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Top Ten Disappointing Technologies, Part I

Topics: Technology | 2 CommentsBy admin | June 18, 2009

Arthur C. Clarke said that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. I’m not feeling the magic.

Anti Gravity

Stephen Hawking Understands
The Gravity of the Situation

This, for some reason, remains my single greatest disappointment regarding technology. Usually, when scientists develop detailed mathematical descriptions of natural phenomena, they’re able to – in at least some small way – demonstrate the truth of them. Although I once had to explain to an otherwise intelligent friend that the Vomit Comet was not in fact an example of anti-gravity, most of us know that anti-gravity remains a technological chimera. The closest science comes to demonstrating an understanding of anti gravity is to describe its opposite, by saying things like “See that thing that’s falling? I have some amazing math that will tell you how fast it will do so”.

Freestanding Holograms

There’s probably a better
use for holograms than this

Oh c’mon. How hard can this be? We’ve been watching these darn two-dimensional projections since 1878 , and putting on some paper sunglasses to watch a movie isn’t going to hold us over any longer. Even that’s been around since 1950-something. To tell you the truth, I’m pretty sure we’ll all be bored with the results by the time anything close to this is achieved. We’ll be like “Oh yeah *yawn*. They did that on Star Trek TNG, didn’t they?” To torture us, there are routinely ignorant tech blog articles announcing things like holographic cell phones by 2010.


For now you’ll have to settle for action dolls

This would solve so many problems that I’m really surprised that the Segway guy didn’t focus on it first. I mean really, if he was so smart, you’d think he would have come up with a dorky mode of transit that no-one uses that didn’t cost so damn much, take the profits, and get to work on something useful. Unfortunately all we’ve got so far in this area is the ability to teleport one atom over one meter. Forgive me, but I’m pretty sure I can move large objects comprised of millions of atoms that distance with my bare hands. Granted, the problems here are mind-boggling, but so were the problems of building a combustion engine at one point, right?

Faster Than Light Travel

Hey Smartypants, You’re Obsolete

This has so many obvious benefits that I’m not going to bother listing all of them. But for some perverse reason I don’t understand, the main reason that I long for faster than light travel is because I’m irrationally fond of the idea of yet another Einsteinian notion falling by the wayside. This whole relativity business has worn out its usefulness in my opinion; if Einstein were really so smart he’d have realized that his ideas were just another paradigm awaiting obsolescence, and gotten to work on something more useful, like, um… maybe, faster than light travel? By the way, did you know that if the speed of light were 55 mph, you’d never see your headlights on the freeway, and your flights would always return before they took off?

Time Travel

Arnie ponders if he can go back and kill himself,
if he already went back and killed himself.

My life would be SO much better if time travel were possible. Scratch that. Now that I think about it, I’d have a whole NEW slew of problems, mostly related to trying to decide whether to go back and change things in the past, or go forward and get tomorrow’s lotto numbers or find out if the amazing chick I just fell in love with turns out to be a raging loon later. Yeah, I guess we should all be content with the idea of time travel, so entire movie franchises that contradict their own paradoxes can be made to keep us amused for twenty years. Imagine how little sense George Lucas movies would make if he could REALLY re-do his movies instead of just digitizing old effects? And how could South Park ever out do this piece of work?

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