1/14/2010

Why I'm Glad We Never Got Our Jetpacks

Even when I was a kid, I had issues with Bladerunner when it came to the flying cars. They looked sort of pretty, but I felt pretty sure that if I lived in a city where one-ton hunks of steel were zooming above me all day long, I'd never go out for fear of  some idiot dropping one on my head.

I got thinking about this because over the New Year some news program or other got Jonathan Ross to select a 'tweet of the decade'. The one that won read something like 'Where are our jetpacks? We were promised jetpacks!', as if the internet and the many other technological accoutrements of our time were somehow disappointing by comparison.


Let's be clear on this. Even if the classical image of the jetpack existed - I'm not talking about those ones that hover in the air for about sixty seconds then run out of fuel, I mean the ones in movies or on  magazine covers - they'd be banned, particularly in cities. And rightly so. Because, seriously, do you want your drunk neighbour strapped into one crashing through your bedroom at five in the morning when he passes out six hundred feet up?

This is why I'm  glad we're in the 2010's, because we can stop hearing any more of that 'this is the 21st Century, so we should have jetpacks' nonsense. What  you got instead is a lot better, believe me. 

2 comments:

neil williamson said...

Killjoy!

Actually, the whole "We Were Promised Jetpacks" meme (and it is a meme, at lease enough for it to become the name of a rather good band), is more about the realisation that since science fiction became popular the future we were "promised", 50, 40, 30 years ago can now largely be considered a dead end, and that the one we have *is* in many ways better.

I have the same feeling about video-phones-on-watches. Yeah, we have the technology to see the people we're talking to but, unless it's using Skype to keep in touch with the family in Australia, most people are happier with non-visual methods of communication.

Ever used a BT videophones? Neither has anyone else.

gary gibson said...

I keep meaning to write a story about a flying ambulance crew whose job it is to scrape idiots with jetpacks off the side of buildings in some alternate future. One day.