Remember when the year 2020 sounded science-fiction’esque?? I mean, for heaven’s sake people – we have now PASSED the “…2019 dystopian Los Angeles…” world that was the setting for Ridley Scott’s classic Blade Runner!
And while “2019” and “dystopian” still work together (good LORD what a year it’s been!) the very concept of rolling into 2020 still has me gobsmacked.
The Halcyon Days of Yore
At the start of the new millennium, I was standing on my front porch at the stroke of midnight, holding my four-month old son in my arms, welcoming the year 2000 – and awaiting the hyped-up, potentially world-ending launch of Y2K! Fast forward 20 years and Y2K sounds positively quaint, doesn’t it? Case in point:
- Creepy AF dog-like robotic creatures are opening doors and climbing fences (ok, can this STOP please!!).
- Countries all over the world are being attacked and hacked by bad actors, manipulating both election results and our view of the world – deep fakes and misinformation have left us spinning into an uncertain future where “alternative facts” have become the norm.
- Social media is the driving force behind much of the above, with an estimated 3 BILLION users working together (often unwittingly) to create this shift in the thought universe. A far cry from the days of AOL Instant Messenger and do-it-yourself Geocities webpages.
- Face-scanning applications are increasingly being adopted by law enforcement, airports, and the military — rightly raising concerns about innocent civilians being erroneously targeted by “friendly fire,” as well as racial profiling and the absolute END of privacy.
- Speaking of privacy (insert maniacal laughter) – let’s be honest. The dawn of the internet and Google search driving every action in our lives has stripped away old-fashioned notions of privacy. We ARE the product, and you get nothing in this world for free!
Wait. Yay! Decades Have Names Again!!
Fear not, dear reader. All is not lost, and I’m not simply a harbinger of doom and gloom (though some would argue this fact) – for we’ve survived the aughts!!
Yes, back in 1999 there was much hand wringing about what to call this new decade – but PHEW – now we can get back to more simpler times *snort* it’s now the ‘20s and us writers couldn’t be happier.
So, I thought to myself, “Self, what the heck was happening during the last ‘20s? After feverishly Googling (see above re: search has taken over our lives!) – I found some…. (uh oh – here I come with the doom and gloom again)…interesting similarities.
Buckle Up Folks, it’s Going to Be a Bumpy Ride!
If you haven’t been watching what’s been happening these past four years or so south of the border, socio-politically and otherwise (that which is also, frighteningly, expanding here in Canada as well), OR if you’re not a geeky history buff like myself, you might not be aware that we seem to be in the midst of a 100 year roll-over.
The soon-to-be Roaring ‘20s of the twenty-first century are looking more and more like the last Roaring ‘20s – minus flappers and prohibition (thank GOD! #daydrinking).
Have a look at what was happening in the 1920s:
- In some countries the 1920s saw the rise of radical political movements, especially in regions that were once part of empires.
- Communism spread as a consequence of the October Revolution and the Bolsheviks’ victory in the Russian Civil War.
- Fear of the spread of Communism led to the emergence of far-right political movements and fascism in Europe.
- Economic problems contributed to the emergence of dictators in Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
- The devastating Wall Street Crash in October 1929 is generally viewed as signalling the end of 1920s prosperity in North America and Europe.
Sure sounds familiar to me, except missing today’s “the entire world is burning and we’re all gonna die” climate change part.
You might be asking yourself right now “Lindsay, listen, what is UP with all this negativity?”
But I don’t see it as negativity. I see it as awareness. We can’t look forward without looking backward.
We can’t facilitate real positive change and embrace the rampant rise of technology and the overall evolution of our world – socially and politically — if we can’t recognize the big fails. Where things seem to be teetering closely to the edge of a cliff.
And the same thing rings true for your personal lives and work lives. Because it all impacts everything, doesn’t it – like a crazy, love-hate symbiosis!
Now For the GOOD STUFF!!!
