5 Awesome Sci-Fi Inventions (That Would Actually Suck)

Remember all those Star Trek gadgets you wished you had because they looked so cool? Well, it turns out looking cool is about all they'd be good for.

Here's five inventions that will be available some day ... even if nobody wants them.

Flying Cars

As seen in:
Blade Runner, The Fifth Element, Back to the Future II, Futurama, The Jetsons ... it's actually kind of difficult to list sci-fi that doesn't feature some variation of the flying car.

Why we thought we wanted them:
First, we don't mean some kind of sissy half-plane, half-car hybrid that some people will try to tell you is a flying car. No, we mean real, float off the ground, how the crap is that happening, Jetsons sort of flying cars. Admit it, when you were 7 years old, there were only two things you were sure of: Transformers fucking rule, and the future would be full of flying goddamn cars.

Of course, once you learned to drive you wanted one even more. Every time you're stuck in traffic, you can picture yourself flipping a switch and swooping into the sky, leaving those honking bastards behind. You'd fly straight to work, free as a bird.

Why we were wrong:
Well, guess what: They're not gonna let you do that. People just flying wherever the fuck they want would be a death warrant for every radio tower and power line in the country.

No, you'd have to fly according to a wussified autopilot, along pre-set pathways. Air-roads, in other words. And, once everybody has a flying car ... well, have you ever been driving to work in a city at around, oh, eight or nine in the morning? If so, you'll know exactly how bad traffic can get during rush hour. Now, imagine if there was not just one layer of cars, but there was layer after layer of flying metal death traps over top and below you.

That's not even the worst part. The many people who have tried to invent flying cars over are finding out that every single thing that's bad with cars (cost, safety, etc) is made worse when you try to make the thing fly.

For instance, no matter what kind of engine they invent, a flying car will always burn more fuel than a regular car, especially on short trips (you burn a bunch of gas trying to overcome that gravity thing on takeoff).

Even worse, even a minor crash with another flying car could send both vehicles plummeting to the ground while you scream in terror. Imagine the poor guy on the ground, sitting there at a red light, as a flaming five car pile-up is hurdling down towards him from the sky. If you're not scared yet, try to imagine what they're going to charge you in insurance premiums as a result.

Jet Packs

As seen in:
The Jetsons (again), The Rocketeer, James Bond used one in Thunderball, Boba Fett... too many to count. If you've never heard about and/or purchased a toy featuring a jet pack, you are from the 1800s.

Why we thought we wanted them:
Because every single human wants the ability to fly, pretty much from birth. We're talking the ability to fly, not ride in a thing that flies.

Why we were wrong:
We're going to skip past the obvious point that the Rocketeer here would be left with charred stumps below the thigh, since that exhaust is coming out at around 2,000 degrees.

Modern jetpacks just use tanks of compressed gas that basically fart you into the air. If that sounds lame, you're right. The prototypes they have now let you fly a whole 30 seconds.

But let's assume they overcome all that and make one that actually works. All those safety issues we have with the flying cars? You've got all that, only without a car around you to protect your fragile body. The only possible method of saving your ass when you crash/fall asleep/run out of fuel is probably a parachute, which means you'd need extensive training on how to land without impaling yourself on a tree branch.

The only alternative would have to be some kind of air bag that instantly inflates around you in an emergency, letting you bounce gently to safety while you involuntarily shout, "WHEEEE!!!" The problem with that, of course, is that we'd be intentionally crashing all the time just so we can do that.


As seen in:
Most people would know the holodeck as being an invention out of the Star Trek series, but they probably took the idea from a Ray Bradbury short story called The Veldt where a family has a holodeck that simulates an African veldt, and then are (predictably) eaten by virtual lions.

Why we thought we wanted it:
The holodeck is just big room, that can simulate any number of environments and/or experiences for the user, and can trick all five senses into believing that it's real. You don't have to hook anything up to your brain, you can walk in and out of it like any room. A room that happens to be full of ninjas and naked women and everything else you don't have in your real life.

Why we were wrong:
Of course, we here at Cracked were too busy practicing Jujitsu and working on our dragsters to watch something as geeky as Star Trek, but we do know that the dangers of a holodeck were demonstrated in Episode 234 ("A Fistful of Datas", aired November 9, 1992, Stardate 46271.5). This episode proved that if you get shot by a cowboy in the holodeck world, you really die.

Now, assuming the creators of the real holodeck are not completely retarded and they install something that makes it so the simulation cowboys do not shoot real bullets and that the veldt lions don't really eat you (both of these would seem to be first-day considerations in the design phase), there is another problem.

Imagine how you'll react if you're in your holodeck and somebody interrupts you. Say, you're halfway through your chess game with Darth Vader, when suddenly he disappears, Scarlett Johansson is no longer sitting in your lap, and pizza costs money again. You'd find the guy who turned off the machine and snap his damned neck. Dilbert creator Scott Adams jokingly points out in his book The Dilbert Future that the holodeck, "will be society's last invention." It's no joke; once we had it, there'd be no reason to have anything else.

It's not just that it would be addictive; it's that it would literally fill every possible human emotional need and utterly eliminate all motivation to ever do anything ever. Everyone's only goal would be to do just enough work to keep food and electricity coming into the holodeck, to keep those interruptions by reality to a minimum.

People would stop reproducing, your virtual Scarlett Johansson could have perfect virtual kids who'll never wind up in jail or steal money from you to buy crack. If you get tired of them, tell the holodeck to blink them out of existence. If you're saying that you're a high-minded person who pursues spiritual goals and would never be sucked in by anything as crude as a simulation, hey, they've got a holodeck for you, too. You can sit down to dinner with Plato and Abe Lincoln and Gandhi and Jesus. If somebody yanked you out of that to go work at the post office all day, you'd barricade yourself in with a shotgun.

If aliens showed up to Earth 1,000 years later, they'd find an abandoned planet with ten billion mummified corpses laying on the floor of ten billion dusty holodecks, with huge smiles on their faces.

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