Where Are All The Robots?
I sit in the urgent care waiting room with only my laptop to keep me amused. I am here with my girlfriend who has come down with what appears to be the flu. Like a good boyfriend, I have assured her that if whatever virus she has contracted turns out to be the plague that brings the zombie apocalypse, I will dispatch her with the nearest sharp object without a second thought. It will be love that moves my arm to bring the axe to meet her brain that denies her from becoming patient zero for the potential extinction of humankind. She snickers because it is funny, but we both know I’m serious. I don’t fuck around with the threat of the undead.
I try to find a free wi-fi connection to mooch off of to keep me amused, but I have no luck. Nothing is broadcasting an SSID and everything is locked. I suppose that’s a good thing with us being in a hospital area. That last thing we need is some juvenile delinquent messing with patient records and ordering psychedelic meds for everyone. Sure, it would be a truly epic news day and a windfall for YouTube, but I’d like to think I’m relatively safe from that happening if I go into the hospital for a broken toe or something.
Why isn’t there free wi-fi everywhere? I’m sure there are a thousand eggheads with an snarky answer to that question already, but simmer down, Skolnick, it was only rhetorical. We live in the future. There’s a “2” at the beginning of the year. Where are the flying cars and moving walkways and laser guns and shit? The future is not at all like I imagined it would be. I’m not discounting the myriad technological advances we’ve developed over the last 30 years. We have robots that can walk and run, computers the size of credit cards, cybernetic limbs, and netflix. Netflix! But somewhere along the line, scientists and engineers lost sight of what they were (or should have been aiming for).
I’m talking about rayguns. Rocket boots. Hovercraft. Pretty much anything from Back To The Future 2. If someone was frozen in 1950 and woke up now, I want to be able to put on my silver hover suit and goggles with a heads-up display and greet them as they wake up and say “Welcome to the FUUUUTUUUURE! We’ll be installing your holo-net transciever in the back of your head tomorrow. Would you like some martian tea and a space burger?” Instead, all I can do is look up from my laptop (with no wi-fi in this area) and say “Welcome to the future. We’ll take you to the DMV tomorrow to get your license renewed. Would you like a bottled water and a taco?”
Even medical care kind of sucks. We’ve been waiting for an hour and a half for a doctor to come in, take one look at her coughing and say “Flu. Antibiotics. Bed rest. Plenty of fluids. Next!” This is totally something a robot could do. The only reason robots don’t provide most medical care is for liability reasons, despite the fact that they would know more than human doctors could ever know. As we’d get out of here faster, too. And this place doesn’t look ANYTHING like the sickbay in the Enterprise. There’s no 2-1B Medical Droid or Bacta Tank either. If I got hit with a phaser or lost a hand in a lightsaber duel, I’d be screwed.
The future is not what we thought it would be and it’s our fault. My generation was supposed to be the one to invent all that cool shit but all we seem to want to do is watch internet porn and talk about reality tv shows over the water cooler at our mundane, pointless jobs. It’s too late for us. However, it’s not too late for the next generation. If you have kids, it is your MORAL AND SOCIETAL OBLIGATION to load them up on sci-fi movies and point to the screen and say “THAT is your destiny. THAT is what you are put on this Earth to make real. THAT is your purpose in life.”
Philosophers say that life becomes sentient when it can ask the big questions: “Why am I here?” and “Is this all there is?” Shouldn’t parents at least give their kids an answer that isn’t based on religious nonsense or politically correct bullshit? I say, give them the answer you wish your parents gave you: “You are here to make rayguns and lightsabers and teleporters and robots. Lots of wonderful robots. Get cracking.”
And while you’re at it, get us all some free goddamn wi-fi everywhere. I’m bored to tears in this waiting room and I’m about to run amuck.
Barry Robb is a starving web designer, internet marketer and webmaster/producer/co-co-host of a certain pop culture webshow. He enjoys discussing zombie prepardedness but is totally unprepared himself.