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View Full Version : Dude, where's my jetpack?



pendell
2009-10-27, 07:28 AM
Bill Willingham (http://bighollywood.breitbart.com/bwillingham/2009/10/25/ive-seen-the-future-and-it-is-safe/) ponders the future -- which does not have jetpacks or flying cars -- and wonders where they are.

He actually has some good pictures at his site, having discovered that, in fact, jetpacks and flying cars do exist, but never went to market because they're not safe.

Unfortunately, the essay and the photos are just too lengthy to cut a good snippet -- so I'll just point you to the link and suggest pondering it.

I agree with his last paragraph, especially:



But let me close with one cautionary note. In all of Niven’s stories set in Known Space there was ever only one interesting Puppeteer character, the one who was insane enough to have a sense of adventure and daring. We haven’t quite wiped out the human need for adventure, daring and a desire to face danger. Far from it. Some may argue that we can’t ever fully exorcise that from the human condition, and I pray that’s true. But I have no doubt that we’re on the terrible path to “safety above all else.” I have no doubt that too many of us, including the majority who seek political power over us, subscribe to the safety gospel (probably because safety and under-control are synonymous — freedom being such a messy thing). But the distinguished Mr. Niven has shown us, maybe unintentionally, one thing, if we’re prepared to see it: we can’t be both safe and interesting.

I vote for interesting.


Respectfully,

Brian P.

Trog
2009-10-27, 09:23 AM
I don't want flying cars - I just want land speeders (:smallbiggrin:) as not having to deal with road conditions would be nice. Flying cars always struck me as something that would be a huge mess. I mean look at all the accidents that happen with planes and those have people on the ground guiding them in. Can you imagine what it would be like if all the jerks on the road today were flying instead of driving? It would add a whole new dimension to be horrible in. I say no thanks. If the police and emergency vehicles fly though that's fine. So I'd like a mix between Star Wars and Blade Runner, basically.

Anuan
2009-10-27, 09:28 AM
So I'd like a mix between Star Wars and Blade Runner, basically.

You and every self-respectng geek, Trog :smalltongue:

Kcalehc
2009-10-27, 09:41 AM
The problem with flying cars, is not that they are unsafe for the user, but that they could be particularly unsafe for someone landed (or crashed) on by one.

Safety concerns should be about protecting us from each other, but still allowing the individual to be responsible for their own follies. Alas this is not the case; but the flying car fits fairly well into the former category - how to protect others from its misuse.

McBish
2009-10-27, 11:35 AM
How about these (http://www.geeksaresexy.net/2009/01/30/introducing-the-new-awesome-way-to-fly/), I want to see these things more often. That would satisfy my want of jet packs for awhile.

Myshlaevsky
2009-10-27, 11:38 AM
The best band name I've ever heard was We Were Promised Jetpacks. You've added a whole new element of social critique to that one, pendell :smalltongue:.

pendell
2009-10-27, 11:47 AM
How about these (http://www.geeksaresexy.net/2009/01/30/introducing-the-new-awesome-way-to-fly/), I want to see these things more often. That would satisfy my want of jet packs for awhile.

I WANT ONE!



You've added a whole new element of social critique to that one, pendell


Yup. 'They' lived up to their promise. Lots of inventors have come up with jetpacks, flying cars, etc. But the world doesn't want 'em -- the future may have jetpacks, but the future also has sue-happy people with dollar signs in their eyes.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Mando Knight
2009-10-27, 12:15 PM
Yup. 'They' lived up to their promise. Lots of inventors have come up with jetpacks, flying cars, etc. But the world doesn't want 'em -- the future may have jetpacks, but the future also has sue-happy people with dollar signs in their eyes.

Exactly. The aerospace industry has been trying to tell people that for years, but the people who don't have the same temperament as test pilots or inventors (i.e. completely nuts hot-blooded people) don't want to fly to the moon with computers less powerful than their cell phone. They want to go around with rockets strapped to their backs and expect to not die if they mess up their trajectory. And they don't want to have to do all of the "boring calculations" beforehand, either.:smallannoyed:

Starscream
2009-10-27, 01:28 PM
I want a hoverboard. C'mon Mattel, make my dreams come true.

Though frankly, I'd settle for those "power laces" shoes. They don't look like they'd be that hard to make, I'll have to look into that...

