Retrofuturistic Dreams: Postponed, but Not Yet Failed

Humans love to look to the future with wonderment and awe. We love to imagine the crazy things that the future versions of ourselves will create, how we will eat, how we will travel, and how we will live our lives. You only need to look at the covers of old science magazines and publications to see the most ridiculous things that are not too far off from what we have now.

Video chatting was portrayed decades prior to its invention. Back then people envisioned it as wearing bulky devices around their necks, looking into a hand mirror showing someone else’s face instead of a reflection. Star Trek famously thrust their prediction of cell phones into mainstream media as the communicator. But sometimes the tools and tech thought up by past people remains in their imaginations. Here are two of the coolest things people thought we’d have but we did not quite get, for now.

Google Glass

Augmented reality has been a fantasy of humans for a long time, whether fully immersive or layered on top of every day settings. The same is true for the hopes that we would become cyborgs, melding the best parts of being human with either the strength or the processing capacity of a computer. Google once tried to combine these two. Called “Google Glass” or “Glass” for short, it was a wearable item which resembled glasses. This device aimed to have the user navigate the internet and its various applications via a voice command, adding to the hands-free nature of the wearable tech. It also sported a camera for photos and videos on the go, from the height and position of the user’s eye.

The overlay display allowed for viewing of various things on the internet and other parts of its User Interface. The Project invited people to try it out, but discontinued in early 2015. Glass says they are working on a new iteration, but it has yet to be seen. We may yet get a version of this that everyone will wear and use, just like old drawings would show. But for now, it looks like that will have to stay in the past.

Extraterrestrial Living

We’ve looked to the stars from the moment we could crane our necks skyware. After discovering planets and celestial bodies, human minds have obsessed over living on one or more of these. Past people have had such optimistic views that we would be living on the moon and distant planets by the turn of the century, but obviously we barely have people live in Low Earth Orbit in the International Space Station.

However, there are multiple efforts on going now which hope to make those past dreams a reality. Elon Musk wants to get people to colonize Mars as soon as possible, and NASA wants to send humans to Mars by the early 2030s. I think this would be a relief to any minds who desperately wanted us to live beyond earth and dreamed of Moon colonies, especially since we landed there and then never chose to go back. Here’s to hoping we’re alive to see those old pipe dreams become realities, and remember to never stop thinking about what we may do in the future, because one day it might just happen.

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