We’ve been promised a future full of innovation and modern technological marvels for decades now.
But there’s still no bullet train to China through the earth’s core, and cars don’t fly. Let’s face it…


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Jet Packs: Personal transpor­tation to whisk us quickly and easily to our destination.

Foreseeable Problems: Accidents caused by inebriated jet packers on their way home from the bar.

The Reality: Overpriced, high-tech, inflatable sneakers that light up when we walk.

Space Flights of Fancy: Family outings on the space shuttle to Mars.

Foreseeable Problems: What the heck are you going to do in the barren, inhospitable environment of Mars?

The Reality: Family outings to the inhospitable environment of EuroDisney.

The Atomic Age: A virtually endless supply of cheap, clean energy to meet our needs into the far future.

Foreseeable Problems: Does the name Chernobyl ring a bell? How about Springfield or Homer Simpson?

The Reality: Solar powered calculators to figure out your bank balance after paying your gas and electricity bills. That is when the smog clears enough to power the thing.

Personal robot servants: Radio controlled butlers and maids to do all the menial chores around the house.

Foreseeable Problems: Most Americans haven’t even figured out how to program their vcr to stop flashing 12:00. How are they going to figure out how to control a complex mechanical robot?

The Reality: Undocumented aliens. And you thought trying to communicate with a machine was difficult.

Futuristic Clothing: Dirt-proof, fire-proof, indestructible, metallic jump suits with big pointy epaulets.

Foreseeable Problems: Besides the problems of stitching metal into anything wearable or remotely comfortable and being a walking lightning rod, let’s be honest, you’d look like a total dork.

The Reality: Baggy clothing, tattoos, nose piercing, and really, really bad haircuts.

Auto-Automobiles: Computer controlled cars that drive them­selves automatically on super freeways in the sky.

Foreseeable Problems: Have you ever had a computer that worked for more than 20 minutes before crashing? Now extrapo­late that to 50 million cars travelling at 100 plus miles per hour. Get the picture?

The Reality: Bumper to bumper traffic on pot hole cratered freeways and cars that talk to us as if we were children, “Door open”, “Low on fuel”, “Fasten seat belt,” “Sit up straight,” “Blow your nose.”

Disposable Everything: Easy and convenient, use an item once and throw it away.

Foreseeable Problems: Garbage dumps the size of New Jersey.

The Reality: Products so shabbily made that they don’t even last one use before they wind up in the trash bin.

Instant Education: Wear the Learn-a-tronic to bed and wake up with a college degree.

Foreseeable Problems: If everyone were college graduates who would clean the sewers?

The Reality: School curricula so mind-numbingly dull that you don’t so much learn while you sleep as sleep while you’re supposed to be learning.

The Cashless Society: All credit stored in a giant database accessed through a thumbprint and eyeball scan.

Foreseeable Problems: Armed robbery becomes an even nastier business as criminals supply a rather gruesome black market with eyeballs and severed thumbs.

The Reality: With inflation you need to carry ever larger amounts of cash just to buy a soda and a bag of chips.

Space Food: An entire roast beef dinner in an easy to store, take anywhere, handy lozenge.

Foreseeable Problems: The way people pop pills and scarf down peanuts, potato chips and bite sized junk food the problems of obesity would be off the scale, literally in some cases.

The Reality: Chicken McNuggets, tofu, Spam, and mini Oreo cookies.

America goes Metric: Calculations would be made simpler by adopting the globally established decimal metric system.

Foreseeable Problems: Football fields would have to be enlarged to accom­modate meters instead of yards making first downs and touchdowns harder to attain. In baseball, a 90 meter dinger just doesn’t seem as impressive as a 350 foot home run, does it?

The Reality: Just enough of both metric and the American standard systems so that no matter what size that nut or bolt you need to loosen you don’t have a wrench that fits.

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Leisure Through Automation: Machines do everything so we we only need to work one day a week.

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Foreseeable Problems: “Leisure” will probably boil down to slouching about in La-z-Boy recliners goggling TV for hours on end.

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The Reality: We just buy ever more crap on credit so everyone works even more, including the kids and family dog.

One World: The entire planet united in peace and prosperity colonizing the solar system.

Foreseeable Problems: How well is the UN working? Think things will get better any time soon?

The Reality: Countries breaking up into smaller and smaller bits. Look at a map of Yugoslavia from 1980. Now look at one from last year. Now look at one from last week.

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