The Seattle Space Needle and the Promise of a Better Tomorrow

Show of hands. Who loves Seattle? Who loves explainer videos? I answered “yes” to both these questions, which puts this recent video from Jared Owen squarely in my wheelhouse.

The Space Needle, built for the 1962 World’s Fair, still stands as an iconic part of the Seattle skyline (as any true Frasier fan would know). It has survived wind storms, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. But what makes the Space Needle so uniquely timeless is its mid-century, symbolic representation of a great big beautiful tomorrow, preserved in steel, concrete, and a rotating glass floor. 

Built during the peak of the space race for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle represented the infinite potential of science and technology to improve our lives. Well, we’re now nearly 60 years in the future and still don’t have flying cars or a moon base. But we do have Star Trek communicators in our pockets, self-driving cars, and the beginnings of artificial intelligence. And that’s just for starters. 

Yes, technology is not without its downside, and our internal Luddite is often too quick to criticize technology rather than embrace its magic. But I’m still bullish on the future. It is a great big beautiful tomorrow. And we’ll get there eventually.

In the meantime, let’s take a moment to appreciate the miracle of high-res, computer-generated videos streamed to handheld devices that are 100,000 times more powerful than the Apollo 11. Because, that’s what you’re doing. Right now.

If that’s not great, big, and beautiful, I don’t know what is.