As a child, I grew up in the 1980’s version of EPCOT’s Future World – an idealized theme park dedicated to where humanity had been, where it is, and where it may be headed. I was enthralled with visions of mighty mammoths battling our prehistoric ancestors, the slick sights of futuristic cars, and the incredible imagination of space exploration and cutting-edge habitats.
The grand entrance to the park was a 180 foot geodesic sphere (an architectural milestone in and of itself) entitled Spaceship Earth which housed a ride dedicated to the history and possibility of communication from the birth of language to the cineplex to the video phone. Throughout the 80’s and early 90’s, the park thrived as a living museum blending fantasy and imagination with possibility.
Today’s EPCOT is vastly different from its initial inception. Gone were most of the “edu-tainment” rides of lore as they have been invaded, demolished, and taken over by Disney characters and further corporate branding. The Living Seas, once a ride dedicated to the exploration of the oceans has now become a frolicking journey to find Nemo. Maelstrom, once committed to the history and culture of Norway has now been shoved aside to take you to the magical haven of Frozen (I have argued against this but I keep being aggravatingly told to “let it go”). And Spaceship Earth, the bastion of communication, has lost its theme and been changed to reflect upon mankind’s history and cartoonized future.
But why have we dropped the ideal of communication? Have we reached the apex of possibility or is it a theme that no longer resonates in the age of the Internet and smartphones? With the Internet putting us within a second’s grasp of information, do we no longer require a “Future World” to tantalize us with information and prospect? In some ways, these arguments have a validation. Concept has become fact and fact (unless obscure or contentious) is passé. Without a thrill factor, no one is going to submit themselves to Internet Property: The Ride no matter how well-informed they may be after the experience.
Establishing today’s Future World in a theme park may not be a sustainable prospect. The path from inspiration to reality has radically become more expeditious. Perhaps a shame for a theme park but a marvel for the present day. Our future is at our fingertips. The Internet has become our conceptual Spaceship Earth and with it we have evolved beyond the cineplexes and video phones of old. Television, radio, and hard media have begun to yield to the power of instantaneous global communication through the web. The United States’ political primary season this year proves this to a degree with much of the public getting their information online as opposed to an allegedly biased television media, hence many of the surprising stances for unconventional candidates. We fact check and research everything from political positions to which local restaurant has the best fish fry. History has broken the bounds of the library and innovation has become the viral story of the day.
Though there will undoubtedly be further leaps in communication technology, the rise of the Internet and its many properties has become integral to our present day of life. This is Future World – let’s take advantage of the possibilities.
Based in Rochester, New York, Netsville is an Internet Property Management company specializing in managing the Digital Marketing, Technical, and Business Solutions for our customers since 1994. For more information, please click here.