies, which are transitioning into “mobility” companies – had kiosks and PR people on hand to show the wares.
The automated car will become a kind of Boob Toob on wheels, with “virtual reality experiences” embedded within to keep the meatsackeds’ minds off what’s happening without – and generally.
Audi is among the most urgently Brave New Worldian former car companies now peddling automated “mobility” – which it must, since it has committed to selling nothing but electric boxes differing from one another only in shell size and shell color. Add automation – the colorful box controlled by Audi/Uncle – and there’s not much to do inside the box.
Well, people might think or even read – but that could lead to trouble. They might begin to think about how they’d like to be in control of their lives.
And so, Holoride.
Which will “…allow passengers to swim with whales or through sunken ships …” echoing The Feelies Huxley wrote about in his depressingly predictive novel. The Feelies differed from movies – which had plots that had to be followed and dialogue that needed to be listened to in order to understand what was going on – with images and sensations designed to titillate and amuse in the way that a cat is amused and titillated by a ball of yarn. The difference being the yarn is real and cat is acting out normal cat behavior, i.e., it is exercising itself in a manner natural to a cat.
It is not natural for adult human beings to ignore reality in favor of a holographically created version. The enstupidation of adults via talking cartoon characters projected all around them in a VR-confected crib – not in the ebonicized ghetto sense – would be funny if this were the ‘90s and we were considering the next Adam Sandler movie.
But this is no movie.
“Once customers do not need to drive anymore,” says Audi’s senior director of China Business and Customer Experience (and perhaps future World Controller) Boris Meiners, “…then the question is what kind of things can we offer to customers inside this car.”
“We want to fulfill people’s emotional needs,” says Tetsuro Ueda of Nissan – also present at the CES China show.
Children have “emotional needs.”
It is (or was) a characteristic of adults to pay attention – not just to the road, but to reality. Children live in fantasy world of genies and talking lions at head of armies of gnomes battling evil sorcerers . . . and now adults will swim with VR whales inside their automated boob toobs.
They are also likely to be swimming with ads – product pitches custom-tailored to the already established inclinations of the data-mind meatsacks within. Why not plan an automated trip to the beach – and stay with us at Marriott – inserted (perhaps hypnopeadically woven into) the whale swimming VR “experience”?
Meiners and Ueda do not mention this but it’s a fair bet they’ve been thinking about it. Corporations are as mercenary as government; neither gives anything away for free – especially when they can force you to buy in.
As this column has made mention of previously, the in-car ad/data-mining business is projected to be the business of the car business within perhaps as few as five years – by which time a majority of cars on the road will be mining (and selling) your data and a large percent of those “suggestively selling” you things, in the loathsome lingo of pushy peddlerism.
But people’s “emotional needs” will have been met. They will be entertained as they are meatsacked to the Feelies.
Huxley’s World Controller Mustapha Mond described the “optimum population”:
It is “modeled on the iceberg . . . eight-ninths below the water line, one-ninth above it.”
And we’re almost there – or will be, soon.
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