Memories of Robots Future

I’m not adding much to this one (on the immediate future of robots), but it brought back memories. I’ve been a science fiction fan since I first laid eyes on my first Heinlein book in my brother-in-law’s house. In our home we didn’t do fiction, though I’d read some in high school literature. It was a strange new world. In any case, I became something between a fan and an addict, probably leaning toward the addict side. I also enjoyed imagining what the future would be like. I will still criticize the future vision of any story that purports to have one, not that I’m likely to get it any better than the author did. It’s just fun.

In any case, fast forward to graduate school, 1980 at Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI, and a computer show. I don’t recall who sponsored it, or most of the technology that was there. I was just getting interested in PCs. A friend of mine and I stopped by a company representative who had a few machines there. We started talking with the representative about the future, and suggested that somewhere down the road, perhaps a couple of decades, computers would be driving cars. We were just talking about specialized devices with specially marked roads, recognition of major obstacles–simple stuff. He told us flat out that we were nuts. Computers were not capable of doing such a thing.

Well, it’s 2007, and of course, and the next crop of robots are doing and planning to do things that we did not really envision in that conversation. As so often happens, reality is getting ahead of science fiction. You have to keep your imagination well-honed to stay ahead of reality.

I think we’re looking at an exciting couple of decades ahead.

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One Comment

  1. Fascinating stuff. I love the science fiction too. I once predicted (early 80’s) that people would one day listen to music on microchips. Everyone thought I was crazy but I just got my first iPod:)

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