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COME BACK SOON


The following is a transcription of audio received during the World Futures Exploration Project expedition to the year 2823. Audio recorded by Emily Mudge and Dr. Taylor Lewis.


[Audio begins.] EM: --extra batteries? I’m not sure this thing got charged. TL: Seriously? I know I charged it. Let me look. EM: Here. TL: It’s already on. EM: Oh. Oh! Okay. Let’s do this, then. Captain’s Log, Stardate 2823. TL: Emily… EM: Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Okay, here we go. This is Emily Mudge, from the World Futures Exploration Project. I’m here with Dr. Taylor Lewis, our time travel scientist. Say hi, Taylor. TL: Hello. EM: We just arrived here in 2823, and we’re getting ready to step out of our time machine and into… the future! TL: Can you please try to take this seriously? EM: You heard it here, first, folks! 800 years in the future, and Dr. Lewis still doesn’t know how to have fun. [Clattering noise, then audio cuts out.] [Audio resumes.]


EM: Well, it’s dark out. It appears to be evening? It’s warm, but there’s a light breeze. We’re standing in a field outside, and there are fireflies. There aren’t usually fireflies on the West Coast, right? TL: Hmm. No, not in our time. EM: The field is full of fireflies, and there’s something that sounds like crickets. Can you hear them? [Quiet shuffling, then the sound of crickets chirping. You can also hear what sounds like bats in the distance, and the occasional frog.] EM: There’s a forest behind us, which looks pretty dark. And off to our left, there’s a hill. It looks like there’s lights on the other side, so we’re going to head over there. [Audio cuts out.] [Audio resumes.] EM: We’re coming up on the top of the ridge now. The lights are getting brighter, and there’s music, and something smells so good. You know, I'm realizing now that the last time we ate was 800 years ago. TL: That’s not true. I watched you eat a leaf on the way up here. EM: That doesn’t count. Besides, I just wanted to see if it would taste different in the future! TL: Did it? EM: No… [Audio breaks.] EM: I think they must’ve known we were coming. It’s almost like a festival here, and there’s a big banner up that says “Welcome, friends from history!” [In the background, we can hear the growing sounds of a crowd.] A new voice speaks up, in the distance: They’re here! EM: Hello! Hi! We, uh… come in peace? New voice: Our friends, come, we have been waiting for you! We have food, and celebrations. TL: Are we sure this is safe? EM: Only one way to find out! [Audio breaks.] EM: Okay, so just say your name, and how old you are. New voice: Hello to history! My name is Astra, I’m 37. EM: Okay, Astra. If you could say anything to the people of 2023, what would you say? Astra: Come visit us soon! We can’t wait to meet you. [Audio breaks.] Oli: Good day! My name is Oli, I am 20, and I came here all the way from the lunar colony on Europa to greet our friends from the past. EM: From Europa? Wow, that’s quite a trip. How long did it take you to get here? Oli: Six weeks. EM: You traveled six weeks just to meet us? Oli: Of course! I had to meet you, and to say hello to the people of history. Also, I would like to ask a question. EM: Sure, what’s your question? Oli: I have been studying ancient technologies. Can you tell me what this was for? EM: [Laughter] Okay, for those of you at home, Oli is miming using a rotary phone. It was one of the early ways we used to call people. Oli: What about these ones? EM: Are you miming… A smartphone? Here, I think I have mine somewhere. You can take a look. [Audio breaks.] [Sound of multiple children’s laughter] Child’s voice: Shhhhh, I’m doing it! I’m gonna ask. Shh. EM: Hi there. Did you have a question for me? Child: Did you ever -- [giggles] Did you ever drive a… gasoline car? EM: I sure did. In my time, just about everyone drives gasoline cars. [Sounds of children laughing and making noises of disgust.] [Audio breaks.] TL: --take this seriously. We only have a day and a half left. You can’t keep goofing off with the kids all the time. EM: You’re just mad they tricked you into eating that weird future potato chip. TL: Maybe so! You can’t understand, you didn’t try it. No food should ever have that many flavors happening all at once. It was so spicy. [Audio breaks.] Mari: My name is Marilyx, but most people call me Mari. Today is my 51st birthday. EM: What? Happy birthday! Are you going to celebrate later? Mari: I am celebrating, by being here with you! EM: Okay, well we at least have to sing you Happy Birthday! Mari: You… sing? For birthdays? EM: You don’t? Hang on, let me go find Taylor. [Audio breaks.] EM and TL, singing: Happy birthday dear Marilyx…. Happy birthday to you! Mari: That was… horrible. I did not enjoy that experience. You do this every birthday? What are you supposed to do while people are singing to you? EM: [Laughter] You just… listen? [Audio breaks.] TL: You’ve interviewed a lot of people, and answered a lot of questions, but when we get back, they’re going to want to interview you, you know. EM: I know. TL: How are you feeling about that? EM: Are my nerves that obvious? TL: We could do a practice run, if you want EM: What, like you interviewing me? TL: Sure, why not? It’s not like you have anything to lose from it. EM: Alright, go ahead. TL: What did you see in the future? EM: I saw people. Humans. A community. TL: What about the world? Did you learn about the technology? About space travel or future medicine or AI? How do we prevent disasters? EM: Taylor… . TL: You know these are the questions they’re going to ask you. EM: Okay, but I didn’t see the whole world. We only had three days. I don’t know enough science to be able to explain future tech to the people of 2023. I don’t know enough to answer any of that. But what I do know is people. I know that 800 years in the future, kids will still be afraid of the dark and they’ll think jumping and spinning at the same time is the coolest trick anyone’s ever done. I know that people are still hungry for knowledge, and for community. People still love each other, and people still fight with each other, and they’re so curious. About each other, about their future, about the past. I didn’t see the world. I can’t tell our people how to stop global warming, or cure cancer, or achieve lightspeed travel. But I can promise them that the future is beautiful, and it is waiting. [Audio breaks.] EM: You know, I’m actually not sure how it works? You kind of just talk into this part, and it puts it on a little computer chip inside, I think. Nana: I suppose I’ll have to take your word for it, then. EM: Do you want to go ahead and introduce yourself? Nana: My name is Nana California. I am 106 years old. My ancestors lived in the place you know as San Francisco.


EM: What do you think the people of 2023 should know about the future? [A long pause.] Nana: I’d ask you to think, for a moment, about 800 years before your time. EM: Okay. Nana: In those 800 years, did good things happen? EM: Yeah, absolutely. Nana: Did bad things happen? EM: Of course. Nana: Is your world better than it was 800 years before? EM: I mean, we have indoor plumbing now, so… [Laughs] Yeah, I think so. Nana: It is the same here. Good things will happen. Bad things will happen. In the end, we tend to think the world is better. More complicated, sure, but better. We develop new technologies to make life easier, more enjoyable. We mourn the tragedies, and we cherish the celebrations. Every day, we learn new ways to be kind to each other. EM: That’s beautiful. Nana: Remember that, when you return home. Take it with you on your little computer chip. And do not forget, the people of 2823 are wishing you the best, and hoping you come back to visit soon. [RECORDING ENDS.] __________________________________________________________________________________




Emily Mudge Emily Mudge is a researcher, writer, analyst, and futurist. Her work focuses primarily on creating new paths to accessible, affordable, and unbiased healthcare. Her other passions involve studying the importance of storytelling throughout the past, present, and future. Her education includes bachelor’s degrees in History and in Journalism from Arizona State University and a certificate in Futures Thinking through Institute for the Future (IFTF). She is looking to pursue her Masters in Foresight at the University of Houston soon.

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