Magazine article Management Today

The Future Isn't What It Used to Be

Magazine article Management Today

The Future Isn't What It Used to Be

Article excerpt

What's in store for '94? David Morton puts aside the crystal ball and instead turns to the man on the security desk for his views on what we can look forward to in the New Year

Like everybody else the Security Guard had found that there wasn't too much to do sitting at the desk just after Christmas so, like everybody else, he got to thinking about the future.

And like everybody else who turned up to work in the last drab days of 1993 I had found that there weren't too many people to chat to around the office.

As a result we got talking and he told me about the future which he had been giving a lot of thought to. Thought which, he pointed out, had been paid for by the company at a general rate of 4.60 [Pounds] per hour, although some of it, he admitted, had been pondered at the double rate which applies to security guards' musings after 11.00pm and on weekends and bank holidays.

On the basis that once you've paid for the research you might as well use it, Backbite it pleased to pass on these insights into the future which awaits us in 1994.

'The first thing you have to understand,' said the Security Guard, 'is that the future isn't what it used to be,' and seeing my confusion he went on to explain.

'You see the problem is that when you and me were kids, the future was a long way away, along with Dan Dare and 2001, and life was going to be really different with all sorts of strange gadgets so that you could have a chat to Digby no matter where you were or he was, just by speaking into some incredibly tiny gizmo. Well, nowadays, the future isn't very far off at all. In fact, just recently, I've noticed that the future turns out to be what happened yesterday.'

'Now I know that the experts keep telling us that we're living in a "time of unprecedented change" but they're living in the past. You and me know that all that change means now is that every year the gizmos get a lot smaller and lighter, the design is changed so that people can actually use them and Dixons tries to flog off the old unusable models in the January sales. But there ain't nothing new in that, is there?'

Now writing a column dedicated to the idea of human progress, I challenged the Security Guard on this point. If nothing had changed, why was it that his five-year-old child could programme the video tape recorder, focus the camcorder and battle with Sonic the Hedgehog when he couldn't do any of them.

'Nothing changes,' maintained the Security Guard. 'My own grandmother spent much of her life approaching electric light bulbs with a lighted match, my mother still finds it impossible to locate Radio 4 FM on the dial of her transistor radio - as indeed does my wife. …

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