I Remember Back in the Early ’70s

JOHN W. CAMPBELL, shortly before he died, saying something to the effect of, “All those space-ships and time-travel and telepathy, and not one of us anticipated the digital computer.”

And it’s true. Even as late as 1964-65, when Heinlein was inventing that Dinkum Thinkum, Mike, one gets the impression that computers a hundred years down the road would still be made of massive steel frames holding racks and rows of racks of vacuum tubes manipulating limited computing resources in an arcane art and science managed by engineer-priests.

And, even so, the state of the art just then was the DEC PDP11, if memory serves. The VAX, 8088, and the microcomputer were still in the future.

My point being not to disparage the greats of the Golden Age of science fiction, but to point out (for the billionth time) the futility of trying to predict surprises in so chaotic a space as the enterprises of men.

You wanted a flying car? How about a flying truck?

Play with that notion for a moment. How far down the — pun intended — road do you suppose this development will come? Get ready to defend your flyover rights.

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