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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!
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%)
 
 
 
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.)
Lotripper: corsetmsilverstar on January 7th, 2010 04:55 pm (UTC)
China is apparently already suffering from a shortage of marriageable women...
ReginaGiraffereginagiraffe on January 7th, 2010 06:49 pm (UTC)
Gack! I just realized how US-centric my comment was. Apologies for that!

AFAIK, in China, they do their selection, er, post-partum-ly. Have they learned nothing from fiction!
Adinaadina_atl on January 7th, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC)
Some people in India do it post-conception, pre-partum, by using ultrasound to identify the sex of the fetus and aborting females. This is illegal in India, I understand, but still widely practiced.

Oddly enough, I've heard that much of the US drive for sex selection technology is to ensure having a girl. I don't know what that says about our society.
æthel the aardvarkaethel on January 8th, 2010 04:51 am (UTC)
It says girls are AWESOME.

(and also people think they are more "manageable" than boys)
Very inconvenient, as now I have no shaving-glassdzurlady on January 8th, 2010 10:36 am (UTC)
I have heard it's because the person making that decision is usually the woman, since she is carrying the baby, and she wants a daughter. I forget the exact decision, but the reason is that the mother is making the choice, and she usually chooses a daughter.
Liss: dreamwidth fireflyinalasahl on January 7th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC)
ubixtiz on January 10th, 2010 11:43 pm (UTC)
But then, that does seem to assume that chromosomes = gender...somehow things end up being a bit more complicated than that. ;)

Edited at 2010-01-10 11:49 pm (UTC)