Forge of Empires

Let me start with the disclaimer, that I am not a gamer.
However, I still get ads every day for a game called Forge of Empires. I admit, the idea of rewriting history (their slogan) and building a private empire even though it’s an internet construction, one step even further removed from reality than building a city of blocks, or LEGO, is tempting. Perhaps I’ll try the game some day.
But it struck me yesterday, just watching the ad, how thematic and shallow it is. The medieval village, the town of the 1800s, the modern city and the future, all had a road and buildings. First the road is plied by carts and horses, and the buildings are of wood and straw, then by trolleys and old timey cars, and the buildings are of brick, and, in the future, something that looks sort of like a monorail, or a mag-lev line, and all the buildings are skyscrapers.
Kamala Harris, with all her cheesy identity politics posing, has said that her election will encourage more girls to run, using the line “you can’t be what you can’t see.”
As much as I dislike her, and distrust her motives, there’s a bit of truth to that. About half. Games like this depict the future looking much like the past because that is what we know, so it seems like what the future will be as well. We can only be what we see.
But, we are changing very quickly, and our world is changing more quickly than we can deal with, and our technology is changing quickest of all, and the pace is accelerating.
Tall buildings and fast transportation may be a big part of it. But we also might wind up living in isolated cells, only communicating electronically, or underground, eking out a live for ourselves in the interior of a planet without atmosphere, or in an idyllic paradise where nobody’s in a hurry to get anywhere, and we travel inside luxury floating bubbles.
Whatever it is, I strongly suspect that the future will look much stranger than just a stylized version of the present. And we will become what we can’t see, whether we like it or not.

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