A few weeks ago I rang in 2010 along with everyone else on this planet, except the Mayans I guess, and at a few points over the last few days I have stopped to marvel at everything technology has brought me. I can take eight hundred pictures and never have to change a roll of film, I can keep in touch with friends on the other side of the world as if they were in the next room and I don’t even bat an eye when I download books from a cloud to read on my phone, a string of words I’d have been hard pressed to pull drunk out of a hat in 1990. You could even have gotten the hat drunk and the odds stay slim that I’d have thought to put those nouns in a row.
And yet…and yet somehow there are some things lacking. Growing up there were certain benchmarks of technology that seemed like they were only a few years away but have yet to surface even decades later.
We need to get cracking on some of these.
1. Food in Pill Form
We’ll start with this one as it’s always been at the top of my list.
There are some days where you just don’t feel like dealing with eating food, right? How nice would it be on those nights when you’re really on a roll at your desk and don’t want to have to sit and think about what to eat and then perform the laborious task of chewing to simply pop a pill and enjoy the benefits of a meal? So easy. Everything you need dietary-wise in pill-form.
Now, I know that Centrum manages to pack 48 billion jimmyjams into their vitamins, but for some reason they’ve never taken this “meal replacement” approach. Frankly, Centrum isn’t exactly out in front of the vitamin world as far as I’m concerned. This is their product’s latest advance:
I’m not sure what’s been going on over at the Centrum think-tank since they were founded in 1880, but you’d think at some point in the last one hundred and forty years someone would have come up with: “Maybe not making our customers swallow horse suppositories could be good for business.”
Unfortunately Centrum is the only vitamin I know, so my hopes rest with them. And, keep in mind, that food in pill form shouldn’t just let you eat dinner with one bite and move on with your day. It should give you some taste sensations too so that you feel like you’ve eaten a full meal.
I mean, come on, this guy was doing it back in the seventies, and he’s a freaking mad man:
2. Personal Jet-Packs
“Where’s My jet pack?” This isn’t even a question anymore so much as a cultural touchstone. Which is to say that I’m not alone here. Check out this poster, for example.
“Where’s my Jet pack?” is a phrase I’ve been using for a long time now, easily since that other magical date, 2000, passed by and I still didn’t have one. I mean let’s get moving with some jet pack technology, right?
But let’s examine this. Really the jet-pack isn’t the problem. We’ve got tons of crap that can burn explosively enough to shoot pressure out of a cylinder and provide thrust. The real problem is directing that thrust. I mean, you shoot a jet-pack off and have it aimed perfectly true straight up and you’re good to go. But if just 1% of your thrust starts pushing you in another direction, well that can begin to topple you into a spin that anyone who has ever set off a bottle rocket knows all about:
So really the problem is that we need more jet stabilization technology.
Is this important?
Of course it is. Saying things like this makes you seem smart and will give you a stance of intellectual superiority unheard of at your next cocktail party. Simply steer the conversation towards jet-packs, wait until everyone starts talking about the lack of jet-packs, then unveil your jet stabilization theory and just wait for the ladies to start making out with you.
Unless someone at the party counters by mentioning “thrust to payload ratio.” If that happens, kick them square in the nuts and run like hell. You’ve been outgunned.
3. Hair On/Hair Off
I detest getting my hair cut. I hate buying shampoo, too, although we already went into that last week. Shaving I kind of like sometimes, but I don’t have to do it every day. If I did it would drive me insane. And it isn’t even the constant need for grooming that really gets to me, it’s the fact that sometimes I get a haircut and it looks good, or sometimes I shave at the right time of day and that evening it looks scruffily neat. In other words sometimes, through sheer luck, I get the hair follicles on my body to act exactly the way I want them to but I know that twelve hours later all of that is going to be lost forever because my hair won’t stop growing.
So where’s my built in, genetically coded switch that allows me to halt hair growth whenever I want to? Why am I at the whim of my haircutter lady and her attempts to repeat the same exact scissor strokes in the same exact pattern once a month to keep my hair from ever changing? What sort of tribalistic ritual is that? What am I, a skunk-ape?
How much easier would it be to have a switch that just shuts off my hair production and lets me never have to worry about hair cuts again? I mean I watch a lot of movies, there’s precedent for this…somewhere..sort of…maybe…right?
Whatever. Screw you. Thrust to payload ratio.
4. Fully Immersive “Games”
When I was sixteen I went to the South Street Seaport and played this game where you put on a helmet and entered a digital world. The screen completely surrounded you, or that’s what your eyes were led to believe, and if you turned your head you would be able to look around your virtual surroundings. A hand-held device let you run and gun and you could pay a few bucks and play digital manhunt with your friends, murdering them over and over again…or being murdered by them over and over again depending on how good you were at video games.
It was awesome.
And absolutely nothing remotely like that exists today.
Where did it go? Why isn’t it like a jillion times better? I know there are price points and market demand and all that to worry about, but this was in nineteen ninety six! Jesus Christ, the various components have to have been improved for other reasons by now to the point that slapping them together today would be the equivalent of assembling a toaster, i.e. something I in no way can do myself but fully believe to be easy for someone who is smart.
I mean, good lord, the amount of work my fingers have to do while playing video games is obscene. Why are my hands in charge of looking around, and pushing the gas pedal, and loading my gun, and shooting hookers and outrunning the police?
A truly realistic gaming community would have started moving towards a truer division of labor for my body parts by now. And I don’t want to hear any of your Wii-Fit crap. Turning my head in real life should be how I turn my head in a game, end of story.
Sadly, I’m not looking to the video game world to figure this one out. My money is on porn. There are certain similarities between the two as both try to provide a simulation of sorts and, since porn runs the world anyway, I’d have to guess that they’ll be first to start putting together a fully immersive experience.
But once they’re done I want to use it to murder my friends over and over again…okay?
And then maybe watch some porn.
5. Something with dinosaurs
Yeah, a list of five things seemed more complete than a list of four things so I added this one.
Maybe we could race them…like a dinosaur race? We’d set it up at the track and instead of ponies a bunch of crazy jockeys would race t-rexes in a circle and I’d gamble on them and drink beer.
Or they could make tacos.
I don’t care. Just make it happen.