The Top 5 Things the Future Does NOT Have in Store

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To judge by predictions made in the 1950s, we 21st-century types should all be flying around in hover cars or zooming through megalopolises in glass tubes, right? We should be eating insta-rehydrating-flavor-pill foodstuffs, not wasting our hours cooking, no? There have been, and continue to be, many things that people assume are just beyond the horizon of our technological and scientific prowess, and some of those breakthroughs may well occur. But others? Keep dreaming, kid, because they ain’t gonna happen.

5 Create Clones

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We may be able to create clones already, but as for creating an exact double of yourself, with all your memories and everything? Not going to happen. Our brain’s ability to store memories is one of the most amazing things about our biology, and is still a topic of much study and conjecture. But what’s not up for debate is the fact that cloning replicates genetics, and your memories have nothing to do with your genes! (How well your memory works might, though.)

4 Flying Cars

Flying cars may look cool in movies, but in real life they would be so prohibitively expensive, so hard to operate, and so amazingly accident-prone and deadly that you can just go ahead and keep dreaming about that one. Not going to happen. The type of power and thrust required to keep a heavier-than-aircraft aloft necessitate the propellers, rotors, or jet or rocket engines used on helicopters – and planes necessitate runways and landing pads, and we keep those away from heavy traffic areas for good reasons. With no special, magical “antimatter” hover technology coming down the pipeline, you can count hovering cars out. Which is a good thing: How dangerous is regular old 2D driving already, right?

3 “Science” Creating a “Smart Pill”

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It’s fun to joke about “science” creating a “smart pill,” but if you’re actually hoping such a thing will ever exist, then you are indeed in dire, hopeless need. While some medications can make brains work in a manner that’s arguably more efficient, the so-called “smart pill” of popular culture is one that comes jam packed with knowledge. As knowledge is stored in grooves the brain forms during the learning process, ingesting a pill is going to go ahead and have nothing at all to do with it.

2 “It’s Impossible to Go to Light Speed!”

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Sorry, kids, but C3PO was right when he said “It’s impossible to go to light speed!” (Even if we are taking him out of his intended context.) The amount of energy that would be required to accelerate a piece of physical matter (say, a spaceship) up to the speed of light (186,300 miles per second) would require more energy than exists in the known universe. At least, according to this fellow named Albert Einstein, that is.

1 Teleportation is … Impossible

You can keep on enjoying “Star Trek” all you want, but don’t you think for a second anyone is ever going to be “Beaming you up, Scotty.” Not unless we figure out a way to circumvent the laws of physical nature, that is. Human teleportation is … impossible. Scientists may be able to “teleport” little bits of energy, and maybe even simple, molecular matter, but moving a complex organism with billions of cells such as yourself from one place to another? That’s going to continue to involve walking, driving, boats, and so on.

Steven John is a published novelist and competitive pole vault champion. (The latter is not true.) His writing runs the gamut from speculative fiction to essays fueled by a mix of mirth and derision. He has never been to Lisbon but, statistically speaking, is probably taller than you.

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