Sunday, January 2, 2011

And Now the Nopes

Continuing from yesterday with the same source, here's a list of predictions of science fiction writers for 2010 that did not come to pass. Just as an aside, you could probably list 100 things here. These guys are wrong more than they're right.

  • Flying cars--possible technically, but not socially
  • A Moon base (supposed to have this before the turn of the century or a couple of years later. The new target date for such a base is now 2069. I'll be 126 years old then, so I don't think I'll be around to see it.)
  • Anti-ageing pills (I'm not sure I would want to take them, if they existed. Little teeny repair robots courtesy of nanotechnology may be coming, but would you trust them messing around in your aorta?)
  • Trips to Jupiter (a long way off, at best)
  • Nuclear holocaust (This is the one I'm most happy about seeing on the list. The possibility of a general exchange of these weapons between the forces of light (USA) and the forces of darkness (USSR) is no longer with us, but now we have to be concerned about little gaggles of madmen [and women] terrorists who are itching to get hold of a nuke. And then use it.)
  • Virtual reality (We're a long way from Neuromancer.)
  • AI robot butlers and self-driving cars (Would be nice, don't you think?)
  • Computer overlords (no apparent danger of this for a long, long time. Humans will probably make the planet uninhabitable before something like this comes to pass. But maybe if not, the world will be perfectly habitable for them.)
  • Commercial supersonic air travel (My God! Can you imagine the airport and security hassles that this would cause? Actually we had this at one time--the Concorde. But the return of such elegant, hyper expensive birds is to say the least, not likely soon.)
  • Cheap, clean, unlimited energy (" Nikola Tesla’s dream of free and unlimited electricity seems even more impossible today than when he first proposed it in the early 20th century. Many of the wars on this small blue marble we call home are in large or small part over energy resources. Global climate change is intrinsically linked to the ways in which we produce energy. Whether it’s gas for your car or electricity for your house, we all spend a lot of money on energy. A limitless, non-polluting, inexpensive (or even free) energy source could completely transform humanity, taking us out of the energy dark age we live in now, and leading to a true peace on Earth and good will between all mankind. That’s my wintertime wish for the future. Do you have one?")
Yeah, I have one. World peace. If we did not spend such staggering amounts of money devising ways to kill fellow human beings, resources would be ample to hurry a lot of these unfulfilled predictions into reality.

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