Superhighway Patrol Man

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Abstract

This fictional prototype explores two of the future's major societal challenges: the delivery of healthcare to an increasingly ageing society; and the policing of a society, in which digital surveillance may predominate. It contrasts the author's vision of what life could be like in the United Kingdom in a decade's time (just as he contemplates retirement) with the simpler values of the 1980's, when he began his postgraduate career. The lyrics of the poignant 1982 Bruce Springsteen song, “Highway Patrolman”1 are used to bridge the epochs. The prototype relocates the two main ‘middle-America’ characters, brothers Joe and Frank Roberts, in London in the year 2025. Much has already changed politically and socially in ‘Western societies’ in the intervening period up to 2012, driven by the inexorable advances of technology. As further scientific advances drive us to an anticipated paradigm change2, one can only speculate on how society will advance, posing serious ethical dilemmas. Many of the changes will be positive. However, the story explores the potential negative consequences to the ageing population, in what appears to be a successful economy. Although somewhat pessimistic in outlook, a hopeful conclusion is that the ‘ties that bind’ will still predominate.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherElsevier
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2013

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