Nature Future Conditional

The story behind the story: Wading into water

In Wading into water, this week’s Futures author, Todd Honeycutt, faces a parental dilemma and explores how technology may have a profound effect on family relationships. Here he reveals what inspired the tale — as ever, it pays to read the story first.

Writing Wading into water

My family and I vacation every year in a small town on the New Jersey shore. As I sat on the boardwalk one sunny morning a year ago in August, I looked out at the sand and the sea, and considered how the beach might look fifty, a hundred years from now. In particular, I wondered how people might change in their use of it. That made me think about what people did with the beach fifty or a hundred years before. People came, played in the waves and the sand, relaxed. No matter how society changes, some people will still take time to unwind by the ocean. The technology may change, the styles, the attitudes (and probably the location), but in the future, we’ll still feel that allure to vacation by the shore.

At the same time, I’d been turning around ideas about what would be possible if we could actually upload our personalities into some sort of wetware, what choices we might make, and the intergenerational tension that naturally arises with technological advances. I overlaid a father/daughter relationship onto that future beach setting, adding a bit of my daughter, Gillian — nine years old at the time — and the result is this story.

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