Are we in a sci-fi future?
While browsing around on the BBC, I came acrossthis article on the predictions of science-fiction compared with reality. Personally, I wonder how people in (for example) the 1920s or 30s might have reacted to me typing this post – or talking on a mobile. Some of the basic ideas behind how my computer works were already understood by then – electricity and the electromagnetic spectrum – but there was still a long way to go. Quantum mechanics was still being developed and baffling scientists (Niels Bohr famously remarked that anyone who isn’t shocked by it doesn’t understand it – it is that strange), and nanotechnology hadn’t been invented, not even as a term – as a concept, it wasn’t invented until 1959 by Richard Feynman, and the term wasn’t coined until 1974 by Norio Tanaguchi.
As for flying cars or jetpacks, I personally think they are a Bad Idea, unless you want some idiot flying into the side of your house because they’re texting or drunk or both. Plus, add the extra kinetic energy into the crash, and you have a potential catastrophe just waiting to happen. And there is also the problem of fuel storage and how to get the things into the air – jetpacks have only room for a few seconds worth of the stuff, after which Newton’s Law of Gravitation kicks in. I know that I wouldn’t be getting in one of those any time soon!