Ten years ago I’d never have thought everyone would carry around a mobile telephone. I’d never have guessed that an encyclopedia which anyone can contribute to would become the most referenced thing on the internet (the internet being something that I didn’t predict would become the centre of my work and life). I didn’t think for a second that television progs would be available on demand, or that pausing and rewinding live TV would be standard. It never occurred to me that I’d own an affordable, pocket-sized device which could fit and play my entire CD collection and a large number of movies. I never thought I’d find friends from all over the world and keep in daily contact with them at the click of a button, and who could have known that I’d be able to play a Playstation game with ten of them at once?
I didn’t guess that by 2009 I’d do almost 100% of my shopping on the internet, or that Rick Astley would become known to entirely new generation. Ten years ago I had no idea that I’d be able to simulate a snowboard in my own home using a Wii Balance Board. I’d have laughed at the suggestion that I’d be able to read a minute-by-minute commentary of Stephen Fry’s personal life written by him and pumped live into my phone. It would have amazed me to know that within ten years there would be a vaccine for cervical cancer, or that the President of the USA would have the middle name ‘Hussein’.Â
I would not have thought that at any point would evolution be under attack, or that the British Government would find the need to intervene to stop religious propaganda making its way to classrooms. I couldn’t have guessed that the IRA would no longer be the terrorist threat people lost sleep over, or that a racist political party would gain leverage as a result. It would have astounded me to learn that children’s health and lives could be under threat again due to decreasing MMR vaccination, or that eyesight defects could be fixed by lasers in a lunchtime.Â
I’d have been shocked to see a woman walking down a British street covered entirely from head to foot, hands and face behind a veil, and wouldn’t have guessed that I’d one day pose (twice!) for a risque calendar. If you’d said that Big Brother would still be going, I’d have dismissed your claims, but if you’d told me that within ten years families across the world would be sitting down together to watch new Doctor Who, I’d have said “oh I do hope that’s true!”.
We’re in tough time, folks. But we’re also in amazing times. Whatever hardships are ahead, let’s not forget that time brings dramatic changes both good and bad, and the human race endeavours, aspires, builds and progresses. It’s sometimes one step back, but it’s always two steps forward. I have the luxury of living in a country where opportunities and liberty are at their best, and I don’t want my gratitude for that to be drowned by the sea of media doom and gloom. Here’s to the next ten years, whatever they bring.