Where’s my Jetpack?


On July 6th, just over 2 years since I started writing this blog, I got published. I’m going to be contributing pieces regularly to Mouth London. This first one is shorter than the usual fare that crops up here and may include a few themes I have touched upon before, but as it is the first piece somebody else has wanted, I think it’s earned a spot here. You can read it on the Mouth London site here.

‘Where’s my Jetpack?’

It is time to stop complaining and embrace the future. And by that I mean the present.

In the distant past of 1984, the Prophet James Cameron and his disciple and messenger Arnold Schwarzenegger predicted the end of the world. They would subsequently go on to predict the end of the world a couple more times just to make sure but you knew all this because you’ve already experienced it. It’s the middle of 2011 so whether it was the 1997, the 2004 or the 2011 prediction that got us, it got us. Computers became self-aware and the world was annihilated in a fiery ball of nuclear regret.

I know what you’re thinking, ‘Except it didn’t did it?’ Nor did a bunch of scientists get stationed on the moon and blown off into space by accident in 1999. We didn’t send anyone to Jupiter on mining missions in 2001 and as far as we’re aware no giant asteroids, necessitating the immediate attention of Bruce Willis and a ragtag bunch of misfits, have been spotted yet. They never really specified the date but the creators of the Jetsons were probably imaging that all the moving walkways, robot maids and flying cars they were dreaming up would be passé in the far off future of 2011. And yet here we sit like idiots with absolutely no cut-price jetpacks of which to speak. What have we been wasting our time on all these years?

Oh sure, we have moving walkways but they’re only in airports and we may have made the first few steps towards robotic butlers but only those little rounds things and they can’t even make cups of tea or snarky one-liners. Also if you own one it’s still sort of weird. We even have fingerprint scanners, the very pinnacle of shady security-laden facilities in old movies but they do not impress us. We won’t accept we live in the future until we have the affordable method of instant teleportation we know we deserve.

But here’s the thing: We do live in the future. The future we anticipated anyhow. You probably have a Star Trek communicator in your pocket. You probably have at least two ways to make a video call right now. The military has robots that think for themselves and shoot on their own volition. Come to think of it, maybe James Cameron had everything right except the dates. We exist in a world of marvels ripped straight from our early 90s imaginations but we don’t cotton on to this fact. We don’t consider it the miraculous thing it is. We’re too busy complaining about it.

Think about that the next time you moan that the world-spanning information uplink all citizens are plugged into is running a little slow. The internet was something barely conceivable to some of the craziest sci-fi writers of the past century and we have that now; information beamed into small rectangles in our pockets whenever we want it, no matter the topic. The internet is a sci-fi writer from the 1950’s wet dream which is fitting seeing as its chief function these days is to be a more efficient method of delivery for pornography.

For every time you think ‘Where’s my jetpack?’ answer yourself ‘Here is my HDTV’. Hover car? Internet. Robot house-maid? Smartphones. Teleportation? Actually teleportation would be really awesome. Why can’t we teleport? This future is rubbish…


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