Have you ever gone back and watched an old science fiction movie, only to find that the “future” looked awfully retro? The computers rarely look more advanced than MS-DOS, you can find video phones, but only in phone booths, and “Three megabytes of hot RAM” is considered a big deal when people can connect their brains to their computers.
The problem, in my opinion, is that technology appears to progress exponentially, rather than linearly like people anticipate- Folks like Alan Turing and Isaac Asimov figured we’d have building-sized computers, clunky robots and interstellar star-ships by now, but instead we’ve got our laptops and smart phones to brag about.
Barely anyone saw the internet coming either, and if they did, they glorified it as some sort of virtual-reality interface not entirely unlike Second Life.
Now, while we’re thinking about the future, let’s go and analyze a smart phone in detail- this little device that can fit in your pocket can contact anyone in the world (with video depending on the model), pinpoint you via satellite and give you maps, play music and run thousands of apps. To me, that screams “future” way more than flying cars and jetpacks (and considering how many drunk drivers we have, we should count ourselves lucky that they’re not able to move vertically). Sure, we have our own “modern” interpretation of what we hope our future will be like now, but even that could easily be blown out of the water with some unexpected scientific development- for all we know, we’ll discover a way to turn nuclear waste into delicious taffy, and I’m sure that would change a few policies pretty quick.
– Post contributed by John Kamerer