As I sat in traffic today, it struck me that everything would be so much easier if I had a rocket car. And according to most of the cartoons of my childhood, I should have one – or at least a jet pack – by now. But here I sit with neither a rocket car nor even a robot maid to my name.
True, self-driving cars are on the horizon if Wired can be believed and the Roomba is sort of a robotic maid – one that only vacuums and poorly at that. Successful quantum teleportation (of information, not matter) has been achieved and a synthetic genome created and embedded with a line of prose from James Joyce. A physicist friend assures me that I’ll be syncing my iPhone (or a similar device) Borg-style in the near future and a game of Pong has been played using brain waves alone, but am I pleased? No.
Can I teleport to work Star Trek-style or be zipped instantly to the mall in a tube? I think not. Does thought alone convey Jack Daniel’s and MAC cosmetics to my door? (Probably best in that particular instance that the future isn’t here yet.) I’d willingly put up with some 1984 inconveniences for the sake of some time travel and a vacation on the moon.
We were promised trips to Mars (which would no doubt be filled with Vegas-style casinos and amusement parks) and rocket packs. And even if today is a Brave New World compared to fifty years ago, it’s still not the “future” the Technicolor programs of my childhood guaranteed. There’s something sad about that.
Were we too hopeful thirty years ago? Who knows? We’ve mapped the human gene, cloned sheep, discovered Earth-like (habitable) planets in the Milky Way, created nanogenerators and biometric sensors you can wear like a temp tat, and then there’s the Internet and all that has come along with it. Still, I can’t help but think the world (and the future) was a little shinier back when Pluto was a planet. Or maybe I’m just greedy. Rocket cars, people. I’m not giving up hope.