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  • Writer's pictureSiria Contreras

Fly Me to the Moon

Where are my flying cars?

Where is my robot assistant?

Where is my electric vehicle?

Where is my clone?

Can computers do our jobs for us yet?

When can I go to Mars?

One ticket to space please.

Technically, all of these things are possible. Now. Today. At this very moment.

It may not look like what we saw in the movies, we’re technically not all sporting jet packs and I still don’t have my body scan closet/3-D outfit printer, but if I really wanted it’s possible to experience it in the here and now.

Yet, we can’t move 8 billion people into the “future.” Not all at once.

Especially when there is such disparity across the various peoples of this world at the moment, but that’s not news. “Same as it ever was.”

I mean, we couldn’t even get the world vaccinated all at once either, so how about that as your benchmark. But, then again for years we couldn’t get everyone on Zoom either and all of a sudden everyone knows how to Zoom/GoogleMeet/FaceTime/Insta Live/TikTok, etc., etc.

No, really though, it comes down to resources. If you have the means, the future is here for you now. Join Bezos or Pete Davidson on the next voyage to Mars. What you do with your money and your PTO is your business.

Ok, quick thought though, since our voyages to Mars are still newish, should we be putting better thought into who our Earth Ambassadors should be when venturing out into other galaxies? I get it, I get it. There are space programs to fund. But, still…

Don’t worry, if you’re just an average joe of modest means, you can still enjoy many of today’s “futuristic” perks.

We’ve only scraped the surface when it comes to what AI or blockchain can do (not crypto, but blockchain, the powerful technology behind it and many other things). You can absolutely create a fake insta with AI images and tell the world that that is your BF or GF. You also never really have to write an essay or research paper or conduct the research yourself for said paper thanks to ChatGPT. You can also enjoy the self-checkout lines at most grocery stores and now even gas stations and remain as antisocial as you’d like to be. The future is yours to make of it what you will.

No seriously, there is a lot of good happening right now. While many people are busy doodling around with AI creating art that we can appreciate or “writing” basic code, running more detailed reports, etc. Many others are using its powers for ways that can potentially help our “today’s” world problems like climate change or wildlife extinction and habitat restorations. It is being used in medicine, in finance, in education.

Then there’s the aforementioned current "it-girl" ChatGPT and all of its contemporaries, which feels like a “how-to” tool a child created to take it’s grandparents into the uber-digital world and the instructions on how to use it not too far to the post-it, scrawled step-by-step variety that I've left for my parents on a multitude of things. Step 1: Grab a glass of wine. #YoureWelcome.

Speaking of “Uber,” not only do all of the major food-delivery services now also employ the adorable “robots” for delivering meals in major metropolitan cities or on college campuses, but many a time these are helpful even for the drivers who would normally perform these tasks as parking in some of these areas is stressful or even near impossible. While deliveries made by humans provide paychecks and help sustain households in some of these areas a delivery attempt could mean encountering parking citations or even having your vehicle towed which unfortunately would cut into the expected compensation that the driver might be counting on.

Five or six years ago, I was fan-girling over a security robot in Malibu because it was simply too adorbs and it has a light show that it regaled me with to boot. Shout-out to that little robot, wherever it may be.

I was also at Denny's in Torrance earlier this year and a robot delivered my food, not a server. I'm betting those robots don't make $15-$20 p/hour as their human counterparts have had to negotiate for so long and so hard for.

Robots apparently were the low-hanging fruit, but visually more awe-factor for everyone when it came to giving us a taste of the future we all grew up watching.

In the movies, screenwriters and book authors really gave us high expectations for 2020 and beyond. You know, just like religious entities had of the year 2000 or possibly our pet-name Y2K as you might better recall the era of low-slung, hip-hugging jeans and terrible trucker hats.

Yet, something greater than Mayan calendars and the rapture-ready religious set (not that Rapture, who were too busy trying to “get themselves into it” which I WAS here for) had to have known that it couldn’t have possibly have been the end of the world, not with the “Thong Song” as the soundtrack to the demise of humankind during the Boy Band and Pop Princess era. I don’t know about you, but had I taken it seriously at the time I would’ve refused to go down like that.

When the time comes, if I’m still on this earth, please have some respect and crank up the Sonos and queue up some Leonard Cohen or a hologram of Sinatra crooning “I Did It My Way.” I mean, if those 90’s/2000’s humane society commercials got sad Sarah McLachlan music. Humanity itself deserves something better than Sisqo, Something we can perform a resigned and somber cheers to, not something to do body shots to.

So, anyhow…fast forward to two and a half-ish decades later and all of a sudden, those same kids that watched “Back to the Future 1,” “Back to the Future II,” but not so-much “Back to the Future III” if box office data is correct and later purchased ““NOW, That’s What I Call 2000!” (present company not included) weren’t the ones with the high expectations for adulthood as we’d already been let down many-a-time with false promises like the break-up of "Britney + Justin Forever".

No. Those high hopes were reserved for our parents' generations, wishes that were broadcast even just today in 2023 as my father shunned self-driving vehicles by expressing his disdain for the lack of airborne vehicles that could instead of being highway bound could congest our skyways with air traffic so that my niece could get to school on time each a.m.. Apparently, my dad also was ready for the Jetson’s lifestyle. Who knew?

Listen, I am all for the flying motorcycle/bikes that have been officially making a splash this year. However, as someone who has more than once forgotten to fuel up their car and driven mindlessly until they ran out of fuel, I don’t need anyone dropping out of the sky unannounced as I’m crossing the street or walking our dog.

Also, it’s always the show-offs and reckless devil-may-cares that tend to get a thrill out of the early releases of these type of things so I think I’ll wait until we’re not in danger of starting the "Mile-High Sky Club 2 Fast 2 Furious" franchise. I likely won’t take to driving the non-congested skyways where I might need to battle vultures or birds of prey or risk crashing someone’s pool party or wedding unannounced. Also, I really enjoy wearing dresses.

So, for me perhaps staying on the ground and grid-locked for now, but eventually being able to make a “long” roadtrip in an electric vehicle without the reality of a lack of charging stations that currently block such activities is futuristic enough at this time.

On a serious note though, where OUR collective heads should be focused on is, what does our new sky’s the limit version of the future look like? What will today’s kids have to look forward to being partially disappointed like we have been generation after generation? But also what does our realistic future look like? What jobs will remain for humans. What will our carbon footprints look like? Global warming? Medical advancements? Will “influencers” just be able to 3D print new faces or will it continue to be injection after injection? Because from age 20 to age 80 that’s a lot of needlework. Overpopulation dangers? Supply chain solutions? So many areas to further and evolve in very little time with the future always threatening to pop-up from around the corner.

At this moment, I'd be quite happy if someone wrote a sci-fi book or summer blockbuster that showed how we saved the world from Global Warming, maybe a la Tremors meets Independence Day meets Bill Nye the Science Guy. I feel like Greta Thunberg could easily play any role Tommy Lee Jones may have perfected in the past and could probably rock a flight suit or a sleek black suit as well as she unintentionally does climate activist chic.

So, as they say, “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

By now we know the earth doesn’t stop turning and without a doubt the future for everyone is every day after today.

If you prefer to keep more of a doomsday POV, then make this your motto, “The future is now. It's time to grow up and be strong. Tomorrow may well be too late.” and tomorrow is in 25 minutes west-coasters.


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