Remember those AT&T commercials back in the early ’90s that predicted a techno nirvana just around the corner? They were narrated by Tom Selleck who asked a question like, “have you ever renewed your license…from an ATM?” Then he’d answer his question with, “You will.”
They showed everyday situations in the not-too-distance. There weren’t any flying cars or people in jumpsuits. See, nothing to fear here. If anything, their vision of the future was…mundane.
In hindsight, that’s why those commercials were so sinister. It’s 26 years later, and many of their predictions came true, though they missed the one about AT&T going out of business.
One of the commercials asked “have you ever had a meeting…at the beach?” They show a guy in linen pants joining a video call. In 1993, that seemed like an awesome idea. Today, it is a horrible reality. I have had plenty of trips ruined by some asshole insisting on having a meeting despite knowing I was on vacation.
What if they had dialed up the realism in those ads just a little bit more? It might go something like this…
“Have you ever gotten into a pissing match…with the president of the United States? You will.”
“Have you ever sent your mom flowers…from the toilet? You will.”
“Have you ever seen…a goatse? You will.”
If only we knew then, what we know now. I don’t think any of us would have gone so willingly into the abyss that is the hellscape we live in now.
Thanks AT&T. You did.