Let Me Know When They Invent the Replicator

Let Me Know When They Invent the Replicator

Somewhere around the year 2000 there was an IBM commercial running that featured Avery Brooks ranting about flying cars.


It was this one.

My friends and I loved that commercial. We loved it partly because it is amusing to hear a voice a dignified as Brooks’ throwing a temper tantrum over something as ridiculous as flying cars. But we also loved it because yeah, damn it, where are my flying cars?

It’s been fourteen years since then and it still doesn’t feel like the future – the one that we all knew would exist by the time we reached the 2000s – has actually happened yet. I mean sure, there’s the occasional frisson when you realize that iPhones are actually more advanced than the communicators and tricorders on Star Trek, but it’s still not quite there yet.

Then I read this article and had that same sensation multiplied by about a hundred. I mean, holy shit. Fusion? That is a concept so pie in the sky that it was a punchline in ’80s sci-fi movies. Now, we could have it within ten years.

“Lockheed’s work on fusion energy could help in developing new power sources amid increasing global conflicts over energy, and as projections show there will be a 40 percent to 50 percent increase in energy use over the next generation, McGuire said.

“If it proves feasible, Lockheed’s work would mark a key breakthrough in a field that scientists have long eyed as promising, but which has not yet yielded viable power systems. The effort seeks to harness the energy released during nuclear fusion, when atoms combine into more stable forms.”

I will be very curious to see how this plays out. Welcome to the future, indeed.

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© 2016 Christopher M. Walsh