[ExI] future fizzle

Dave Sill sparge at gmail.com
Fri May 29 20:22:57 UTC 2009

2009/5/29 spike <spike66 at att.net>:
> Somehow we need to inject into these common articles the meme that there is
> a really good reason why we do not have the stuff envisioned by mid 20th
> century futurists: we found a better way.  Many, if not most of the future
> visions had to do with radical improvements in transportation: self guided
> cars, super high speed freeways, jet packs, flying cars, etc.  But we found
> it better to stay home and send information zipping about safely and cheaply
> at the speed of light.

Yeah...except that the interweb hasn't caused the bottom to drop out
of the transportation market. Cars aren't gathering rust, roads aren't
being neglected or torn up to make parks, traffic is getting
worse--not better, air travel is busier than ever. Net shopping has
reduced the need for some transportation but has increased the burden
on shipping companies.

Self-guided cars haven't happened because there hasn't been sufficient
public demand for them. Jet packs aren't available because they're
inherently inefficient, unsafe, unscalable, and would be prohibitively
expensive--same for flying cars.

> I would not trade the internet for a flying car or a personal jet packs, not
> for a dozen of them.

I agree. If the futurists of the 50's had predicted the net, they'd
have been ridiculed. But given the automobile and the plane, it was
easy to extrapolate, naively, that flying cars would be doable.

> The future didn't fizzle, the future has sizzle.

There have definitely been some fizzles, but overall I agree.


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