Alonzo Weston

It’s the year 2020 now and I should have a flying car, a robot maid and a vacation home on Mars.

That’s the stuff many experts predicted we’d have by now. Even the old “Jetsons” cartoons predicted we’d be in flying cars and have robot maids by now.

But we have made progress. Since the 1970s we’ve been slowly inching toward the future in technology.

Whereas once it took a whole room to hold a computer, we now carry one around with our phones. We have self-driving cars, too, and realistic video games, among other things.

But the future comes slower than we thought.

Some experts predicted we’d all live to be 100 years old by 2020. Futurist Ray Kurzweil predicted in 1999 that human life expectancy would rise to over 100 by 2019. This would be aided by health related gadgets like Fitbits and EKG apps on your phone.

While we do have those gadgets, the life expectancy of the global population is still 72.6 years, according to the United Nations. In the United States, the average life expectancy is 78.6 years.

Kurzweil also predicted that our every move would be tracked by 2020. That has practically come true with smartphones and web browser trackers.

While we do have robots, they have yet to take over all of our jobs and make humans obsolete. That hasn’t happened, but what has happened is more places put customers to work self-checking out instead of hiring more workers or using robots. They convinced us to work for them for free by checking our own groceries out and make it all palpable by calling it “convenience.”

Nobel-prize-winning chemist Glenn T. Seaborg predicted in 1964 that households that didn’t have robot maids could have live-in apes to do cleaning and gardening chores.

“Also the use of well-trained apes as family chauffeurs might decrease the number of automobile accidents, “ Seaborg said.

Sorry, I don’t want an ape in my house.

Space tourism hasn’t happened either. In the 1960s and 1970s, folks predicted we’d be taking vacations to Mars and Pluto by 2020. Heck, we haven’t even done time travel yet.

Folks predicted that books would no longer be with us by 2020. That hasn’t happened. While the net revenue of the book-publishing industry has decreased since 2014, it still sold 675 million print books and brought in nearly $26 billion in 2018.

In 1969 when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, I thought we were on a fast road to the future. Leisurely space travel couldn’t be far behind and neither would robots.

No one could ever predict that we’d be so divided as a nation as we are now. Wars should be obsolete. It appears we’re going backwards, which is what some people seem to want.

I would think by now we’d have evolved past all that stuff. We can make fancy gadgets, but haven’t figured out a way for all of us to get along.

I want peace to be what we strive for in the future. At least make a gadget to bring our country back together again.

Alonzo Weston can be reached


Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPWeston.