Back in the middle of the last century, Walt Disney and other scientists promised us an idyllic world. This technical heaven would magically appear when the calendar changed. The Twenty First Century became the trademark of the wonderful world it would be.
Highways would be marvelous carpets of technology that would guide us safely from point to point. There would no accidents because people would not be driving. Everything in the 21st century would be automatic.
I am not sure why we were going to put all of this effort into highways as we would have flying cars. To support them, every store, mall, house and other building would build complete landing and other facilities.
We would have lift nary a finger as robots would do all of our work for us. Ours would be a life of unbelievable ease and comfort. Even meals would be prepared in machines that would take about two seconds to pop one out after simply pushing a button.
Space travel would be the norm. Regular flights between Earth and the colonies on the moon and Mars would be like taking the Greyhound. Exploration would move well past Uranus and Jupiter.
Earth would be a Utopia. Wars would be a thing of the past. There would be a one world government. We would not even need money as all of mankind held hands and sang kumbyah.
This was supposed to have happened 10 years ago. I have been patient, I gave them an extra decade. But my patience it at an end.
What the hell happened? Were these people on future crack?
The highways have not changed at all. I mean literally. My grandpa bitched about the same potholes that now resemble archaeological digs.
Driving is not automatic but technology has definitely seeped in. Now a 90 pound housewife can pilot a 40 foot SUV while talking on the phone and texting the latest gossip. This greatly enhances our ability to be involved in an accident.
Which makes it a good thing that we did not get those flying cars. Can you imagine these women as well as drunks and the plethora of other kinds of idiots driving in three dimensions? Hell they cannot be bothered to look in the rearview mirror, let alone monitor traffic above and below them.
There might be one advantage. Cars probably would not have unneeded lifting power. So cars with 37 illegal immigrants in them could not get off the ground. Thus fewer people who were driving a donkey last week would create massive traffic jams because they can’t conceive of speeds over five miles an hour.
Computers and associated technologies have come a long way since UNIVAC. However machines are not doing our work for us. People in India are. It is not hard to determine if it is cheaper to build and maintain giant machines or pay a script-reading non-English speaker two chickens a day.
We do have a life of ease and comfort- as well as unemployment and high cholesterol. This is from doing nothing but watching endless repeats on HBO and playing World of Warcraft.
Food at the press of a button? That was has exceeded the vision. We don’t even have to do that much at the Wendy’s drive through. So I will concede one to the visionaries.
Space travel? We went the moon 40 years ago and, aside from shuttles that cannot leave Earth orbit, we have not even bothered to set up tents on the moon.
Utopia- that one is a punch line. We still have wars and crime and conflict. I have no idea why the prognosticators imagined that human nature would completely change in 50 years. Perhaps they thought LSD would be more popular than it has turned out to be.
Socialism is working toward a one world- at least a universal type- of government. This may accomplish the goal of a universal currency. But that won’t matter because none of us will have any money.
If mankind was to hold hands, we would all get the swine flu, e coli and a host of other infestations.
I can’t see how these intelligent men- scientists, authors, artists- could ever think these huge technical and social advances would happen by the time the new century arrived.
I don’t think they really did.
The 50’s and 60’s were decades of fear. The world had just survived the trauma of World War II. Before the dust had chance to settle, allies became enemies with terrible weapons in their hands. People in those times lived under the threat that, at any second, they would be turned to dust by an H-bomb.
Maybe the predictions of life in the 21st century were misplaced imaginings. It seems more likely that they were inspired by the hope that technology could accomplish what mankind was unable to do: to reach the dreams that were out of his reach.