Neil deGrasse Tyson on "2001: A Space Odyssey" — An Accurate Vision of Our World?

Neil deGrasse Tyson compares our actual progress in space to what was predicted in the 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The first time this happened to a lot of us was when 1984 came and went without a discernible Big Brother (except for that Macintosh commercial): We’d apparently avoided George Orwell’s dystopian future, unless you count “Say, Say, Say” by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson — which rang in the year at the top of charts — or Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” — which closed it out — as dystopian. I guess a case could be made.


On January 1 of 2001, Neil DeGrasse Tyson published an OpEd in the New York Times taking stock of how clearly, or not, Arthur C. Clarke had seen the future in his book 2001 and Stanley Kubrick’s classic 1968 film by the same name. After all, the future had arrived. Was it— and especially space exploration — anything like what the movie predicted?

Could an iPhone take HAL in a game of chess? Who could ever have guessed we’d have such powerful computers in our pockets, or that they’d ultimately be upstaged by our selfie cameras? We admit we would have to give HAL the edge over Siri or Cortana, but in 1968, it hadn’t yet occurred to us that using probes was a more sensible way to visit faraway places like, say, Jupiter, which sounds like a routine destination for us, the way deGrasse Tyson tells it. So duh on our past future selves for that.

It stands to reason that the longer you live, the more of these “futures” you see come and go. (My teenage daughter and I just finished binge-watching Fringe, where 2015 was the year in which the world was invaded by bald jerks from the future.) Three years to Blade Runner!

So we’re doing okay, at least by these sci-fi standards. Almost makes you want to party like it’s 1999.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

26 ultra-rich people own as much as the world's 3.8 billion poorest

The Oxfam report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency."

Getty Images and Wikimedia Commons
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new report by Oxfam argues that wealth inequality is causing poverty and misery around the world.
  • In the last year, the world's billionaires saw their wealth increase by 12%, while the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet lost 11% of their wealth.
  • The report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency." We explain what Steven Pinker's got to do with it.
Keep reading Show less

People who constantly complain are harmful to your health

Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.

Photo credit: Getty Images / Stringer
popular

Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.

Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.

Keep reading Show less
Videos
  • Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
  • Creating a more connected world and indexing the world's information: what could be better than that?
  • But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
Keep reading Show less