So where are the flying cars?
This is the year that Marty McFly came to when he came “Back to the Future” in the second of the series of movies filmed in the late 1980s.
He encountered flying cars and other such stuff, most of which has not transpired.
What we got instead is a William Gibson version of the future – where we as people change, not in particular the external fixings.
Visionaries of the past painted a number futures for us, but most falling into two basic modes: external change, and internal.
Flying cars are part of the external change.
Computer technology, the internet, cyber warfare and the other stuff of William Gibson novels, are the other.
We, of course, are also getting a bit of the Mad Max, Waterworld or Tank Girl future, where we have so degraded the planet that we must use internal technology merely to survive.
Many of our leaders deny global warming because as Gore put it, it’s an inconvenient truth. But recent reports suggest that some leaders of the oil industry not only knew about the impacts, but embraced them, possibly altering the environment intentionally in order to access untapped reserves in places then frozen over near the North Pole.
I wouldn’t put it passed them.
But the technology itself scares me.
We keep talking about going green, and then expand our devices that depend on rare minerals we must wage wars to gain access to. The most recent example is the find of rare minerals under
We give up paper – which is a renewable resource – only to create mounds of unusable out of date computers. We replace the 100 watt filament light bulb with new energy efficient bulbs that when broken can puncture the skin and cause death, or spread poison into the soil of landfills that the old variety did not.
Still more terrifying is the use of cloud and other data storage to replace bound books and other material storage, creating a situation where everything human kind as gathered could be wiped out in even a small nuclear incident or some other cosmic disaster.
I’m told an asteroid is about to pass near by us even as I write this.
We’ve given up letter writing for emails –which vanish at will. In fact, we won’t soon be teaching cursive writing at all, which makes me wonder, how people will in the future sign documents? Will we have to use a retina scan or a thumb print, or will future generations degenerate to the X that our less educated ancestors used?
The FAA finally put limits on larger drones, adding one more page to the chapter called ‘What the hell were they thinking when they unleashed this piece of crap on the world?”
While all this might make me sound like I'm anti-technology, in truth, technology isn’t often an improvement – it is often merely a change.
Some technology serves to create problems and provide the cure for the problem it creates – such as the assembly line – which set the stage for rapid Nazi weapons development, and later allowed
to overcome both German and Japanese military
advances. But ultimately, workers trained for assembly lines got replaced by
robots, or slave labor in other countries. Now, the trend is to train kids to
embrace technology, jobs that will vanish the way assembly line jobs did as
soon as we perfect artificial intelligence. America
This is also a week where we here in
have embraced things like Uber taxis and Airbnb, building a network of
convenience for some and lack of regulation for others. Uber exists partly
because traditional taxi services failed to embrace new technology. Airbnb
exists because government cannot control the one basic principle behind all
these so called technological improvements: human greed. Jersey City
Karl Marx mistakenly believed that workers would eventually unite to overthrow corporate masters. He was wrong on two key points. He said people can control the means of production and then have power. But people never have control long, and Marx also failed to see that people do not want to revolt, most want to become the masters. This was also the failing of Franklin and Jefferson when the government allotted plots of land to settlers in the
, only to find some bought or stole lots assigned to
others in order to build petty empires. Ohio Valley
We cannot overcome the basic flaw and perhaps we are foolish if we try.
So where are the flying cars? They’ll be here when people really want them. For now, we’re happy with an Uber app.