the Fairgame Archive

2006-03-13: How is it living in the future?
by Emily

Well, I like the view.

I was looking at the above link to GoogleMars and found the site of the first human-made object that landed there, the Soviet Mars 2 Lander.  It was launched in 1971, the year I was born. And now, here I am, clicking on callouts at my bloody desk at work, checking it out.

And then, just this a.m. I listened to a piece on NPR about nanotechnology in cosmetics.  So far, living in the future seems pretty mundane.

But, no giant robots yet. I'll be on the look out for some more future shock.

2006-03-13 19:02:06 Chris

Really?  I'm still struggling with the fact that 12 year old kids EXPECT to have cell phones.  (and the rapid disappearance of public payphones...)  Or that adolescent boys need no longer sneak their older brother's Playboys, but can simply turn on their computers.  Or that, by looking on a picture from Google Earth, I can see what my friend's garden in the backyard looks like...

So far I think we've done a good job of avoiding massive scale future shock, though if we look back at just the last 2 decades... wow.

2006-03-13 19:09:20 Meguey

Big nodding head with both of you. I mean, iPods? The new Origami computer? Plasma TV? Crazy-future.

2006-03-13 22:48:43 Matt Wilson

I was thinking about being in high school and having albums on vinyl and that our computer was an IBM PCjr with a whole 256K of RAM and no hard drive.

The first time I had an email address I was 23. And the first time I knew about stuff like html web pages I was 24.

2006-03-14 00:05:41 RobMuadib

Umm, the future sucks (Born jan 5 '72 here.) Everything's too expensive, energy is too expensive (Where's the Cold Fusion and Microwave Energy Solar Arrays in space, the free electricity), no flying cars, Dumb-asses now have an excuse to TALK TO LOUD about shit I have no interest in public. I am old and fat, and so is most of america it turns out, and they have yet to come up with the cloning and nano-tech and robotics to build me a new body, and another thing NO CAT-GIRLS. The future suxxors! Oh yeah, too much war, and we aren't spending money on building awesome military machines and super-fighter-interceptors piloted by jacked in pilots with Drone swarms, and no Mechs, or giant cybernetic tanks, or vector thrust interceptors or anything cool. It's just dudes shooting at each other with tuned-up 30 year old assault rifles, and tuned up 20 yeard old tanks, lame.

But the Pron is nice, and the easy access to media. Too bad there is STILL nothing good on TV, no matter how many channels there are. But it's not all bad, in the future, I can share my whining with other people with incredible ease!


2006-03-14 00:16:17 Fang Langford

If you want the origins of Giant Robot technology, try

Fang Langford

2006-03-14 14:10:42 Emily

And they are working on making a mental typewriter and wearable computers.

2006-03-14 15:09:43 Vincent

See also: Boston Dynamics' Big Dog.

(Link to a blog entry by our own Ninja J, click through to a .wmv of the thing in action.)

2006-03-14 16:40:46 Gregor Hutton

Yeah, when I was young we were coming off the back of the moon landings (born '72) and there was going to be a Space Shuttle and loads of Space Stations. There were even personal jet packs back then on the TV and at public shows—surely we'd all have them in about 10-20 years...

Instead of replicants and jet packs we have tiny mobile phones with GBs of memory, iPods, the internet and instant phone calls from Europe to the US to China and Australia.

Who knew?!

And, heh, Google Mars would so totally have helped me with my painted Mars maps if I'd used it. D'oh!

2006-03-14 17:20:46 anon.

For some really awesome and thought-provoking visions of the Future, check out Holy Fire (Issues: aging, art, heirarchical governments. Shock: medical immortality) and Distraction (Issues: American politics, decentralization of society, the Military-Industrial Complex. Shocks: Human cloning, ubiquitous information) by Bruce Sterling.

The Future used to be something we were just going to see. It was going to happen to us somehow. It turns out we have to buy it.

2006-03-14 21:07:13 anon.

Flying cars.  Where are the flying cars?  or actually, where are cars that can run on something besides gasoline?  The internal combustion engine has been around forever.  Couldn't we do better than that?



2006-03-15 17:27:09 Michael S. Miller

Hey, I can pay for my gas (in my outdated engine) by waving my keychain at the gas pump. That floors me every time!

But this also means that those personalized advertisments they put in Minority Report are also coming for us. That's going to suck big time.

'Course, when I was a kid, people would end every other comment about the future with "if we don't blow ourselves up before then." I don't hear that as much any more, although has it's likelihood (esp. WRT environmental collapse, etc.) really gone down? Are we really going to make it to the future?

2006-03-15 18:39:38 John Laviolette

I have mixed feelings about this, because I was born in '63, and I remember the moon landing. It totally jazzed me about science, reason, science fiction and the future.

Having some things like flip cell phones (Star Trek communicators) or portable computers, while not having other things like flying cars or a moon base, *that* I can deal with, even if it makes me a little nostalgic for the future that never was. But things like big business co-opting the wonders of science and implimenting them in ways that damage people and our world, and the resulting wide-spread attitudes of anti-science, anti-rationalism and anti-progress that they created, *these* things bother me.

This is not the future I dreamed, not the future I wanted to make.

2006-03-16 21:17:15 Vincent

Here's another good one: a swimming snake robot. The video's in Japanese but I watched it with the sound off anyway.

2006-03-16 23:49:19 anon.

Dammit, I prefer to look backwards. Here is Tom Baker and the actress who played Romana with their powerful computer.

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