Role reversal

Can you guess which TV show I was watching when I had the idea for this strip? Oh, well, I guess I gave that away in the second panel. But since I mention the 21st century: Isn’t it awesome when you watch a show or movie that is set in the future, but the “future” is the year 1990 or 2012 or something? It’s really entertaining to compare futuristic visions from the past to current reality, and I wonder what the real world will look like when our time catches up with the Star Trek timeline. Probably as disappointing as the lack of flying cars and hover boards when we reached the year 2015. On the other hand it’s comforting to know that all the postulated apocalypses haven’t materialized either, so I guess we’ve got that going for us.

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6 comments on “Role reversal
  1. Quill says:

    I always find it interesting to compare the present with the concurrent old-movie “future.” We always remark about what it shows that we don’t have yet, but we don’t often think of what we have that they couldn’t imagine. We have advanced very far, but not in the same direction as we might have imagined. Very few, even ones that took place in the distant future, could imagine how advanced computer technology could become so quickly. Many show payphones, not foreseeing ubiquitous portable communication (would negate many movie’s conflicts in fact), and the entire Internet, the compilation of most of Humanity’s knowledge (much must be payed for though) at anyone’s fingertips with a pocket-sized device. We always imagined that everyone would own flying cars, but they were still human-piloted, while now self-driving, albiet earthbound, cars are under development and possibly soon to reach market. Self-flying planes would be far easier technologically, and airliners almost are already. Human labor could be nearing obsolescence, something very few Sci-Fi stories explored, even ones with advanced AI and robots. (Why did Starfleet pay humans when they could just build thousands of copies of Data and program them to not ask for pay/benefits/good working conditions?) I think what it is is that they often extrapolate what the future looks like based on what’s rapidly advancing at the time – in the 60s, when Star Trek originated, computer technologies were in their infancy and weren’t really expected to have much impact, but space tech was advancing very fast, had it kept up that pace we might have passenger spacecraft transiting the galaxy by now, but we sort of leveled off that stuff and instead worked hard on electronics and computers, which the creators couldn’t have predicted.

  2. Johsua says:

    Well, ST:NG predicted the ipad and TOS predicted cell phones. In terms of realistic tech and general SiFi Babylon 5 just can’t be beat. 🙂

    Now for the “pasted” future, you can just give me one genuine 1984 Airwolf please! (c’m on. Its close enough and this is aviation themed.)

  3. Ken says:

    Actually, your first panel contains an almost perfect quote of a Star Wars-Empire Strikes Back line, “Hand me the hydro-spanner!” Said while Han Solo was trying to fix the MILLENNIUM FALCON while being hotly pursued by TIW fighters into an asteroid field. Pretty cool working in both STAR WARS and STAR TREK references into a single stripe.

  4. Bernd says:

    Joshua, correction: Babylon 5 cannot be beat. Period. 🙂 It’s not only brilliant SF, but also excellent political education.

    Quill, they recognized the Data conundrum quite early and explained that nobody except Data’s creator had figured out how to do it. So no, starfleet could not just make “more Datas”.

  5. Bernd says:

    Joshua, also Starfleet personnel aren’t paid, Star Trek is supposed to take place in a post-scarcity society, where people work for altruistic motivations or for the development of personality, or to give a sense to one’s life, but not for worldly remuneration.

  6. Bernd says:

    Sorry, that last one was for Quill, not Joshua.

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