• April 1, 2015

Iowa State Daily

Maxwell: Why is the future so far away?

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Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 4:29 pm, Tue Apr 16, 2013.

It is ridiculous many people seem to think we live in an amazing time in human history and the current rate technology is advancing is unbelievable. Nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, we are clearly not advancing fast enough. The future is still too far away.

As members of modern society, we should not tolerate the current lack of progress in science and technology. We have been promised throughout history we would be experiencing amazing things by now. It is wrong for us to have been given so much hope and excitement for what the future holds, only to later have those promises broken.

Many critics have rightfully expressed the disappointment felt by most of us regarding the arrival of the future and somewhat astonishingly, this has been the subject of public outcry dating as far back as 1989, appearing in the comic strip "Calvin and Hobbes." Hobbes mentions a new decade is approaching. Calvin wisely retorts “Yeah, big deal! Hmph. Where are the flying cars? Where are the moon colonies? Where are the personal robots and the zero-gravity boots, huh? You call this a new decade?! You call this the future?? HA! Where are the rocket packs? Where are the disintegration rays? Where are the floating cities?"

Calvin is absolutely right. Why is the future taking so long? What else are we spending our time on? At least if we create a time machine, we could go to the future and steal an idea or two to help us get started. Unfortunately, time machines are only available to a very limited number of people.

Recreational space travel has also been largely unavailable for public use. We are still being denied the ability to take trips to distant civilizations, which is a major reason Earth is not taken seriously by most other races within our galaxy. Progress in space-time manipulation has been painfully slow, though scientists seem to know it is something they should be working harder on. Appropriately, they recently spent $7.5 billion to build a huge particle accelerator, 27 kilometers in diameter, in Europe underground. At least we can be assured researchers know how to spend money for the sake of our future.

The lack of technological progress is sometimes glaringly obvious. For example, it is ridiculous we are still required to drive our own cars. Equally as shocking, robots are hardly ever seen helping people. The only thing robots have really been able to do for us is vacuum and they cannot even do that well. Every day, we are repeatedly reminded we are still required to eat our food, rather than take our meals in pill form.

Overall, the most disappointing failure of modern times is the absence of Hoverboards. Though Hoverboards have only been documented fairly recently in comparison to flying cars and personal robot assistants, many adults still express grief resulting from shattered dreams of owning a Hoverboard. Truly this is a real tragedy, because among all the inventions of the future, Hoverboards would have the greatest impact on the quality of life for every human on the planet and would have the largest potential to save many people’s lives.

Although the present is bleak and primitive in comparison to the future, there is a way for us to gain hope. We do not have to endure such constant frustration at the lack of actual technological advancement, if efforts are focused on creating another invention promised to us — the ability to be cryogenically frozen. Once people are able to suspend themselves in ice, the clumsy progress of science and technology can become tolerable. Essentially, we would finally be able to wake up in the future. Surely, it would be worth the wait, though unfortunately, it may be awhile before we get there.


Alexander Maxwell is a senior in computer engineering from Monterey, Calif.

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