Ok, enough of the “OMG the world is in a MESS!” stuff. Heck, we all know the kids are going to save us all eventually. Bless you Greta Thunberg, you incredible, inspiring person you!!
There’s SO MUCH GOODNESS in what technology has brought to our world.
- Today, technology is helping more sick people, saving more lives, and is on the front lines in our never ending battle with harmful viruses and bacteria. Gene-splicing technology capable of finding and removing mutated sections of DNA has revolutionized modern medicine, and is working toward the elimination of genetically inherited diseases and some forms of cancer
- For companies, what Gartner refers to as “The Intelligent Digital Mesh” — the entwining of people, devices, content and services — continues to evolve, created by digital models, business platforms and services that support digital business. Exchanges are faster especially with the internet. Sales and purchases are now facilitated and possible worldwide. Hence, businesses can buy raw materials with discounts or at reduced prices. Communication has been enhanced and research has been simplified – helping businesses thrive globally!
- Global tourism has grown.
- Productivity is up up UP!
- Small business today drives MOST of the world’s economy. SMBs represent about 90% of companies and more than 50% of employment worldwide. They also contribute to 40% of national income (GDP) in emerging economies. YAY YOU!
- Not surprisingly, given the above stats, entrepreneurs are changing what it means to work.
- The gig economy has opened the global workforce to opportunity that would have been unfathomable as recently as two decades ago.
- Technology has brought people and communities together and provided hope for the disadvantaged and downtrodden (who can forget the Arab Spring!!??)
- It’s opened our minds (well, those whose minds are open to being opened, I guess) to “differences – the other” – whether we’re talking religion, sexuality, lifestyle, or culture.
- It has made us smarter! More information is at our fingertips than at any other time in the modern world.
- Applications and software have made life busier, sure, but easier as well. “There’s an app for that” was the war cry of the past two decades, and today everything from personal finances, health care, scheduling, and even entertainment has been made more efficient by the birth of tech.
- 3D printing is INSANE – helping the homeless, revolutionizing the mass-production of products (hello?? More efficient and less waste! YAY!) and also radically changing healthcare.
- Augmented and virtual reality, while being super cool and loads of fun, is also being used to help doctors and surgeons do better work and allows the housebound and the elderly to experience the world around them in ways they never would have been able to before.
IS THIS BLOG POST EVER GOING TO END?
Yes. It’s going to end. Soon, I promise! LOL
Clearly I could go on and on and ON about how technology has improved our lives and enhanced the world around us. But we all have to keep a watchful eye on how it’s used. It behooves us all to NOT take for granted the gifts we have – whether natural or artificial.
These past two decades have opened our eyes to some madness and badness in the world. Let’s use our collective knowledge to look forward to 2020, and be mindful of the pace of change, and how we can nurture it along so it’s for GOOD and not bad.
Now, to give some well-deserved shout-outs as we wrap this decade and this year. And who better to include in these shout-outs than he who represents everything I’ve talked about above: the most internet famous, most meme’ed, most searched puppet that left 2019 absolutely LIT UP with joy – none other than Baby Yoda!
Here’s to those of you who absolutely KILLED this year, grew your businesses, took command of your lives – or your marketing to another level — or took massive (and terrifying) leaps of faith in the face of change. Wield that light saber, ‘cause you all ROCK!
Shout out to the “generation wars” – look, can’t we all get along. LOL
From Gen Zed to Millennials, from Generation X to the Boomers – each and every one of us brings something special to the table – and having a team filled with people of all ages makes for an infinitely better workforce, IMHO. That said, Ima make fun of you Boomers because this meme is the BEST!
Here’s to everyone who told you that you couldn’t do it this year. Or ANY year for that matter. Who scoffed at your big ideas, assumed you would fail, or made you feel small or not worthy. Give them a haughty eye-roll and sip that tea with your little finger held high. Because eff that attitude, amiright??
And finally, to end, here’s to YOU again, bravely leaping into this new year, nay into this new DECADE, with all the promise that newness brings.
On a dog.
Because why the hell not?