I've always hoped that our world's dystopia would come with zombies.
That's not a particularly nuanced thing to say, but it's how I feel. Zombies would just make everything easier. I don't want to worry about cultural empathy or intersectionality or organizing protests or educating various communities or the legal complications that accompany a revolution. But I do want to fight against a mindless enemy that I can behead without guilt. I want to defeat hordes of brain-eating monsters. I want to replace one of my hands with a chainsaw and kill a bunch of undead cretins with a sawed-off shotgun that inexplicably has an unlimited amount of ammo.
And if it's not going to be zombies, then I want robots to bring about a dystopian way of life. I want humanity to fly too close to the sun and finally invent a form of artificial intelligence that calculates some callous equation and discovers that the only way to save humanity is to destroy it. Then I want to hide underground with futuristic artillery and blast cyborgs with electro-shock thingamajigs amidst a high-tech hullaballoo. I want our society to end in a way that would make the Wachowski siblings proud and the Amish say, "We told ya so."
Or we could have a Children of Men–style apocalypse where we riot like crazy and slowly fade away as a species. We could all devolve into seal creatures like in Galapagos. Our earth could wilt like in Interstellar. The Ebola outbreak last year had me convinced that we were headed towards a 12 Monkeys–type of society where humanity is forced to live underground like worms for fear of an invisible virus—but at least then we'd get time travel.
I always knew there was a chance I would witness some form of classic literary or cinematic dystopia in my lifetime, and I always found comfort in the notion that the end of days would at least be exciting.
Instead, it turns out I'm getting stuck with this boring-ass Orwellian bullshit where everyone gives up their rights freely and goes about life like a bunch of humdrum assholes. It's like someone took out all the cool fire scenes from Fahrenheit 451, and now all we're left with is an annoying wife who sells people out and watches soap operas all day. Sure, we've got big government, big TVs, and Big Brother. But where the fuck are all my mutant zombie robot virus shotgun adventures?
In addition to the chaos that followed the most recent acts of police brutality, it recently came to light that the hit new video game, Pokémon Go, has access to any players' personal information. While Niantic Labs—the company responsible for developing Pokémon Go—has promised to resolve some of the privacy issues regarding the app's access to users' Google accounts, the video game will still have access to intimate user data.
Sure, that initially sounds like a bummer. Realistically, though, it doesn't matter. While the mobile app's location-tracking elements may raise an eyebrow or two, the overall idea of having personal information exposed for the sake of technological convenience is commonplace. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other popular sites all have access to users' private info and profit from the sale of such data. After all, reading user agreements is for cowards.
But privacy concerns are not just online issues. Even outside of the digital sphere, rights regarding personal privacy are quickly being revoked. The Supreme Court recently ruled that any evidence found by a police officer during an illegal stop and search is admissible in court. Another federal decision made it legal for the FBI to hack your computer without a warrant. The Patriot Act is also a thing I guess, and the NSA also does stuff with phones or whatever. I have to admit that don't really care. None of us really care, and what's scarier than corporate and government access to citizens' personal information is our lack of interest in our loss of privacy.
For the most part, it seems we've spent years passively handing out our private information for the sake of ease, personal promotion and immediate reward. And you know what? Fuck yeah. The NSA can read my sexts all day just so long as I get verified on Twitter before I die, and Facebook can sell my address to the Koch brothers if it means I can passively judge other people's political opinions online.
I am a part of the problem, and that feels so much better than being that one kid from school who has to go over to that creepy old guy's house every night, take off his shirt, and let The Giver touch his back so he can be exposed to memories and feelings and shit.
Keep your memories, old man. I've got online content to generate!
So I guess that's it. Despite all my hopes and wishes that the world would end with a bang, I'm stuck in some dull future where everything is just as shitty as it's always been, except I don't have any privacy. But at least I get to be pacified with Pokémon. Because if I have to live in a world where a significant portion of the population hasn't somehow been wiped out or eaten alive, then I guess I'll settle for a Pikachu.