We can make it stronger…. better..… faster… slowly
September 2, 2005
A very common concern of science fiction lovers is that in our modern
world, corporate groups don't have the same balls as small independent
companies. You don't see GM or Ford putting out sub-orbital fliers, air cars, even electric vehicles in mass production. It's left to small groups like Scaled Composites and programs like the X-prize that seem to push our pioneering spirit forward, so how long would it take before our modern world would be capable of moving into the mecha era of manufacturing?
Let's look at the past for reference. The automobile, first produced in the early 1900s, is a modern day appliance. We practically require it now in order to go about our daily lives. The truth is though, that today's automobiles are not all that dissimilar to those 100 years ago. I had a chance recently to drive around in an old Ford Model A, a car that is circa 1920, and though obviously a modern vehicle is easier to control, more reliable and safer, the fundamentals of the vehicle are the same. Environmentally, the Model A was probably less damaging than the vehicles we drive today.
So what happened to the 1940's/50's vision of flying cars, mass transit systems and advanced space exploration?
Corporations have to always consider their bottom line, and generally,
going out on a limb to explore things that are unknown is scary, if not dangerous. People like reliability, especially when it comes to the machines and objects they interact with daily. Corporations rely on customer satisfaction, because without customers all a company is doing is wasting time and money. This is a key factor in why we are still sending 35 year old buckets into space. The government, the largest corporation in the country, doesn't want to put all their money into something that very well might yield little or no results to its bottom line.
Some people might ask, "How do we make advancements at all then?" Well, just as we like reliability, we also get bored very easily. If things
are always the same, demand drops, and the need disappears. The truth
is, these changes are often very small, and very minor, as we see with
cars, computers, operating systems (hello Winblows). Small changes are
enough to motivate us to try them out, and they gradually work towards
Once in a very, very long while, an innovative idea takes root, and in 90% of cases, the military or independent groups are responsible. Tanks. Jets. Missiles. Sub-orbital flyers that cost less than $500 million dollars. In almost all cases, these innovations come as a response to a need, and the truth is, there is very little apparent need for future tech today, especially humanoid mecha.
Perhaps, in the next 25 or 50 years a situation will arise while where
a mecha would be a necessity. In space development, they might be much more advantageous than on Earth. We will simply have to wait and see. Sadly, there is no way to gauge when we will reach the technological
age of Gundam or other mecha. We will simply have to wait and see. In
the mean time, there are plenty of adventurous pioneers out there trying to make it happen today. Lets see what's waiting out there...
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