*Yes, I am better, but teaching really beat the tar out of me, this weekend. I will post tomorrow, before I return to the springs, but today, I want to be alive enough to teach the final day and well enough not to get EXHAUSTED flying back to the springs (and not to have another relapse), and Sanford kindly offered to do this. He’s a gracious gentleman and y’all treat him well, y’hear. His lovely (truly, in every possible way) lady Cedar Sanderson joined us in our line up at Mad Genius Club yesterday. Go over there and tell her she’s welcome there too.*
The Future, She is here! – by Sanford Begley
This is a nonfiction article so bear with me and read the first bit as an homage to the SF stories of the Golden Age of Science Fiction. The relevance will be made clear afterwards.
I Reported to dispatch and was assigned a new vessel. She was in slip 23 and all I had to do was make a simple delivery run. As I walked up to her she recognized me and popped her locks to allow me entrance. Settling into the pilots seat I brought the controls live and examined my options. I pulled some music from my youth from the entertainment center. And began my pre trip checklist. The sensors reported no faults in the system and while the tanks weren’t topped off there was plenty of fuel for a short run like I was scheduled to make. I checked the latest navigation hazard reports and entered my destination into the nav-comp. I started to bring the engines live and she balked. She wanted a better look at my credentials before she would authorize ignition. I presented my authorization to her sensors and her engines roared to life. I knew this would be a pleasant trip by the way her engines settled down and hummed.
What does that have to do with reality? It is a reasonably accurate summation of my first work activity yesterday morning. Don’t believe me? Try this description.
I went to the office where I work my secondary job and was assigned to deliver a new Cadillac to a customer. I went to parking spot 23 and the fob unlocked the door form my pocket as I approached. I sat in the drivers seat and hit the power button . I had a quarter tank of gas and was only going 20 miles so I was good. The tire pressure readings etc. were all fine so I cranked the radio and got a traffic report. Turned the oldies station and hit the start button. I then realized that this was one of those where you had to touch the fob to the start button to get it to crank, so I did. The motor sounded fine so I put the address into the gps and hit the road.
Sure sounds a lot fancier when I used the language of the old SF stories but, it illustrates a point. We often ask “Dude! They promised me a flying car and space yachts by the twenty-first century! Where are they?” No, for all practical intents and purpose we didn’t get those. We did get a lot of toys we weren’t promised. Cell phones and computers, and memory wire. There are real robots doing real work out there. No they aren’t semi-sentient devices doing everything a man can. They are purpose built machines that do a limited number of tasks very well. In short, we got the stuff of SF even if not quite how we imagined. I think we came out ahead.
I know most of you don’t think the things we got were as good as the things we didn’t get but I believe you are wrong. A simple example. When I was a lad they had a comic strip called Dick Tracy. Actually I think it is still being written but back then everyone knew it, it was one of the biggest comic strips around. The bit of SF tech they had in the strip that everyone wanted were Tracy’s two-way wrist radios. We never got them. Instead we got smart phones! No, they don’t go on the wrist but they do so much more. Think about how most of our society would feel about cell phones that only talked to a few people and did nothing else. I do believe we got the better deal. Side note, I do know one man who has a leather wrist bracer that he uses as a phone case, and yes he makes calls on it very like the way Tracy did.
Think about the modern marvels we have, not the things we didn’t get. I still want my space yacht so I can fight pirates off Sirius but, I don’t think we can complain.
THE FUTURE, SHE IS HERE!!