Forecast / ideation / Technology

Forecast Friday: What (N)ever Happened To…?

Where’s my jet pack? Those things were going to be the wave of the future when I was growing up – we were all supposed to have one. Flying cars were a bit out there and not realistic (The Jetsons WAS a cartoon, after all), but jet packs were guaranteed to be in my future, weren’t they?

Some things touted as the next great thing (at least some time in the future) have made it – personal computers, the internet, smart watches, communicators. Autonomous vehicles are on the way. Others have never made it – either for technical or “lack of demand” reasons.

And still others will NEVER make it. Transporters? They were a cost saving device that Roddenberry came up with to help make Star Trek an affordable enterprise (pun intended.) Even if it was real, I’m with Dr. McCoy – I’m not keen on scattering my atoms across the universe (I grew up on The Fly.) And there’s still that sticky business about where the soul is and whether it goes along with the rest of the info (what if the original is actually duplicated and then snuffed out (like Hugh Jackman’s character in The Prestige)?

We’re in the big push for Artificial Intelligence – who knows whether we’ll ever really get there (will THEY have souls?) Artificial stupidity has been in the works for a long time (I love the toaster in Red Dwarf.) I think they creators of Siri and other digital assistants have tried to work some of that in deliberately, although there still seems to be a lot of accidental stupidity in there (relax, you defenders of digital feelings, I know – “garbage in, garbage out”.)

Alan Turing had theorized that the only way machines could seem human would be to introduce errors in their answers (let them make mistakes.) In the first Loebner prize competition, the winner included deliberate errors to “perfect” it’s human impersonation.

What do you want from our AI? Do you want a mistake-free device that makes your life more COMFORTABLE by taking tasks from you and performing them to perfection? Or do you want an imperfect BEING that makes you feel more COMFORTABLE because it behaves more humanly (if we can just get past our discomfort with the UNCANNY VALLEY)?

Just saying…


loveunderstarscoverThis is the release weekend for “L-O-V-E Among the Stars”:

A space traveler wakes too soon, and must leave the woman of his dreams to the ministrations of another, less-human caretaker.

“L-O-V-E Among the Stars” is a short, speculative fiction of (with hints of a pop standard.) It’s available now in the usual places, including (but not limited to) Smashwords:


collection5ebookcoverThis week’s Smashwords coupon is for Yet Still Even More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND – my fifth short story collection, which contains the following:

“Mutiny on the Star-Bound” – A humble digital mechanic finds himself in the middle of a mutiny on the Star-Bound, Martin begins to wonder: who’s rebelling against whom?

“Reconcilable Differences” – Madeline doesn’t have much hope for her forty-six-year marriage; Carl just refuses to remember things the way she does. Maybe Memory Replacement Therapy holds the answer.

“New Antiques” – Tim Crabtree wonders why his new neighbors have built a forty-foot pole in their backyard. Are they trying to get hit by lightning? If he only knew…

“Dead End Jobs” – Bryan Riggins finds himself waiting in line for a job interview. But what waits for him behind that door?

“The Re-Entanglement of Grant Decker” – Are we simply the sum of the choices we’ve made? What happened to all the other possibilities?

“Anti-Social” – A homebody struggles to break social conventions and reach out into a world that’s becoming less and less substantial. How do you make yourself real?

Use coupon code HG52B to get an additional 67% off the newly reduced cover price at Smashwords (that’s only 99-cents – such a deal!) – it’s good until October 29th. Here’s the link:


William Mangieri’s writing, including his most recent publication “Hard Times”, can be hardtimescoverfound in many places, including:
• Smashwords:
• Barnes & Noble:
• Createspace (if you prefer physical books):
• His site on WordPress:
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at:
• His Goodreads author page:
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri


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