Where Is My Jet Pack?!

A post inspired by a similar plaintive rant on The Intersection of People and Process, a blog I stumbled across in one of those serendipitous Twitter-speditions

For years I have been saying "Where's my jet pack?!"

All that exposure to the Jetsons and Star Trek, and a lot of science fiction consumption thanks to the library, had me thinking that by now I’d be zooming around the skies using my personal jet device, probably dressed all in snow-white Lycra and go-go boots to boot. (OK, so in some ways the future was cheesy.)

We'd get dinner in a pill (Willy Wonka gets some of the credit for my belief in this).

My doctor would use a tricorder, like Bones.

Robots would do the housekeeping and dirty work.

We’d have enormous computers that had all the knowledge of the world organized and you’d be able to ask the computer questions and get answers, albeit in a flat monotone. Maybe between Google and Siri we’re on our way there, but the answers to my questions aren’t as easy to figure out as I thought they’d be.

A voracious reader, I thought we'd have something that let us carry around a million books in a small device. Voila--the Kindle!

We would have space travel. And time travel. And a terraformed Mars.

While I didn't analyze the question specifically, I did assume the future would be bright, shiny clean, with blue skies and puffy clouds. We would have solved the problems of pollution and waste disposal in a way that made everything great for everyone, including animals and particularly dolphins, since by then we would have learned to communicate with them, and the "Crying Indian" (who wasn't really Indian) would no longer be sad.

My picture of the future didn't have hunger, poverty, homelessness, or illiteracy in it. In that future people—and aliens—would all be treated equally and no one would discriminate against others merely for the color of their skin, their gender, who they loved, or the number of tentacles on their appendages. So I am clearly not living in the future.

That world would probably also have flying unicorns.

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