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07 January 2010 @ 01:21 am
[Poll] Is It Tomorrow Yet?  
I have been watching All Things Kirk and Spock lately, including some of the original-cast movies. Which means that recently I saw The Wrath of Khan. Now, I've talked before about my history with the pivotal scene in that movie, but to summarize: first time I saw it, in Killa's vid Dante's Prayer, Best Beloved had to narrate the whole thing for me so I knew what was going on, and I didn't get why she was teary. Later, after I came to know Spock through fan fiction, I was the one getting teary. This time? Watching it in the actual movie? COMPLETE MELTDOWN. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed, and I knew what was coming. But - SPOCK. SPOCK! And then Kirk loses it in an elevator. Oh my GOD.

But that is not my point. (I just can't talk about anything without talking about Spock these days.) My point is that I realized, watching that movie, that it seemed totally reasonable to the makers of it that by 1996 we would have:
  • Genetic engineering of complex traits in humans
  • Long-term cryogenics from which you could reliably be, you know, unfrozen
  • Prolonged deep space trips featuring (frozen) humans
Those of you who remember 1996 (and if you do, think on this: there are now teenagers whose excuse for not remembering 1996 is that they weren't born yet) will probably also recall that we did not have any of those things then. And, in fact, we don't have them now. And it's not like we're expecting them next year, either.

This, taken in conjunction with a recent post on my friends list, made me think about the future. Are we in it?

(For extra credit, please list your favorite Signs of the Future (either realized or not) in the comments.)

Poll #1508335 Is the future now?

Is it the future yet?

Yes. It's 2010. LOOK at that year! Obviously it's the future!
Yes. I can respond to this poll while I'm climbing Denali. It's the future.
No. No future without flying cars.
No. I refuse to believe that the future could look like this.
Actually, it's your future, but it's my past. It's... complicated.

Do we have robots yet?

Why, yes! How else do you get your floors clean?
It doesn't count as a robot if you don't have to get into a complex ethical debate about its consciousness.
It doesn't count as a robot unless it's trying to take over and kill us all.

Do we have cloning yet?

DOLLY. Obviously.
It isn't cloning until I can order up two dozen copies of myself in a drunken shopping spree.
It isn't cloning until there's the distinct possibility of clone wars.

Do we have miraculous reproductive science yet?

Yes. IVF! 24-week preemies who grow up hale and healthy!
It's not a reproductive miracle until I can opt to grow my offspring in a uterine replicator.
It's not a reproductive miracle until I can program my offspring and bypass all this disgusting meat.

Do we have spaceflight yet?

Yes. Spirit Rover!
We don't have spaceflight until I can get the fuck off this rock.
We don't have spaceflight until there's Saturn's rings eco-tourism.

Do we have genetic engineering yet?

Yes! Genetically modified foods! Glowing things that don't traditionally glow!
It isn't genetic engineering until I can pick my offspring's traits off a menu, like a delicious enchilada combo.
It isn't genetic engineering until someone has a superpower and is preparing to take over the earth.
Mal: sg1 gate by diernemalnpudl on January 7th, 2010 09:55 am (UTC)
Huh. I am a middle-button girl. Consistently. I suspect that has a lot to do with the SF authors I read most heavily when I was a teenager -- Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, Sturgeon. According to the pictures they painted in my mind, we ain't there yet.
Vanilla  ... Spiked with Slivovitz: age brings wisdom by cincodemaygirljenna_thorn on January 7th, 2010 02:28 pm (UTC)
Heh, I was just thinking, all my buttons were top buttons and I wonder if it isn't age-related, not so much the scifi influences, since I read Heinlein too, but I remember black and white tv and when it went off at midnight, replaced by a high pitched tone and a static picture or, later, the waving flag, and I was a teen when we got our first microwave and we were such early adopters of the vcr technology that we bought a beta.
(no subject) - malnpudl on January 7th, 2010 08:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jenna_thorn on January 7th, 2010 08:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tzikeh on January 10th, 2010 10:41 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 08:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tzikeh on January 10th, 2010 10:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jenna_thorn on January 11th, 2010 07:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
worryingly jolly batman: sad robotslabellementeuse on January 7th, 2010 10:00 am (UTC)
I'm not ashamed to say it: I clicked "Yes" to the reproductive miracle question just so I could feel like I, personally, am a reproductive miracle, although I think non-test-tube reproduction is pretty miraculous already.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV brownthefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 08:46 pm (UTC)
You are a reproductive miracle! (And must especially have been for your parents - IVF is a hard, hard row to hoe.)

