Yesterday's future as seen today (images)

Yesterday's future as seen today (images)

Summary: ZDNet UK's Matthew Broersma takes a look at what was science fiction a couple of generations ago and how these ideas stand today.

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TOPICS: Emerging Tech
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  • ZDNet UK's Matthew Broersma takes a look at what was science fiction a couple of generations ago and how these ideas stand today.

    Now that we know that the future is mainly about picking out which type of rubberized cover we want for our iPhone 4, yesterday's dreams of futures past are looking somewhat naive. Remember when the future was about jet cars? Or space planes that didn't involve Richard Branson? Or making friends with the highly cultivated, six-legged denizens of Pluto?

    First of all, let's recall the video phone. Not the kind implemented in the iPhone 4, but the one where a technician came to your house and embedded a vacuum tube-powered black-and-white television set with attached 1950s-style TV camera into the wall of your office. This was meant to let you dial up your colleagues across town and marvel together at how cool it all was.

    Photo credit: Modernmechanix.com — A 1956 advertisement for Hughes Products

  • We all know about teleportation from Star Trek: it's where a special ray disassembles you into your component protons, neutrons and electrons and then carefully reassembles you in some other location, thus completely doing away with the need for costly special effects, as well as — in theory — the need for things like video phones.

    In actual fact, the brains at a place called the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland have already taken a step towards real teleportation. So far they've only transferred a quantum state between two atoms one meter apart, and with an accuracy of only 90 percent. But hey, it's a start.

    Photo credit: Paramount Pictures/CBS

Topic: Emerging Tech

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3 comments
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  • Nice pics

    Thanks for the memories and nostalgia.
    Benjie Dog
  • The past of the future

    What great pictures (and accompanying snide comments). We never fail to get it wrong.
    MC_z
  • Still want my flying car.

    Still want my flying car, lol.

    In some sense, we DO have a lot of tech we dreamed of many years ago - and in some sense, a lot of tech is still dreams.

    It does seem to me that a lot of tech these days has focused a lot on tech for the sake of tech, rather than on more practical tech. I have noticed that we're focusing a lot on devices that do nothing but throw around information (for the sake of - well, throwing around more information), rather than on practical devices that really help our lives.

    We're the most informed generation, with all of the information we'll ever want at our fingertips.

    Now - how about actually using that information for something practical, useful? We still have yet to master that.
    CobraA1