A Day in My Life
By Damaris Chanza
An increase in population and a decrease in college prices have increased innovation and creation. As a result of people working on solving problems in medicine, media, transportation, and energy conservation, new devices are released every day.
According to the research, people between the ages of 20-30 are rebelling against our technological advancements by rejecting them entirely. This group of people, rightly named “Retros,” are living in communal spaces with technology and software that was only available 30 years ago, most of which have since become obsolete. This includes smartphones that still need to be touched to make calls, laptops with physical keyboards, and cable television. Retros drive cars that do not drive themselves, and that need to be gassed up instead of charged. . . .
The Retro Revolution
September 30, 2048
By Damaris Chanza
To-Do List Reminders
October 7, 2048
10:00 – Interview for New York Times
1:30 - Pick up Dami from work
4:00 – Tony’s Perfume Pitch
7:30 – Pick up the kids
8:30 – Mami’s Birthday Dinner
New York Times Interview
We’re here today with one of my favorite guests Damaris Chanza, CEO of Dee’s PR & Advertising.
Hello, Jerry. It’s nice to talk to you again.
Let’s just get right into it. Your article “The Retro Revolution” has been causing lots of controversies since it was published last week. In the article, you classify a new group of people as Retros, how would you describe a Retro?
As the article states, Retros are people who reject the technological advancements of the last 30 years and are reverting to the technology of the time in which they were born. Generally speaking, Retros are about 20-30 years old and are using technology that is relatively obsolete.
Do you agree with the Retro’s ideology?
I don’t agree or disagree with the Retros. Technology has always had its positive and negative attributes, but as someone who works in media, I have to keep up with the times. I can’t release a story, ad, or video on a platform that only 1% of the world uses because it won’t get any views. I can’t ignore these advances in my personal life because I have to know how these new devices function to take advantage of their different qualities and correctly cater to my market.
So you’re neutral in terms of technology because of your job, but what about your kids, aren’t they in the Retros age group?
You’re right; they’re both in the same age group, but only my son considers himself a Retro. He hates the term but feels it's the best way to define himself. My daughter, Penelope, is about to turn 20 in a few months, and she thinks a lot of the technology used today is excessive in comparison to what it was when she was born. However, she is not so radical as to call herself a Retro. The only reason she has reluctantly immersed herself in modern technology is that she’s in college.
My son, Damien, on the other hand, is completely immersed in Retro ideology. He tells me every day that technology is the root of all evil. That’s hyperbolic, of course. A lot of people in the article are some of his roommates from the communal living space he’s staying in.
Do you and Damien get along very well considering your vastly different ideologies?
We get along just fine. I’ve always been very close with my family, so I make it a point to listen to his opinion. I don’t necessarily think it’s an ideal stream of thought, but if he believes it, I’m not going to be the person to tell him he’s wrong.
You seem very open to the idea of the Retro lifestyle, but you write about it as if it were the most radical thing in the world, why is that?
Because it kind of is ridiculously radical if you think about it. Retros are mimicking 2018. In 2018, I was 20 and in the middle of my bachelor’s at NJIT. If I had decided to revert to the technology of 1998, I’d be using beepers, payphones, boxy TVs, and have limited, if any, access to the internet. I can’t imagine trying to go to a tech college in those conditions. So, to live that way now when everything is even more digitized is impossible not to be considered radical and extreme.
Think about this interview, for instance. In 2018, we probably would have recorded this using an app on a smartphone, but today, I am speaking to you via your AI, and it’s broadcasting my voice to other AIs as if it were some sort of radio. I don’t even know what you look like. I only know your name and the company you work for.
That lack of face-to-face interaction is something you talk about in your article, could you elaborate on that a little?
Of course. Face-to-face interaction will never be entirely obsolete. The one thing that technology has failed to obstruct is the human need for touch and love. Now, people are falling in love with their AIs, but that’s an entirely different topic. I’m talking about familial love. A family has always consisted of humans and sometimes even pets. Some may argue the definition of family has expanded to AIs, but we don’t celebrate their birthdays because they’re just algorithms. The need for that kind of love and social interaction is why groups like the Retros arise. They want to maintain the humanity of the world instead of being sucked into the screen filled society; we all seem to inhabit. Unfortunately, we talk to our AIs more than we do to one another. Admittedly, reverting to the technology of 30 years ago may be an overcorrection to this problem, but I do think that there are ways that it could be corrected.
How do you propose society solve this problem?
