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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. Spoilers for the second Star Trek movieCollapse )

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!
110(17.5%)
Yes. I can respond to this poll while I'm climbing Denali. It's the future.
109(17.4%)
No. No future without flying cars.
269(42.8%)
No. I refuse to believe that the future could look like this.
95(15.1%)
Actually, it's your future, but it's my past. It's... complicated.
45(7.2%)

Do we have robots yet?

Why, yes! How else do you get your floors clean?
176(28.0%)
It doesn't count as a robot if you don't have to get into a complex ethical debate about its consciousness.
369(58.7%)
It doesn't count as a robot unless it's trying to take over and kill us all.
84(13.4%)

Do we have cloning yet?

DOLLY. Obviously.
233(37.1%)
It isn't cloning until I can order up two dozen copies of myself in a drunken shopping spree.
221(35.2%)
It isn't cloning until there's the distinct possibility of clone wars.
174(27.7%)

Do we have miraculous reproductive science yet?

Yes. IVF! 24-week preemies who grow up hale and healthy!
234(37.3%)
It's not a reproductive miracle until I can opt to grow my offspring in a uterine replicator.
326(52.0%)
It's not a reproductive miracle until I can program my offspring and bypass all this disgusting meat.
67(10.7%)

Do we have spaceflight yet?

Yes. Spirit Rover!
86(13.7%)
We don't have spaceflight until I can get the fuck off this rock.
338(53.9%)
We don't have spaceflight until there's Saturn's rings eco-tourism.
203(32.4%)

Do we have genetic engineering yet?

Yes! Genetically modified foods! Glowing things that don't traditionally glow!
260(41.3%)
It isn't genetic engineering until I can pick my offspring's traits off a menu, like a delicious enchilada combo.
159(25.3%)
It isn't genetic engineering until someone has a superpower and is preparing to take over the earth.
210(33.4%)
 
 
 
Basingstoke: the international space shuttlebasingstoke on January 7th, 2010 12:38 pm (UTC)
Yes, it's the future. America has a black president. Case closed.

(And soon, the alien invasion. I still can't decide if I'll be a collaborator or a steely-eyed rebel. I think the deciding factor is if there's slime.)
Olna Jenndormouse_in_tea on January 7th, 2010 01:36 pm (UTC)
but which way will the slime make you swing?
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 09:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Helen W.wneleh on January 7th, 2010 12:44 pm (UTC)
Really, you need to watch Space Seed, the Khan episode, next.

(And could you put me on the Earthling filter?)
tried to eat the safe banana: Orbitalthefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 09:08 pm (UTC)
I am twitchily waiting for my TOS DVDs to arrive, and then there will be a poll to determine the next episode I watch!

And you are on the earthling filter!
Lorrainelunabee34 on January 7th, 2010 12:51 pm (UTC)
I think we're in the future. So many things from early SF are now real parts of our daily lives.
tried to eat the safe banana: Little Citythefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 09:10 pm (UTC)
BUT WHAT OF THE FLYING CAR? Were we not promised a flying car? I think we were!
(no subject) - lunabee34 on January 12th, 2010 03:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Moony McMoonsome: McCoythe_moonmoth on January 7th, 2010 01:16 pm (UTC)
There's a particular genetic trait in my family that has been very destructive and unpleasant. I remember thinking as a kid, 'at least when I'm old enough to have children I'll be able to select that gene out.' I'm now in my mid-twenties and not only have they not developed that kind of Gattaca technology yet, they haven't even identified the gene/gene group that causes the trait. So all in all, I'd have to go with Not The Future. Yet.
She-Who-Reads-Constantlypaxluvfelicitas on January 8th, 2010 03:04 am (UTC)
Your hypothetical offspring might still be SOL, but people with genetic diseases that have identified, single-gene causes are definitely within a reproductive lifespan of an easy fix. Google "zinc fingers" - they're a new way of tagging very, very, very specific locations for DNA cleavage, so that you can yank "bad" alleles and copy in "good" ones relatively easily. In about 20 years or so, we're gonna be able to take IVF embryos, alter them, and implant them. And it's gonna work. Whether we will actually be doing that is a whole 'nother question, but the tech is definitely there.

