Mark Askwith, on his Facebook page, posted a link to this io9 list: The Most Futuristic Predictions That Came True in 2012
. Is it the list I'd have made? Perhaps not... the things that impressed me most in 2012 were not things that were predicted in the past, but new, unexpected discoverings. Like the importance of microbiomes: a word that wasn't even in my vocabulary.
A few comments:Re #1 - "A Cyborg Competes Against Able-Bodied Athletes at the Olympics".
how do they define "cyborg"? Anyone with a prosthesis? Yeah, I joke about being a cyborg because I have a screw in my ankle and a plastic elbow. But... what, these days, is a cyborg? And is that a quibble about language, or a profound question about human identity?Re #2 - "NASA Starts to Work on a Faster-Than-Light Warp Drive"
- this seems to me as speculative as it has ever been. Is it reified because it's NASA that is doing it?Re #3 - "Scientists Enhance the Intelligence of Primates with a Chip"
- Can I have a chip like that? Please? How come you have to be a chimp to get one?Re #4 - "The Earth Experiences its First True Superstorm"
. Measured by size alone? Human impact? Are superstorms getting bigger? Are we going to learn from this? Seems to me that we should be studying not "how to prevent this sort of thing" but "how to live with it".Re #5 - "The World's First Cybernetic Hate Crime Occurs at a McDonalds in France"
. Not too many details here. Why did they attack the man? Just because he had a weird eyepiece? Why did that upset them? Did it frightening them? If it was freaking people out, why didn't he just take it off? I not trying to blame the victim here, I'm trying to figure out why there was a problem. Re #6 - "Augmented Reality Goes Mainstream"
. Yeah, this was only a matter of time. Or cost. How did I ever live without my Blackberry? (Rhetorical question: I know how.)Re #7 - "Researchers Create a Robot With Legs That Can Run Faster Than any Human"
. My first reaction was: uh, yeah, so? Cars go faster than any human. There are lots of way machines can go faster. And heck, lots of people can run faster than I can all on their own, like my friend meri_oddities
. I guess the point here is that it's an engineering miracle, like Leonardo da Vinci wings that can fly. So you put legs like this on the Cyborg in item #1...
Actually, thinking about it: if these things could be engineered to replace cars, I'd be all for it. If we could all run anywhere we wanted to go, without injury... yeah. I like that idea.Re #9 - "An Electric Car is the Year's Best"
. I'm all for electric cars. But I'd rather see something that replaces the car entirely.Re #10 - "Doctors Communicate With a Man in a Coma"
. So very cool. Like telepathy.Re #11 - "The First Large-Scale Geoengineering Project is Detected Off Canada's West Coast"
. How'd I not hear about this? Amazing.Re #12 - "A Child Attends School By Sending a Robot in His Place"
. A new way to avoid being where you're supposed to be? I'm glad this didn't exist when I was a kid. I was home from school so much more than the norm - probably more than everyone here put together. I spent most of my time in bed reading. It was, in its unusual sort of way, a happy childhood. I would not have been happy if I'd had to attend school - so to speak - this way.Re #13 - "A Paralyzed Woman Controls a Robotic Arm Using Only Her Mind"
. Is her name Jean Grey? No, really, I love this. See item #10.Re #16 - " Researchers Create the First Complete Computer Model of a Living Organism"
, amazing and miraculous, but... but... why pick a tiny veneral disease? Do we really need that? Is it for study purposes? Wouldn't it be better to be getting rid of it?