Actually, having done the thing where you start out with two cells and end up with an ACTUAL HUMAN BEING, I have to agree: reproduction is always a miracle. IFV is amazing, and micropreemies who survive are amazing, but just babies are amazing. Wow.
cranberryink: 0: calvin tvcranberryink on January 7th, 2010 10:07 am (UTC)
Though I watched a LOT of Star Trek growing up, I confess that my vision of the future comes more from The Jetsons. When I have a flying car and I can eat my meals in capsule form, we're in the future.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV dogtagsthefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 08:50 pm (UTC)
The funny part is that I've never seen The Jetsons, and yet I still firmly believe that it isn't the future without a flying car. (Meals in pill form I can live without.)

And possibly you didn't imprint on Star Trek because you didn't want your future to be ENTIRELY RED AND GREY. Not that I am judging the set designers or anything. Not at ALL.
(no subject) - lknomad on January 13th, 2010 05:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Neeryneery on January 7th, 2010 10:33 am (UTC)
It's not the future until I can cheaply and conveniently access the internet anywhere I want to, so I'd say it'll be the future in about... two years? ;)

I'm going to be very disappointed if we don't get space tourism while I'm still young and healthy enough to go up there, though. I'd also like a car with an environmentally-friendly energy source, and the ability to pick my offspring's gender. Sadly, it doesn't look like teleportation will happen in my lifetime (now that REALLY would be the future).
ReginaGiraffereginagiraffe on January 7th, 2010 03:20 pm (UTC)
the ability to pick my offspring's gender.

This is already technically possible. It is possible to separate Y sperm from X sperm. The beef/milk industry does it now. The beef people want all males (more meat) and the milk people want all females (more milk).

The issue with humans is an ethical one. At this point in time, the prevailing view (among lawmakers and scientists) is that it is unethical to make this choice. (Please note I make no moral judgement myself.)
(no subject) - msilverstar on January 7th, 2010 04:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - reginagiraffe on January 7th, 2010 06:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - adina_atl on January 7th, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - aethel on January 8th, 2010 04:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dzurlady on January 8th, 2010 10:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - inalasahl on January 7th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ubixtiz on January 10th, 2010 11:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 08:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
christycorr on January 7th, 2010 10:38 am (UTC)
Star Trek fic has made me decide that I want replicators more than flying cars. Seriously.
Rat Creature: steampunkratcreature on January 7th, 2010 11:16 am (UTC)
Yes, if I got replicators, I'd forgive the lack of flying cars. Maybe even the depressing lack of household robots.
(no subject) - vampirespider on January 7th, 2010 12:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - christycorr on January 7th, 2010 06:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jenna_thorn on January 7th, 2010 02:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - angevin2 on January 7th, 2010 08:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 08:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
A Fandom Butterfly: AS - Toreth paybackchinawolf on January 7th, 2010 10:40 am (UTC)
I have been getting the feeling in the last two years or so that yes, we are now arriving in the age I had always thought of as "future", both in technological and international politics terms.

My markers:
- the US is in war over resources.
- China is becoming hard to predict in the past year. This is a subject of great worry for me since I cannot predict any more how China is going to develop in the next 30 years. I had thought there was only one way this could go - well - but the possibility of the return of the 20th century model of the earth divided in to blocks is not out of the question any longer. Very scary.
- almost all countries are at least deliberating how to spy on their citizens to make sure they don't commit copyright violations on the internets. Three strikes lays are already on the books in some countries.
- Gmail, Zoho, Flickr - people are starting to save their data to the cloud exclusively.
- Google Wave is being talked about as the future of News Media
- Twitter and how far into normal (not geek) society it reaches.
- google goggles (hello, Hitchhiker's)
- touchable holography is being researched (hello, Star Trek)
- gene therapy can, in certain cases, "cure" blindness.
- the climate crisis is, forgive the pun, heating up, ever since the Stern Report in the UK (hello, reality check I knew was coming since I was an eco-obsessed teenager)
- people (as in, everyone) are becoming aware that there is a need for alternative energy sources because the oil IS going to run out within out lifetimes.
- it's becoming cheaper to store data on ever bigger harddrives rather than burn it onto dvds / other dead storage media. (I'm sure storage on crystals is just around the corner)
- you can now get your genome sequenced, and it's going to become really cheap quite soon, too. http://www.personalgenomes.org/ (hello, Gattaca. >_>)

(Yes, I may be keeping a list of the moments when I get the eerie feeling that the future is already happening. I'm a giant nerd.)

I don't know if you've ever read Otherland by Tad Williams? He has, at the beginning of each chapter, a so called "netfeed", with different news of the day, which sometimes is related to the plot of the book, but mostly just illustrates the ca. 2050 world. Not only can news now be accessed just like the "netfeed" in an RSS reader, much of the content is also slowly happening. No disasters with nano-bots eating our carpets instead of cleaning them yet, no floating-on-the-ocean cities as extensions of real ones yet, but it's been ten years since these books were my one and all and it's fascinating to watch as slowly, our Real World is becoming more and more like the one depicted in Otherland.

