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  1. #1
    IWantMyHAL9000 Freedomfighter

    Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit

    A secret question hovers over us, a sense of disappointment, a broken promise we were given as children about what our adult world was supposed to be like. I am referring not to the standard false promises that children are always given (about how the world is fair, or how those who work hard shall be rewarded), but to a particular generational promise—given to those who were children in the fifties, sixties, seventies, or eighties—one that was never quite articulated as a promise but rather as a set of assumptions about what our adult world would be like. And since it was never quite promised, now that it has failed to come true, we’re left confused: indignant, but at the same time, embarrassed at our own indignation, ashamed we were ever so silly to believe our elders to begin with.

    Where, in short, are the flying cars? Where are the force fields, tractor beams, teleportation pods, antigravity sleds, tricorders, immortality drugs, colonies on Mars, and all the other technological wonders any child growing up in the mid-to-late twentieth century assumed would exist by now? Even those inventions that seemed ready to emerge—like cloning or cryogenics—ended up betraying their lofty promises. What happened to them?

    We are well informed of the wonders of computers, as if this is some sort of unanticipated compensation, but, in fact, we haven’t moved even computing to the point of progress that people in the fifties expected we’d have reached by now. We don’t have computers we can have an interesting conversation with, or robots that can walk our dogs or take our clothes to the Laundromat.

    http://www.thebaffler.com/past/of_flying_cars/

    (via Metafilter - http://www.metafilter.com/116772/sov...y-and-taxation)

  2. #2
    FreedomFighter Freedomfighter
    Some of those things are impossible. But computing has far exceeded most of the predictions of the fifties. Robby the Robot was built in the far future. We'll have something like him by 2030, except for his magic power to create lead and liquor by conversion of the elements. Flying cars are prevented by our safety fanaticism. In the wild world of the 19th century there would be many companies selling expensive small aircraft. It's the FAA that makes every control, bolt and instrument on an airplane cost a fortune.

  3. #3
    FreedomFighter Freedomfighter
    INexpensive

  4. #4
    McFly Freedomfighter
    What's a colony on Mars for? If you can't answer that you have the answer to why it was never built.

    It's not like we're running out of room on Earth. Canada is mostly empty and it's a lot more habitable than Mars.

  5. #5
    FreedomFighter Freedomfighter
    This guy blames free market capitalism for the ever growing bureaucracy when most of that bureaucracy is either mandated by government regulation or designed to defend against regulation and litigation. For example HR departments are defensive measures because it's now difficult to fire people. Fire a woman and it's sexual discrimination, or maybe she'll cook up some sexual harassment charges. Fire a handicapped person, the ADA kicks in. Fire a minority, it's racism, by god! So everything must be documented, filed, stamped, indexed, vetted and numbered.

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