Back to the Future


The future is currently behind us. In the seventies to be precise.

Why ? You know why. Men were almost routinely going on the moon. Civilian airplanes were routinely flying at supersonic speed, going from Paris to New-York in less than 3 hours. You could have a long warm bath. Nowadays with those bloody electrical boilers, you are lucky if you have hot water until the end of your shower (well for your buddies who want a warm shower after you that morning, sorry but too late guys !). Back then you could watch terrestrial television with a good reception. Today’s DTTV transmission and reception is so bad that very often it is unwatchable specially due to the cliff effect. The quality of TV displays has also sharply (!) dropped : CRT provides a much sharper image than LCD or plasma. The only promising display technology that can compete with CRT is high-definition OLED but it’s going to take a while before it becomes cheap specially on large TV displays. While we are on the subject of home entertainment : vinyl and FM radio audio qualities are much higher than CD, MP3 (horrendous!) and digital radio which are so compressed that they sound completely flat. Internet ? Already existed. It was called ARPANET at that time, just a few less pipes and a few less users than nowadays.

So what is there to marvel about the 2010’s that didn’t already exist in the 1970’s ? Apart from a few gadgets with some sizeable computational power and bandwidth, not much I’m afraid. And it looks that men on the moon and civilian supersonic flights won’t make a comeback before the 2030’s at the very best, update: related plans have now been scaled back or abandoned so these might never happen again in our life time. By the way, both the next man on the moon and the first one on Mars will probably be Chinese.

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