What follows will make a lot more sense if you have read the previous Tales From the Opening Act: 'A View of the Future - Part 1'
So, where were we?
Before we were so rudely interrupted by Australia's federal film support agency, drastically cutting funding to its support for emerging filmmakers, we were talking about the future.
Our collective future.
Terrifying. Opaque. Fraught with risk.
That horrible destination down the treacherous road.
...the apex. The synthesis of all of our mistakes into something better. The evolution spurred by change and knowledge.
Either option seems fairly wishy washy, to be honest. Personally, I want to get a sense of what to expect. Where are the trends taking us?
Are you even paying attention to them?
That's why I started with technology in 'part one'. Because, technology has become a magic wand to wave over consequences of poor behaviour. We don't need to be informed. We don't need to use the powers of reason. Future technology will fix any mistakes we make today.
And everywhere ignorance reigns.
Like in film and TV. The popular opinion is that all screen stories will eventually be delivered online. You may watch your content on a television, but it will be on-demand and delivered over an internet connection.
TVs. Tablets. Laptops. Smartphones. They'll all be connected to the big internet pipe.
But what happens when the pipe reaches maximum capacity?
Did you even know the internet has a limit?
Yes, we can lay more pipes. But then what? What happens when they fill, exponentially?
Thankfully, there are scientists developing ways to make the internet 'smarter'. To improve the way the information moves through the web, rather than simply building a bigger pipe. But why has the worldwide discourse around the entire future of content distribution simply ignored this point?
What kind of industry simply assumes that their critical infrastructure will be serviceable, while they simultaneously overload it?
Bad assumptions. Again and again.
We don't need to know the details. We don't need to delve into the minutia. We can safely assume that someone else will take care of it.
Until they don't.
Why, at a time when information is at it's most accessible in the history of humanity, is ignorance so pervasive?
While you ponder that idea, consider this. As the gap between those who remain deliberately ignorant, and those who don't, has widened, so too has the gap between rich and poor in our society.
The informed know that facts bequeath power. Have you seen the calculations on a Wall Street derivative? They look like a mathematics or physics genius wrote them.
Oh, because they did.
Meanwhile, the uneducated masses fight to be on reality TV shows and clamor for a mediocre celebrity. The winners and losers couldn't be clearer.
There are many memorials in the graveyard of bad assumptions. Kodak. LucasArts.James Cameron's former production company. The City of Detroit.
All of them assumed that their circumstances wouldn't change. That the challenges of a transforming world would fade, eventually.
And they did. One enormous bankruptcy at a time.
This is the future you will be a part of. The information and connection economy. Where everything, even the titans of old, must justify their existence.
Stay informed, evolve, or sink into the sands.
Impossible? It's already happening.
When Netflix needed to determine whether their hit show 'House of Cards' should be green-lit, they didn't go to the 'gut feel' of some grey-haired Hollywood soothsayer on the lot.
They went to their data.
When a filmmaker wants to check in with their audience, the true believers, they don't put out a press release and hope some of their people will see it. They get on social media and speak with their tribe directly.
When TV Comedian John Oliver wants to demonstrate the absurdity around climate change skepticism, he simply uses the publicly accessible facts on the scientific consensus, and then turns it into a sight gag.
And yet, still, a conservative TV Producer makes 'The Great Global Warming Swindle', presenting "scientific evidence" that is debunked on its own Wikipedia page.
Why would someone engage in this deliberate ignorance?
Having to justify your place in the ecosystem is a scary idea, after all.
"What if I can't explain how I benefit the tribe?"
"What if I'm not needed at all?"
But rather than ask (and answer) these difficult questions, we close ourselves off. We pretend that change isn't happening all around us. This fear becomes the tether that holds us back from challenging ourselves and doing something remarkable with the little time we have on this planet.
We ride our blissful ignorance to our ultimate failure.
But, despite this perplexing survival of general ignorance, there is reason to hope. Why?
Because ignorance, thankfully, can be remedied.
That is the beauty of the age we live in, and the trend that will inform the future. Books, information, data, content, opinions, art music, movies and screen stories are more accessible than ever. This access is only improving, meaning that culture, enlightenment and art will only be a click away for the curious.
For those who are willing to move beyond their assumptions, to ask difficult questions of themselves, to demonstrate how they add to the lives of others in a meaningful way, and to embrace the 'information and connection age', the future will hold incredible opportunities.
It starts with a choice. Which would you rather be?
Blissful and doomed?
Or informed and prosperous?
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