“Real life is far madder than anything you can imagine. I could have sat there at a laptop typing for a million years and I would never have come up with Donald Trump standing in a gold room with 1000 hamburgers. Life is far more insane than anything you can invent, so I just try. I just try, darling, to catch up!”
Russell T Davies
Sometimes in life, things happen that make your head fall off and watching the new BBC drama series Years and Years did just that to mine.
The series, written by Russell T Davies follows the Lyons family from Manchester over 15 years of political, economical and technological advances. In just six episodes, we’re transported in time from 2019 to 2034. Britain withdraws from Europe, Donald Trump get re-elected as president and then fires a Trident nuclear warhead at the Chinese artificial island Hong Sha Dao and butterflies become extinct (the extinction of butterflies is somewhat less crucial to the plot).
During the series, we’re introduced to new technologies and digital concepts that may or may not one day become reality. Either way, they’re certainly worth talking about so let’s take a look at just a few things we’re introduced to in the first episode.
Transhumanism becomes an actual thing.
In 2024 there’s a clinic in Switzerland researching 'transhumanism' in the hope that humans can be transferred to "the cloud" so when our bodies die, our brains live on as data - a procedure young teenage daughter Bethany is keen to undergo.
In the first episode Bethany explains to her parents, “I’m not comfortable with my body so I want to get rid of it. This thing. The arms and legs and every little bit of it. I don’t want to be flesh. I’m really sorry, but I’m going to escape this thing and become digital.”
It might sound insane, but believe it or not, this concept has been around since the 1940s although previously it has referred to how technology can enhance the human body such as increasing our sensory reception, emotive ability or cognitive capacity to expand our lifespans. This concept on the other hand does away with the human body in its entirety. Who needs a body when you have the cloud?
Face filters are the new snapchat
In episode 1, Bethany is obsessed with playing with filters on her phone, but instead of showing up on her screen, they’re projected onto her face, completely masking her features and changing her voice. In the scene we see her using a dog face, monkey face and a baby emoji. To say it’s creepy is an understatement.
Keith the Robot moves in to help out in some rather interesting ways…
The invention we’ve all been waiting for - robots to help with household chores, but that’s not the only thing Keith does. I’m not going into details here, so you’ll have to watch the programme to find out more about that…
I think what’s more impressive is the fact the name Keith survives the test of time – who knows, maybe it’s making a comeback in 2024?
To speak to family members, you’ll need to book an electronic appointment
It looks as though life is only set to get busier in the next 15 years and now your teenage children have another excuse to not converse with you. If you want a lengthy discussion with them, you’ll need to schedule a formal appointment electronically – even if they’re already sat in the same room as you. Thankfully booking an appointment will be easy as virtual assistants feature heavily in the show, so they can just do it for you.
White technology may be seen to advance in the show, there are a few less welcome changes. Entire areas of London are sealed off to the public (to enter Kensington you'll need to means-tested!!) and a cup of coffee in the capital will set you back an eyewatering £12, so here's hoping not all of these predictions will come true.
If you've not yet seen the show and reading this blog has made very little sense, you can check it out on iPlayer here.
Posted by Helen Thomas