John Scalzi’s latest AMC column Why Hollywood Always, Always Gets the Future Wrong is, as usual, very smart and right on target.

And pretty funny too.

Everybody gets the future wrong. It’s not just Hollywood or science fiction writers. When it comes to the future, no one knows anything. At the close of the 19th century, British physicist Lord Kelvin declared heavier-than-air flight an impossibility (despite the existence of, you know, birds) and that radio was just a fad. In the ’70s, the president of Digital Equipment Corp. voiced doubts that anyone would ever need a personal computer. In 1995, scientist Cliff Stoll wrote in his book Silicon Snake Oil that the Internet wouldn’t really take off, in part because it could never replace newspapers or shopping malls.

Here’s to getting the future wrong!

Comments

  1. #1 george.w
    March 19, 2010

    Huh? There are probably three things in your office that were depicted on Star Trek (in story lines that Roddenberry stole from short stories written in the 1940′s and ’50′s). If anything, SF writers are too conservative in their predictions. Naturally they get some things wrong.

    FTL is a literary device – we all know it. So is cloning, but there’s work being done right now on printing body organs using your own stem cells. And as for flying cars, would you want the average driver to interact with traffic in three dimensions?

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