No Fate But What We Make – lessons from the Terminator franchise

Attention Conservation Notice: rambling rant starting with thoughts on the new Terminator tv show, and drawing on posting on Grinding so far, and the world of Doktor Sleepless.

The other night I watched the third ep of the new show Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Three eps was enough for me to see that yes, this show is devoid of anything of real interest and value. Despite it’s cinema-level FX. Even though John Connor dropped the S-word, now calling Judgment Day the Singularity. It’s just freaking boring. But, as I sit there, eyes-glazed over, yet compelled to finish watching – my mind drifts and I can think is: “what are these guys doing?”

All they’re trying to do is kill teh_future. Killing anything that looks like it might lead to the Rise of the Machines.

Killing the future that way is like trying to stop a forest fire by jumping around, stamping out the burning brush.
‘Cause you can only put out the fires you can see. It’s a futile act.

These ‘renegade time traveler dissidents’ are just so nonsensical. Even if they succeed in stopping the robot-revolution, how do they know it won’t be replaced by something worse?!
Geez – a world-wide fascist government could do just as much, if not more damage. And killing anything that looks like it could evolve into a sentient-AI won’t stop that. In fact, by focusing way too much on one future, they would more than likely miss the signs that something just as horrible is about to happen.

Now – yes, I’m putting way too much stock in a crappy television show. Subjecting it to too high a level of analysis.
But I’m about to start making my real point any second now.

Is the world of Doktor Sleepless one we actually want to strive for? Because as far as I can tell it’s a dystopia. I mean, the good Doktor sure as hell ain’t happy with it. And everyone’s screaming “Not My Future!”, “Where’s my JetPack?!”

And we all do remember that those are bad, riiight!?! ‘Cause we sure forgot with Cyberpunk. That was one giant dystopia that Sterling, Gibson et al were painting; but it was the only compelling vision of the future we had. So we went right ahead and made it.

Worked out pretty good so far. Ahem.

The town of Heavenside shows us an exaggerated vision of today (Warren’s said he’s extrapolating from bleeding edge of tech today to 10-15 years from now).

At Grinding we’re documenting the seeds of that future in Teh_Now. But that doesn’t mean we can’t critically examine that future and fix some of the mistakes before we make them.

And this is the lession I’m drawing from the Terminator franchise: surely the best defense against a future you don’t want is to build a better, alternative future.

Now, I’m not talking about some imaginary, techno Utopian paradise. But maybe some future world just a tad less sucky, and a little bit more fun. Surely that’s doable?!

So just as I look around for cool techy stuff, like what could be the beginnings of Clatter, I’m also gonna extend my range a little. I’m thinking stuff like guerrilla-gardening. I’m thinking of the rise of Gift Economies. I’m thinking of sites like freecycle. Seeds of a better tomorrow.

Wish me luck 😉

62 thoughts on “No Fate But What We Make – lessons from the Terminator franchise

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