Eight Sci-Fi Gadgets Doomed to Fail
WORDS BY OWEN JAVELLANA
The year 2000 was supposed to be filled with robots and virtual reality. Instead we got George W. Bush and the Baha Men. And not to pour salt on the wound, but there’s a lot of cool ass science-fiction stuff that’s gonna stay fiction for a while. And in the off chance that scientists do find a way to make them reality, you better believe that mankind will find a way to mess them up. It’s better that you hear it from me now.
1. The Flying Car
For years, Hanna-Barbera cartoons have engrained in us the idea that cars will not only fly, but fold neatly into suitcases. Then again, they also told us that prehistoric animals will reluctantly agree to making a living as lawn mowers and record players.
How we’ll mess it up: The combination of horizontal and vertical highways leads to a combination of three-dimensional traffic jams and 400 car pile-ups.
Think about it. If we could make like Nightcrawler and BAMF ourselves to any location we wanted, there would be no need for airplanes. Or stairs. Or Disneyland Park Hopper Tickets.
How we’ll mess it up: The increase in shoplifting and smuggling will be bad, but the final straw will be the fear that the world may become as bad as the movie, Jumper.
Laser + Sword = Cool. Ask anyone on earth, that math checks out. You can find a remote tribe in the Amazon rainforest that’s never had contact with the outside world, and once you explain the concept of a laser to them, even they can tell you it’s a no-brainer.
How we’ll mess it up: Support for the lightsaber industry will steadily drop as the number of severed hand statistics increases.
4. The Jet Pack
First, mankind dreamed of taking to the skies in glorious flight. But we figured that out, so then we dreamed of doing it by tying ourselves to a rocket.
How we’ll mess it up: With the skyrocketing prices of sky-rocket fuel, the average cost of an American’s daily jetpack-commute will reach $80,000, give or take a few thousand depending on how aerodynamic your helmet is.
Putting aside the fact that the Transformers of the show are actually a sentient alien race, the idea of robotic vehicles appeals to both A) People who wish their car could be their friend, and B) People who wish they could ride inside their friends.
How we’ll mess it up: Demand for cars-with-feelings will dwindle after insecure Transformers everywhere reach their mid-life crises and over-compensate by transforming into sports cars/Hummers/douchebags.
There have been a lot of laser weapons dreamed up over the years, but the Phaser from Star Trek is the only one I know of with a sleek, Wiimote design and non-lethal “stun” setting. Sort of the gentleman’s laser gun. And by gentleman, I mean some sort of pacifist couch-potato.
How we’ll mess it up: Apple will release a wildly popular iPhase app, forcing police everywhere to pepper spray every suspicious looking high schooler holding a nano the wrong way.
Ever wish you could produce babies similar to yourself without the fuss and hassle of having sex? Me neither. But some people might! Also, we could start copying and sharing our favorite life forms. It would be like Napster, but with sheep. Or friends.
How we’ll mess it up: Despite early sentiments, we will learn the hard way that there IS such thing as too many Megan Fox’s. Cloning will become strictly regulated, and the public will be urged to have their Megan Fox clones spayed to reduce overpopulation.
8. The Time Machine
What started our fascination with time travel? Simple: The prospect of going back in time to follow your childhood dream, seize that missed opportunity, confess your love to the-one-that-got-away, or to not kill that drifter outside the Lyon’s in Tucson that one time.
How we’ll mess it up: Probably with some kinda butterfly effect… chain reaction… thing. Odds are, 200 million B.C. will be crowded with time travelers trying to figure out what dinosaur you can kill to lead to a world made of chocolate or something.
I know, I know, this is all very hard to hear. But although I’ve come to terms with the fact that I may never own a functioning Megazord, part of me won’t stop believin’, like it says in that one Journey song (I think it was “Who’s Cryin’ Now?”). So while it’s best not to get your hopes up, there’s no harm in keeping your fingers crossed for those hoverboards.