The Lounge List: The Nine Science Fiction Technologies We Can Do Without

As is common around this time, people begin to look to the future. We make resolutions, vow not to repeat the mistakes of last year, and dream about what tomorrow will bring. Humanity has made incredible leaps in technology and the future promises even more advances. However, as wonderful as those advances may seem, theyre bound to bring about new problems for us to deal with.

Here are just a few of technologies that will probably bring more harm than good.

Flying Cars
As seen in: Blade Runner, Back to the Future II, etc.

At first flying cars seem like a great idea, until you stop and think of how many drivers have trouble driving in two dimensions—add a third and thats just a recipe for trouble.

Phasers
As seen in: Star Trek

Admittedly Im borrowing this argument from Scott Adams’s The Dilbert Future, but he makes a good point that if people had access to weapons that can stun then itll mean the end of civilization as we know it. I know if I had the opportunity to safely hurt the people who irritate me Id be doing it all the time. My classes would end up with only two people awake and the rest passed out which, come to think of it, sounds about normal, but Im getting off topic.

Oh, and I would also use my Phaser on people who leave jerk comments on my posts—only in that case Id set it to deep-fry.

Internet Access Via Your Brain
As seen in: The Matrix, Johnny Mnemonic

Ive only got one word for this: porn. Sure, the idea of having constant access to the worlds store of information is tantalizing, but considering the amount of web resources and time spent online already devoted only to porn I shudder to think of how much more time would be spent then. I imagine guys would be surfing for porn during meetings, during work, and possibly even during sex. Plus, I dont think Id like to go out in public knowing that the person next to me in line at the supermarket could be watching a donkey show or something.

Sex Robots
As seen in: Cherry 3000 and probably lots of hentai

Its pretty much a given that when robotics reaches the levels it has in the movies that people are going to be having sex with them. When this happens were going to need a PSA shown in all the schools like in that episode of Futurama where Fry dates a robotic Lucy Liu.

There are only two ways humans having sex with robots will end, and both are bad for us. 1. No more babies will be made, and the sex robots will need to be reconfigured as nurses to take care of all the dehydrated octogenarians. 2. The sex robots will gain sentience, hire a lawyer, and the resulting lawsuit will make them the owners of 90% of the world. So I guess what Im saying is enjoy all that sex while it lasts before that bubble bursts.

Holodecks
As seen in: Star Trek: Generations, First Contact, etc.

Human activity can be broken down into three categories: eating, fighting, and screwing, and of those three the last takes up roughly 98% of our thoughts. Or, at least it does with me. At any rate, Holodeck technology will take celebrity fakery to scary new levels. Poor Gillian Anderson will be spending all of her time filing lawsuits against nerds—if shes not doing that already, that is.

And, like sex robots and constant porn, birthrates will go down into the single digits, and while that should make finding parking spots a little easier, theres probably a downside that Im not seeing.

Transporters
As seen in: The Star Trek movies, and The Fly

Aside from the inevitable Man/Fly hybrids that will undoubtedly slink across the earth, oozing slime from their probosciss and staring at you with those creepy compound eyes, the worst part of teleportation technology is so far its not transportation, but copying: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleportation. That wouldnt be that bad except that the original gets destroyed. Its like a fax where the original document gets shredded.

Besides, imagine if something went wrong with the process and there would suddenly be two of me running around. Now thats way scarier than any Fly-man.

Wormhole Generators
As seen in: The Mist, Event Horizon

Just before the large hadron collider was started up, there was a huge uproar on the net. The fear was that it would create a small black hole in the middle of the Earth, destroying us all, but the real danger was that it might open up a wormhole into some hellish, Lovecraftian dimension, letting in Cthulu, Yog Soggoth, and Nyarlathotep into our world.

Or, at least that seems to be what happens in the movies. Apparently every dimension beyond our own is chock full of hideous creatures formed from non-Euclidean geometry whose very sight would make your eyes bleed and your mind implode, and they are all hungry for our sweet, sweet flesh.

So what I guess Im saying is, Scientists, quit exploring the mysteries of our universe. Ignorance is a small price to pay for the luxury of not being breakfast for some Hell Lord of the Outer Dark.

Genetic Modification
As seen in: Gattaca

Sure I could go on about how this is just Eugenics with a new name, or how monkeying around with the basic genetic structure of humanity might lead to unforeseen problems, but really the only reason I care is because those perfect people will just further highlight all of my inferiorities, and my ego is fragile enough as it is. If this happens Ill probably have to end up living in a bell tower with only stone gargoyles for my friends.

Oh course, if Im rich by that point, then I really wont care, but thats a big “if.”

Bringing Back Extinct Animals
As seen in: Jurassic Park and its sequels.

Not too long ago a scientist declared that we now had the ability to genetically re-create the Wooly Mammoth, because itll be cool. Or, at least thats the only reason I can think of that some one would want to bring back a giant, tusky behemoth from the distant past.

I guess we could find a way to render them into oil, or maybe Ted Turner will open up a chain of restaurants specializing in Mammoth burgers, or I suppose they could be used for big game hunting. Whatever the reason eventually theyre going to run through the electric fence and trample us on their way to Kentuckys sweet blue grass (or whatever the hell Mammoths eat).

Or worse, some stupid scientist will take a shortcut and splice in wolf DNA to fill in a gap—kind of like how Richard Pryor added tar to his synthetic Kryptonite in Superman III—and then theyll be competing with Cthulu for our sweet, gamey meat.

I could probably go on, but Id like to hear from you. What technologies sound good on paper, but probably have horrible repercussions for humanity? Remember: the future is not only brings the prospect of hope, but also deep, deep horror.

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