Interestingly, that lenticular rainbow hat he wears is available. My step brother has one.

potatocubed
2009-10-27, 01:44 PM
One of my favourite 'the future is here now' things is Miku Hatsune. She is, more or less, a virtual idol - a singer, voice actress, and general media personality, despite not actually being a real human being at all. I just find it interesting that her existence as an entity independent of her creators or users is, if not acknowledged, then at least considered by some. Social futurism, if not technological.

bosssmiley
2009-10-27, 07:15 PM
You have a combined telephone/camera/computer/GPS sensor/inertial motion tracker/media player in your pocket with more power than a desktop PC had a few years ago, or than the entire Apollo space programme did!
A team of scientists recently worked out how to foam titanium so that bone, if broken, will grow over and meld with the titanium as it heals.
The guys are CERN are reheating the LHC for great fundamental physics justice.
We (finally) have aircraft capable of VTOL and supersonic vectored thrust flight, about 40 years after the Brits canned the original project.
NASA just tried to launch the rocket that replaces the Space Shuttle.
You can buy an electric car, or vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells, or by biofuels.
The Japanese unveiled a humanoid robot in 2000.
We have put men on the moon and probes on Mars.
Russia is a democracy, China has a capitalist economy, and India has a space programme!
Genetic and stem cell research are a generation away from curing many of our inherited ills.
We are two months away from entering the year 2010!

Read some mid-century sci-fi (Asimov, Clarke, Bradbury, etc.): we are living in the future! The problem with 'the future' is that it's a state of mind; not the world you and I live in today.

Trog
2009-10-27, 07:20 PM
And don't forget about the advancements in robotics. This one (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67CUudkjEG4&feature=player_embedded) is my current fave. :smallbiggrin:

SDF
2009-10-27, 11:53 PM
How about these (http://www.geeksaresexy.net/2009/01/30/introducing-the-new-awesome-way-to-fly/), I want to see these things more often. That would satisfy my want of jet packs for awhile.

Holy crap, it is Mario Sunshine!


You have a combined telephone/camera/computer/GPS sensor/inertial motion tracker/media player in your pocket with more power than a desktop PC had a few years ago, or than the entire Apollo space programme did!
A team of scientists recently worked out how to foam titanium so that bone, if broken, will grow over and meld with the titanium as it heals.
The guys are CERN are reheating the LHC for great fundamental physics justice.
We (finally) have aircraft capable of VTOL and supersonic vectored thrust flight, about 40 years after the Brits canned the original project.
NASA just tried to launch the rocket that replaces the Space Shuttle.
You can buy an electric car, or vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells, or by biofuels.
The Japanese unveiled a humanoid robot in 2000.
We have put men on the moon and probes on Mars.
Russia is a democracy, China has a capitalist economy, and India has a space programme!
Genetic and stem cell research are a generation away from curing many of our inherited ills.
We are two months away from entering the year 2010!

Read some mid-century sci-fi (Asimov, Clarke, Bradbury, etc.): we are living in the future! The problem with 'the future' is that it's a state of mind; not the world you and I live in today.

The cell phone is still probably the most amazing thing. I can talk to anyone almost anywhere. I can have an immediate answer to almost anything I could ever want to know (wikipedia is only 8 years old people) I can take a video and instantly send it to a friend so he can see what I just saw. I can buy and listen or read every song or book ever recorded/written. I can find my exact location on the earth and the exact route to take to go wherever I want to go. I can know the time/date anywhere on earth, and set alarms to wake me or remind me of something. I can determine the wind speed for rifle scope adjustments. (yes, there is an app for that) I have instant access to all world news. It has a freaking metronome function! And so many other things I haven't even listed. If the cell phone doesn't just make you want to crap yourself with how awesome it is go back to eating your government cheese because you will never be happy.

Crixon
2009-10-28, 08:09 AM
One thing that i dont understand is why everyone is so suprised that the apollo spacecraft didnt have powerful computers, they didnt really need it, earth said this is where you need to go, set your dials and go, they didnt need super computers when they had math! :P But ya i would not want to live in a world where flying cars are avalible to the general public .... i mean hell most people can barely drive a regular car properly.

Moff Chumley
2009-10-28, 07:32 PM
I want a jetpack... :smallfrown:

AtomicKitKat
2009-10-28, 08:10 PM
I just want a hoverboard too. Even if it never goes more than 1-2 feet off the ground. Admittedly, I can see how subways might get a little antsy about security, and they might have to make sure people don't get decapitated with low-hanging signs, but come on, that's what you have security staff and helmets, respectively, for.