Living in the Future / by Erin Wade

As my friend Doc is fond of mentioning, we have reached a point technologically where it often seems that we are living in the very future that we were so often promised in science fiction movies and popular science magazines. I am a little disappointed that I don't have a flying car in my driveway, but in so very many other ways we are already there.

This point is brought to home to me this evening, as I had brought the little one in for gymnastics, and found myself with a few hours to kill as a result (try as I might they don't seem to be interested in letting a 40-ish man try out for their girls gymnastics team. I'm considering contacting the ACLU...).

So instead, stinging a bit from the rejection, I decided to find a place to sit out at Rock Cut State Park. Here, under the trees I have myself and my backpack. And, within that backpack I am carrying what I suddenly realize is the office of the future. It contains:

An iPad
An iPhone
A MiFi - this is a cellular Internet data receiver that establishes a wifi hotspot wherever one is at.

Arriving at the park I swing by the concession stand to get myself a bottle of water, and then find a promising tree at a relatively isolated picnic area. Once there I tap the button to fire up the MiFi, open up the iPad, and take advantage of the spare time to answer some emails.

While I am doing this I received a call from a social worker at a regional agency asking some questions about the services we offer. I sat and looked out at the trees, watched ducks landing on the water, and enjoyed the cool breeze through the leaves, all while conducting the conversation. And that phone call was really what brought it all together for me: I have virtually everything I need right here, with me, to operate my office.

So often in those movies the future was all brushed chrome and concrete, with automated attendants seeing to your every whim. I think the future has become something somewhat different than that. In this future your office, your work, is wherever you want it to be. My office of the future - sitting here under my tree - would not be the one Doc would choose. The possibility of encountering some type of wildlife is far too high for his tastes. But that's just the point. With the same equipment his future office can be exactly where he wants to be as well.

And, when all is said and done and the "work day" ends I can "close down" the office for the day, reposition myself under that same tree, and fire up the Kindle application to enjoy some reading.

Living in the future indeed.