It’s interesting how things change and the future is so unpredictably. When I was growing up and watching science programmes like Tomorrows World on the telly no-one predicted the Internet, email, Google and Social Networking, the phenomenal leap in computing power, mobile phones or even 50inch flatscreen tvs. The world of tomorrow was all about hovercars and living on Mars.
We now think of a connection to the internet as a service in much the same way as water, gas and electricity, at least in the Western nations , it’s a far cry from the ‘good ole days’ of Compuserve (US) and CIX (UK) in the late eighties when the Internet was unheard of outside academia.
During the time when I was using CIX (and co-incidentally a British scientist, Tim Berners-Lee was writing a paper on Hyper-Text Protocol which paved the way for the web) there was a very popular movie out call Back To The Future. Nearly all of you will be familiar with it but I wonder just how many of you remember that in the first leap forward Marty went ahead to 2015? It’s not long until then and I don’t know about you lot but I’ve as yet to see hoverboards for sale in the shops as yet and there’s not even any prototypes floating around.. I suspect it’s going to be quite a while longer before we get to see hover boards and the big problem is that scientists and researchers don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle.
They understand quite a few of the laws of physics and Newton’s laws of motion enables NASA to send probes deep into space but the fundamental problem is gravity, the same force that brought that apple down for Newton all those years ago and kicked off his Universal Law of Gravitation hasn’t been solved, we know that gravity exists or at least have a theory about this force called gravity but no-one has managed to figure it all out, develop anti-gravity and put it in a box for sale. Personally I don’t think gravity exists, I think the earth simply sucks.
I know the Japanese bullet trains hover but that’s magnetic force as opposed to antigravity, I suppose a kind of pseudo-antigravity. We can store electricity in batteries and force in a flywheel but I can’t pop down to Sainsburys and ask for a six-pack of gravity because no-one can press a button and switch on gravity – except in Sci-Fi movies. This is somewhat disappointing as according to Tomorrows World we should all have our personal flying cars by now (and hoverboards as well). We should be able to attach a small device to a heavy object, press a button and it becomes weightless.
Predicting tomorrows world needs a leap of imagination to bring in the world of Star Trek but there’s one or two things from Star Trek that have pitched up much sooner than expected. In Star Trek the crew could communicate with each other easily no matter how far away they where from each other and we can do that today just as easily with our mobile phones and even for free with Skype and a webcam, in fact I don’t actually remember the communicators on Star Trek having camera’s, music players, organisers and a zillion other apps that we have available now. And don’t forget that strange language we all have learnt called txt.
And then there’s the pads some pretty short skirted female (never male) crew member always handed to Captain Kirk to sign, now we have iPads that do a hell of a lot more than just be an electronic clipboard, now we have emails, movies, photos and even Angry Birds all in the palm of our hands..but I am missing my pretty short skirted female to hand it to me ;)