The dreams of the future are either a hit or a miss. Early ideas in the 1950s predicted a technological utopia. It was a dream people desired for the future and they wanted to achieve it by the turn of the century.
Retrofuturism was created out of the curiosity of humans when they were suddenly put into a situation of rapid technological revolution. It was in the 1960s that we experienced an awe-inspiring breakthrough for humanity: human space travel.
In 1961, Yuri Gagarin was the first man to be in space. Less than a decade later, what humanity thought was a far off dream, became a reality. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were walking on the Moon.
To those that have witnessed this extraordinary feat, many were charged with inspiration and they were solidly determined to push how far technology can evolve in the years to come. With their optimism flying high, so did their imagination.
Artists were spinning their own creative innovations from their heads, knowing that one day, technology could somehow be able to make it happen.
Let’s take a look at the more common concepts we can’t seem to take our minds off of that were born in the 1950s and 60s.
We are still envisioning the future to have common cars that are able to fly. Our skies should be filled with hovering transportation and solve the problem of traffic congestion during peak hours. Yet, the reality hits us that even if it is the year 2017, we are still unable to see cars flying across the country.
Popularised by the blockbuster film franchise Back to the Future, the hoverboard is a concept which resembles a skateboard without wheels and levitates off the ground a few inches. However, what we only have at the moment is a hoverboard, but it still has wheels. Technically, they’re named self-balancing scooters and they are proven to be rising in popularity with kids and adults alike and closely becoming a common household item.
We are obsessed with having abilities that the human body isn’t designed to have. We always look up to the sky and we see birds flying so freely and wish that we could do the same thing. Much like the flying cars and the hoverboards, jetpacks make us levitate and fly at the touch of a button. However, unlike the previous two, this one became a reality. It was a concept that first emerged in the 1960s because of science fiction.
Now, jet packs are mostly being used for astronauts. It is unlikely in the near future that there would be mass productions for jet packs as there are many hindrances to overcome to make them stable and safe for everybody to use one day.
Robots fitted with artificial intelligence and being able to respond to whatever we ask of them. That was the idea, trying to build a machine to perform useful reasoning. This idea began to prosper because of science fiction popularity in the 19th century and continued on in the 20th century. It is a colossal goal to be able to perfect an artificial intelligence that’s able to reason, to plan, to learn, to communicate and to perceive.
At the moment, we are still in the baby steps of developing artificial intelligence as seen in the likes of Hollywood blockbusters. In the mean time, just be glad that Siri is able to recite poetry for you, if you ask her nicely.
Human Space Travels
Reaching out beyond our Earth has always been humanity’s biggest obstacle. We want to see what the universe can offer us. Could it be extraterrestrial life? A garden planet out there that’s similar to Earth? Or even discovering if a black hole is a gateway to another universe?
We’ve traveled to space and we’ve reached the Moon. Yet those are all we could muster, because technology and money has been holding the human space travels back. In comparison to sending robots to space, humans need a lot of things to be taken care of if we were sent to the outer space. We need to sleep, to eat and to breathe and be alive to come home to at the end of the mission of space travel. Robots are dispensable and they can do better than humans, maybe just not as fast.
Our human feet won’t be able to touch the terrestrial surface of Mars or Venus any time soon, so we will just have to rely on our robots for now.
Humans have proven repeatedly that they are capable to do anything. Whatever the people back in the 1950s dreamt of are slowly becoming a reality and we aren’t stopping any time soon. We are still going to keep on dreaming.