We probably won't be able to order up enchilada babies, though, just because most of the stuff people want to select for - height, weight, eye color, hair color, intelligence, athletic ability, etc. - involves waaaay more than one gene and is not well understood anyway.
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 09:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
boogieshoesboogieshoes on January 7th, 2010 01:35 pm (UTC)
for my part, it's not the future until we have: Faster-than-light space travel, transporter beam technology, colonization of other planets, and yes, uterine replicators...

-bs
turlough on January 7th, 2010 03:24 pm (UTC)
Hear, hear!
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 09:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Olna Jenndormouse_in_tea on January 7th, 2010 01:35 pm (UTC)
I have to admit it's the future now, but I don't WANT this future, I want the future I read about when I was not OLD (THANK YOU FOR POINTING THAT OUT), which for me is the middle button.

Your poll options are brilliant, by the way.
tried to eat the safe banana: Little Citythefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 09:15 pm (UTC)
See, I, too, read about the middle-button future when I was wee, but in my case, it prevents me from feeling like this IS the future.

And thank you! I have put a lot of thought into the future. Obviously. *g*
AynAtonal: frozenaynatonal on January 7th, 2010 01:45 pm (UTC)
I want a tee shirt that says, "We don't have spaceflight until I can get the fuck off this rock."

I feel like I will know it's the future from the clothes. Until I can walk down any city street looking like I'm an extra from The 5th Element without inciting any particular notice, then it is not the future. Sadly, by the time the future happens, I will probably be too old to take advantage of the opportunity. Unless we also get that anti-aging thing down by then.
æthel the aardvark: xena/gabrielle gazingaethel on January 8th, 2010 05:00 am (UTC)
I second this.
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 09:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Toby Malfoytobymalfoy on January 7th, 2010 01:49 pm (UTC)
I want my jetpack.
tried to eat the safe banana: Little Citythefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 09:18 pm (UTC)
Can't help you there, but I'm prepared to sulk with you!
(Deleted comment)
tried to eat the safe banana: Orbitalthefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 09:19 pm (UTC)
See, for me, it's only the future if you're talking to your computer and saying, "Computer, teleport me to work." I have an expectations problem, and I blame classic SF.

Although I will say that classic SF taught me one important thing: in the robot wars, everyone loses. *nods self-importantly*
(no subject) - jackiekjono on January 11th, 2010 04:22 am (UTC) (Expand)
Merlin Missy: Coffee (Selina)mtgat on January 7th, 2010 02:09 pm (UTC)
amilyn and I are always exclaiming: "We live in the FUTURE!" Why? Because I can sit at my couch and watch television that aired in England four hours ago. Because I can sit on my couch and click a couple of keys and argue with a woman in New Zealand in real time about how hot John Barrowman is. Because my kids got one shot and don't have to live through three weeks of miserable itching and scratching like I did when I got the chicken pox. Because I can cook dinner in five minutes in my microwave and despite being mass-produced, it is healthy and tasty. Because my next car is going to run on BATTERIES and a PLUG. :D

I love the future.
tried to eat the safe banana: Little Citythefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 09:21 pm (UTC)
But, but - teleportation! Replicators! The FLYING CAR!

I tell you what: I have inflated expectations. Damn you, SF, for making me think, Chat is great, but if it were the future, I could just BE there.
Vanilla  ... Spiked with Slivovitz: lizard-spockjenna_thorn on January 7th, 2010 02:47 pm (UTC)
Signs of the Future
The world becoming smaller. The internet and real time social interaction via the web are a big step and for the world outside teh personal, the 24 hour cycle of the markets (Wall Street,London, HKSE and circle back again) should drop the arbitrary lines of borders on the map, blur the parochialism of outdated regional lines. Unfortunately, it's not really working that way, and I fear that we cannot unite unless we have something to unite against.

Medical advances: For all my whining about cameras on a stick, the cameras are smaller and less invasive and hey, we have cameras now, which we didn't not all that long ago and eventually, X Rays and exploratory surgery will be as quaint as phrenology. Can't come soon enough. But laser surgery for eyes and microsurgery for cardiac correction and MRIs. I don't like them from the inside, but from the outside, they are way cool.

