Sunday, 10 August 2014

Tech Level moves pretty fast

Have you ever stopped to consider how much technology has changed in your lifetime? Allow Joan from Mad Men to demonstrate Tech Level 4 versus 5 after being brought to the present. (Maybe a Weeping Angel with a reversed polarity did it.)

We live in a future few could have imagined when Doctor Who started in 1963.

When An Unearthly Child first aired, mobile phones were the stuff of science fiction, even the regular depiction of Star Trek’s communicators were still a few years off. When it paused in 1989, they appeared irregularly in popular culture, mostly as a sign of a character being Rich and/or Important and/or Arrogant. “Look at me, people need to call me when I am away from my desk!” Within a few years, they were vital to Mulder and Scully in The X Files, but not really addressed when Doctor Who returned in Enemy Within in 1996. Now they mean something different. By Rose in 2005, they were pretty much omnipresent, a teenage shop assistant on a housing estate has one, uses it in her first adventure, and the Doctor upgrades it as soon as he takes her to another time so she can phone home across billions of years. By then, the horror trope of establishing that mobile phones don’t work is pretty well established, but it’s not one the show makes much use of, because the characters split up so often and need to talk to each other, much like Mulder and Scully. (Pet peeve about that trope - I’ve never seen someone check again after initially establishing no signal at the start of a horror movie, even after running miles from the monster chasing them.)

We’re still a long way from moon bases, but we have an International Space Station.

Where will be in another fifty years?

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