That’s a difficult question to answer. You would probably have to speak to a social scientist to find the most efficient way to limit our technological use without hindering creativity and productivity.
Well, I think that’s all the time we have for today. Thank you so much for tuning in to speak to us, Damaris.
You’re welcome, Jerry.
Pick up Dami from work
Kipsey swiftly slides the car into a spot directly in front of Dami’s job.
“Kipsey, tell Dami I’m outside.”
As I’m waiting for my son, I’m confirming my meeting for a new hire to pitch his ad idea. Kipsey opens the door for Dami as he approaches her.
“How many times do I have to tell you that I can open my own door?”
As he gets in, I tell Kipsey to take us to his house. We’re going to bake the cake for Mami’s birthday dinner.
“As long as I’m driving you around, Kipsey will continue to open your door.”
“All new cars have AIs and are self-driven. You talk to your car like it’s a person, and that’s wrong. It’s a few nuts and bolts that some scientists thought was an okay thing to integrate into everyday lives. You fired your assistant because Kipsey does everything for you. That poor guy lost his job to a stupid computer. You even named your A.I. after your dead childhood dog, but somehow I’m ‘the radical son.’ I refuse to take part in such nonsense.”
Meanwhile, I take out some chips knowing full well he’s about to rant about how technology is killing us all.
“I don’t understand how you can even call it a car when you’re not the one driving. You’re not even looking at the road. I want to drive myself around. I want that feeling of independence and interaction not just be stuck with some machine knowing my every move.”
“I know technology is the root of all evil. Have you forgotten that I’ve heard this time and time again from you? You don’t need to tell me every time you see me. Whether it’s a new car or that piece of metal you call a car, I’m just saying you need a car.” I say with my mouth full of chips.
“My car is the same type of car you drove when you were my age, so don’t act all high and mighty like it’s trash because it doesn’t have some creepy robotic woman doing everything for me.”
After Kipsey makes the car rest into a parking spot, she opens the doors for us to get out of the car.
“I can open my own damn doors,” Dami mumbles to himself as he gets up from his seat.
Call with siblings
As Kipsey is taking me to my meeting, my sibling’s faces appear on the screen of my car.
“What’s the address again?” Michele and Cito yell simultaneously.
I can hear Cito’s dogs barking in the background; he’s probably at the park again. Michele is at work, typing something. None of us are looking at one another.
“I’ve sent the address to your cars like five times at this point why are you still bothering me with this.”
“Just send it again, Bochi,” Michele says in frustration, giving me a quick glare.
“Fine, Kipsey, send the address of Angelo’s Bistro to Michele and Cito.”
Almost immediately, I hear the bell sounds of their devices receiving the information.
“Okay, we’re meeting at Angelo’s around 8:30, don’t be late. Papi is taking Mami there, and I’ve already sent them the address a thousand times, so hopefully, they won’t be late either.”
“I saw your article this morning, why are you still writing about how technology is ruining society if you use it too,” Cito asks while throwing a frisbee.
“Aww, I didn’t know you still read my articles. I’m not for it or against it. I’m simply reporting the new research that was published, and it says that technology is hindering us. I don’t know why you’re so surprised they’ve been saying stuff like that since we were teenagers playing candy crush on smartphones.”
“I was trying to explain smartphones to the kids earlier, and they were acting like I’m prehistoric for living in a time where we still had to touch the phone to make calls,” Michele says.
“You used to be the same way about beepers, always calling Papi a dinosaur,” I say.
Cito laughs while Michele says, “whatever” and hangs up; her face disappears from my screen.
“I’ve got to go too. I’m going to be late for my meeting,” I tell him.
“Alright, I have to get back to work anyways. See you at 8” Cito hangs up just as one of his dogs returns with the Frisbee.
Tony's Perfume Pitch
“I am so sorry; I’m late. I hope I didn’t miss much,” I say as I walk into the conference room filled with my executive team, but I’m quickly reassured that they haven’t even begun.
“That’s great. Now, who’s Tony?” I take my seat.
A tall man with brown hair and note cards stands up.
“You know it’s been a long time since I’ve had to come to an in-person presentation. I have to admit I’m very nervous.”
“It’s okay, that’s actually the point. I don’t let AIs do my major decision-making.” I chuckle a little. “Please continue with your presentation.”
After shuffling a little with his note cards, Tony begins to read off of the first card.