Though as much as I love my Roomba (and I do!) and have named it Rover, Rover's not Rosie. And I don't want grocery delivery, like Peapod. What I want is for my refrigerator to realize we've got one egg left, call the store, auto-deduct the price, and restock. Basically, yes, I want Rosie.
I have a mitten and a chicken puppet!: watchmen - smileytzikeh on January 7th, 2010 06:07 pm (UTC)
See icon
I fear that we cannot unite unless we have something to unite against.

Careful what you wish for. ;)

What I want is for my refrigerator to realize we've got one egg left, call the store, auto-deduct the price, and restock. Basically, yes, I want Rosie.

Take it a step further! You want a fridge with a matter replicator, or at least a transporter.
Re: See icon - jenna_thorn on January 7th, 2010 08:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: See icon - tzikeh on January 7th, 2010 08:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
right answer - jenna_thorn on January 7th, 2010 09:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Signs of the Future - thefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Signs of the Future - jenna_thorn on January 11th, 2010 07:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
For all your sophisticated Cock-Tailing needs: BC-Starship Enterpoopmidnitemaraud_r on January 7th, 2010 02:52 pm (UTC)
But! But we have Glow-in-the-dark puppies! - which, I kid you not, they call ruppies. The infused them with sea anemone genes. The future is fluorescent! (Damn! I knew I should have kept my wardrobe from the '80s!)

I've seen Wrath of Khan at least 15 times over the years, and I STILL cry at that scene. Of course, the best part of Search for Spock is McCoy, as it would seem Spock had a rather perverse (though logical) sense of humour, but if you haven't seen it yet, I don't want to spoil you. :-P
tried to eat the safe banana: Little Citythefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 09:24 pm (UTC)
Are you kidding? Of COURSE I've seen The Search for Spock! As soon as Wrath of Kahn was over, I insisted we put it in RIGHT THEN. (And then I went to blow my nose. Again.)
(no subject) - midnitemaraud_r on January 10th, 2010 10:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Lisaslashaddict on January 7th, 2010 02:59 pm (UTC)
The "future" will likely come with the technological singularity, which many computer scientists (aka people who create the future!) predict will happen in the 2030 decade. SO. The future will get here soon!

tried to eat the safe banana: Orbitalthefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 09:26 pm (UTC)
See, I am afraid of the technological singularity, because I will be OLD then, and I will still be wanting to email while everyone else is communicating mind-to-mind, or whatever we'll have then. *prepares for a future career as a neo-Luddite*
Imaginary Researcher: Evil! - ponderosa121hannahrorlove on January 7th, 2010 02:59 pm (UTC)
Humans have been genetically engineering dogs for centuries, to the point where we have Great Danes, Chihuahuas, and labradoodles.
Admission to the Burning Ruins — 10¢: Crabbylaughingacademy on January 7th, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC)
Did you see the recent "BBC America Reveals" documentary about pedigreed dogs? Some breeds are prone to terrible congenital health problems. At one point, the filmmakers asked a breeder, "Do you have children? Do you have a daughter? Would you have a baby with her?" He of course recoiled, but then immediately defended parent/offspring and sibling/sibling breeding of dogs, arguing "That's different."

*headdesk*
(no subject) - hannahrorlove on January 7th, 2010 06:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - laughingacademy on January 7th, 2010 06:41 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - aethel on January 8th, 2010 05:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - adina_atl on January 7th, 2010 09:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 09:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - hannahrorlove on January 10th, 2010 09:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - reginagiraffe on January 10th, 2010 11:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Zigismunda formosamelannen on January 7th, 2010 03:37 pm (UTC)
I'm talking to someone who lives a thousand miles away, while I listen to a piece of music someone generated in their living room based on a protein sequence, and reading a 19th century medical journal for research based on a book I copied from an archive.

All without getting out of bed!

Yeah, it's the future.
Zigismunda formosamelannen on January 7th, 2010 04:34 pm (UTC)
Also, I made a DW post yesterday about Holmes/Watson slash and published Holmes fic with awesome female characters in, and how they must not interfere with the slashy, and the author of the Irene Adler series has just left me a comment on it. *facepalm* Sometimes I want to go back to not living in the future.
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 09:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 10th, 2010 09:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)