“where’s my fucking transporter?”

Posted: 11 November 2011 in personal, world
Tags:

I’ve been thinking today about technology and how it’s made the world both bigger and smaller.

One of the phrases I dislike intensely is “the world’s so much closer now” because of the Internet, and satellite television, smart phones that can show you what’s happening in Times Square right now, despite you being in a coffee shop in Whetstone, North London.

It’s really not, you know. The world is still out there, hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands of miles away and it’s bonito coming to get you. If you want it, you still have to go find it. There are no Star Trek transporters and sure – if I want to travel to Times Square, I could (subject to flight availability) get there in about ten hours from now.

But I could have got there in ten hours ten years ago.

I know that I can dial on my phone (and how many of you automatically realised I meant my mobile phone rather than a land line?) and speak in seconds to a friend who’s 10,000 miles away. But I couldn’t be in his presence for well over twelve hours if I left right now.

The world isn’t at my fingertips. It’s at my device’s (whether that’s a tv, a smart phone, a PC) reach. My fingers aren’t that long.

And you know what? That’s ok for me.

But for thousands of people, whose relatives died in wars around the globe, and are buried in foreign parts, they’ve every right to ask, misquoting Warren Ellis

it’s the twenty-first century, where’s my fucking transporter?

And today, of all days, we should be ashamed for not being able to answer them.

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Comments
  1. The sad thing is that ten years ago, you could have got to New York in less than ten hours (on Concorde). We’ve actually gone backwards!

    • To be fair, Concord(e) was so far out of the reach of most people (I only know one person who went on it, and that was a demo flight) that I don’t think it’s fair to include it.

      Though having written that, I wonder – if we as a species don’t get off our collective arses and get manned space flight up and running again in the next thirty years – whether in a hundred years, people will say the same about manned space flight, that it existed for such a short period of time, and was limited effectively to the US and Russia, that it’s not worth discussing.

  2. Indeed. And I sincerely hope not. :/

  3. In this hope, you’re far from alone. There’s some upcoming projects that my own country has a stake in seeing launch successfully and run for a good long time.

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