No spaceflight or flying cars yet. But! From what I can gather, if we *wanted* to (and public opinion is very much against it, there are studies), cars that drive themselves are not far off. The technology is already getting there.

I for one think the beginning of the future at least is already here.
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(no subject) - chinawolf on January 7th, 2010 11:44 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - chinawolf on January 7th, 2010 11:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
future - laceymcbain on January 7th, 2010 07:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 08:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Karen: Nigmaodditycollector on January 7th, 2010 10:48 am (UTC)
Yes, we've been living in the future for a couple years now. But wait until you see what happens *next*.
tried to eat the safe banana: Little Citythefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 08:58 pm (UTC)
I am not sure I want to see what happens next. (Although, obviously, that's preferable to the alternative.) Does it involve something exploding?
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tried to eat the safe banana: Orbitalthefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 08:59 pm (UTC)
3001 is just cheating. OH HAI I CAN ADD A THOUSAND TO ANY NUMBER. *judges the makers of that movie harshly*
Very inconvenient, as now I have no shaving-glassdzurlady on January 7th, 2010 11:15 am (UTC)
We are like part way to the future, in some middle ground. It's definitely not the past.
Very inconvenient, as now I have no shaving-glass: Am I alive yet? - dzurladydzurlady on January 7th, 2010 11:30 am (UTC)
Maybe we are pregnant with the future? (Probably we should quit smoking and eat more vegetables, if so.)
(no subject) - lunabee34 on January 7th, 2010 12:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - julietk on January 7th, 2010 01:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 09:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dzurlady on January 11th, 2010 07:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
Altariel: Baddiesaltariel on January 7th, 2010 11:45 am (UTC)
It ain't the future until I'm fighting a brutal totalitarian space empire from a super-spaceship crewed by people decked out in '70s fashions.
I have a mitten and a chicken puppet!: indiana jones - snakes on a planetzikeh on January 7th, 2010 06:17 pm (UTC)
Oh, God, let it never be the future.
(no subject) - jenna_thorn on January 7th, 2010 08:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 09:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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tried to eat the safe banana: Orbitalthefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 09:01 pm (UTC)
Why, thank you! *beams*
Sue30toseoul on January 7th, 2010 12:03 pm (UTC)
I had a moment closely resembling your first poll question over the holidays: being pretty goddamn irritated with my best friend in Montreal when she wouldn't quit texting and video chatting with her idiot boyfriend in Antarctica. It's definitely the future for that category.
tried to eat the safe banana: Orbitalthefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 09:02 pm (UTC)
I know you will scoff openly at me, but I was kinda hoping that the future would be - you know. Less rude. SHUT UP I AM ALLOWED TO HOPE.
Rogaroga on January 7th, 2010 12:12 pm (UTC)
As far as I'm concerned, we entered the future in 2007.
tried to eat the safe banana: Little Citythefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 09:03 pm (UTC)
Did something specific make it the future? Or was it just, you know, the year itself? *curious*
a particularly troubled Romulan: communicationillariy on January 7th, 2010 12:28 pm (UTC)
Yeah, but didn't Star Trek also postulate a third world war sometime in the 1990ies? Or am I confusing the on-screen canon with what was in some compendium. Hm. Anyway, I'm happy we didn't have WWIII yet and can thus forgive the lack of fun robots etc. ;-)
Beck: ST - Enterprisebeck_liz on January 7th, 2010 12:44 pm (UTC)
According to the Star Trek wiki, Memory Alpha, there are two separate wars being talked about here. World War III is yet in the future according to that (and apparently according to a number of more recent non-TOS episodes); the Eugenics Wars, which included Khan, are supposed to have already happened. :-)

(Star Trek geeks, ahoy! :-))
(no subject) - illariy on January 7th, 2010 01:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - abyssinia4077 on January 7th, 2010 02:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - illariy on January 7th, 2010 02:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 09:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
melpemone: DS: RayK - Maturity is Overratedmelpemone on January 7th, 2010 12:31 pm (UTC)
This is totally not the future. For one thing, I own and love this t-shirt and I believe every word of it. Secondly, flying cars aside, I have always believed that it's not the future until paper-thin programmable LCD screens are cheap and plentiful. I will believe it is the future when I see an advertisement for someone's garage sale or lost puppy in looping .gif format, tacked to a power pole. I do, however, believe we're very close to it. Give it five years.

I also have this firm idea about going to buy a noodle-based dinner from a street cart in the driving rain, wearing a trenchcoat and dodging lurking weirdos with mechanical body enhancements, but there was probably far too much Blade Runner in my childhood.
[will fuck for sex]: ice-cream headacheanatsuno on January 7th, 2010 12:43 pm (UTC)
Two, two! With noodles.

(iow: yeah.)
(no subject) - julietk on January 7th, 2010 01:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 09:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)