“Our most recent ad flopped entirely. It just didn’t feel immersive enough. YouTube and Netflix are taking full advantage of VR television, but our ads aren’t doing that. They’re not taking advantage of the augmented reality. We need to get more creative in how we incorporate . . .”
“Wow, Tony, so much for being nervous. You just tore down our entire company.” Andrea, the executive in advertising, rudely interrupts him.
Poor Tony looks so thrown off by her outburst that I try to put him back on track.
“No. No. I think he makes a good point. Our last few ads have been derivative and uninspired. How do you propose we change that, Tony?”
Without looking at the cards, he responds, “Our next deal is an ad for perfume. I want to cater to the Retros and do it in a way that seems familiar to them. In 2018, perfume commercials had celebrities doing weird, adventurous things like leaving their fiancé at the altar to get on a helicopter to the middle of nowhere.”
Andrea interrupts the boy yet again. “Retros don’t even use VR! How are we going to cater to them if they don’t even use the technology that the ad is on?”
Not at all affected by Andrea’s abrupt disturbance, Tony continues.
“I was getting to that. Retros can’t actually get away from the technology they’re rejecting, but what they want more than anything is to go back to a time that lacks our technology, so I say we give them that.”
“But how,” Andrea scoffs.
“Andrea let him speak; I’m sure he was getting to that. No more interruptions, or you will be excused.” I wish I could’ve simply told her to shut up, but that would be an HR nightmare.
“Make the ad about family. That’s what it’s all about, right? In 2018, you sat on the couch with your family and skipped through those stupid perfume commercials. Instead of creating another ridiculous commercial where the user takes the adventure as the celebrity did, we make the user sit on the couch with their family and watch it. The adventurous commercial is still playing on those old TVs from 2018 while the user is sitting on the couch laughing with their family about how ridiculous it is. Suddenly, a family member notices someone smells really good. That smell will be the new perfume. The family member raves about how great it smells while other members of the family compliment them.”
“I love it!” I announce. “Appealing to both the Retro and Modernist need for familial support and affection while simultaneously selling the product is ingenious. It breaks the mold. What does everyone else think?”
The ladies begin to speak in indiscernible sentences in agreement while others just nod their heads. Even Andrea can’t help but admit it’s a great idea. Tony breathes a sigh of relief and smiles with glee. He quickly passes out some of his designs. After reviewing the plans and making a few tweaks, the ladies and I approve the idea.
“Great, assemble a team, and get started on it right away.” I shake Tony’s hand, which seems to take him by surprise.
Pick up the kids
“Can you two stop arguing, you sound like a bunch of babies.”
Penny is in the back seat, using the technology in her glasses to do some work before we get to the bistro. To Dami and I, it looks like she’s mindlessly drawing in the air, but to her, she’s probably typing an email or creating the specs for her new architectural project. Dami hates it when she does this and always argues that she doesn’t spend time with us.
“He started it,” Penny whines.
“She’s the one who’s working during family time.”
I cancel out the bickering and ask Kipsey to update me on the latest celebrity news.
“North West models in her own fashion show releasing her latest collection.”
“Millie Bobby Brown confirms her part in the Stranger Things revival.”
“Beyonce and Rhianna are rumored to make an appearance at the benefit concert for military families.”
“Liza Koshy is hosting the Oscars.”
“I didn’t know Liza Koshy was hosting the Oscars this year,” Penny shouts, finally turning her glasses off.
The three of us begin to talk about our favorite movies and who we think should win. That only started a whole new debate.
Mami's Birthday Dinner
“I thought I told you guys not to be late,” I shake my head jokingly in disapproval.
My parents and my kids are sitting at the beautifully set table as my siblings arrive with their kids. Once they’ve said their hellos, my nieces and nephews immediately beg to connect their AIs to the bistro’s network. At first, Michele and Cito refused but eventually conceded once the kids were making too much of a scene. Meanwhile, Dami and his cousin, Carlos, shrink to the corner. Carlos is begging Dami to let him live with him and other Retros. Apparently, Retros living with Modernists is entirely insufferable. Michele and I have always been glad that the two of them get along because it’s hard to be an outsider in your own family; at least they don’t have to do it alone.
After a few pleasantries, we give our orders to our AIs. Michele and I, ordering for our sons, of course. As we wait for our meals to arrive, Mami and Papi ask us about our respective jobs.
When we were all done with our food, Dami placed the cake we baked earlier today on the table, and we all started to sing.
“Happy Birthday to you . . .”