10 Things We Were Supposed to Have by 2011 but Don’t

Written by teagueb

Okay, so we gave it a good decade before we started bitching…but seriously, people, we were supposed to be way ahead of where we currently are technologically by this time. We landed on the moon over forty years ago, and since then, we’ve been resting on our national laurels. Sure, we have computers and the internet, but those were advancements in porn delivery and massive timesuckery more than anything else.

Here’s a short list of all the stuff we were promised, decades ago. Get on the stick (and off Facebook) scientists and visionaries. The world needs a Tony Stark!

10. Flying Cars

Sort of the cliché invention of the future, but think of how much better traffic would be if we could use layers of “roadway”? Driving today is tantamount to every parking lot in the world being ground-level-only. This is something that would obviously require major infrastructure changes, but it’s something we’ve been promised since the 1950s. And it would make those undercarriage lights finally make some sense.

9. Teleportation

Better than flying cars: just make physical travel itself obsolete. Granted, there’s that pesky issue of the nature of the soul when you’re essentially breaking down the composite atomic make-up of a person, and re-constituting them elsewhere…but if we can get past that bugaboo, then we solve both transportation issues as well as one of the mysteries of faith. Bonus!

8. Food Pills

As The Jetsons clearly predicts, at some point we’ll all be eating small capsules that supplant normal meals, at least on a day-to-day basis. (Let’s assume that we still gather for real food now and then—which would make Sunday suppers, dinner dates, and holiday meals all the more special, right?) Think of it—an invention like this would potentially fix a multitude of issues, from food production to the obesity epidemic. Suck it, Jillian Michaels!

7. Renewable Energy

I don’t care if it’s solar, wind, or Slurm: the time for our dependence on energy creation by resources that we find but can’t create should be long over. No joke: if guns-and-god Americans knew just how much our continued dependence on fossil fuels has put us into debt to the Middle East, even they’d all be resentfully learning Arabic right now.

6. Sonic Showers

Normal people like to be clean, and shower at least daily. But who says it has to be water? Star Trek has long had references to Sonic Showers, which do the same (or better) job while not using up one of the precious resources of both the earth and a space-bound Starship: water. No word on what it sounds like to sing in a sonic shower, though.

5. Hyperspace

Either this, or Warp Drive, depending on whether your Star preference is Wars or Trek. Whatever you call it, it’s the ability to span vast expanses of space without actually having to live through the time that it would take to travel that far using normal velocity. We’ll need this to explore just our solar system, let alone to break out of the ol’ galactic ball and chain and see what else is out there.

4. Automatic Translators

And speaking of “they’re out there,” it’s tough to talk about possibly communicating with them when we can’t sufficiently communicate with ourselves yet. We don’t necessarily need a Threepio-type protocol droid for this (though that would be awesome), but don’t we have the ability to run translators for every known language on the planet yet? You’d think the UN would have had these years ago, instead of depending on human translators that could on a whim claim that the Ugandan ambassador is saying “May I mambo dogface to the banana patch?”

3. Force Fields

Think of how amazing this would be, especially if you could set it to keep out something specific, like pests, or weather, or drunken exes. Camping would be a little easier. So would personal defense. The only downside is that umbrellas would become obsolete, which sucks because umbrellas are pretty awesome.

2. Sexbots

We may actually be close to this one. Thank god for the Japanese, those brilliant kinky fuckers.

1. Really, Any Kind of Robots

Seriously, why do I not yet have a robot butler? Granted, they will eventually turn on us and kill us all, but frankly, I’d be willing to live with that possibility if I didn’t have to clean my toilet or make my coffee for a while.

Bonus: One year in 2 minutes