Hey, Future, where’s my jetpack?

According to the visions of the future when I was a kid, by now I’d be travelling in my own private bubble hover-car, or using the jetpack for local journeys. Meals would consist of quick and handy pills, while a robot did the housework.

The other day – a rainy November Sunday – we decided to go and see a film. We walked there on our own legs (evolved circa 6 million years ago) and carried an umbrella (originally patented in 1786). Our destination, The Duke of York’s, claims to be England’s first purpose-built cinema (1910).

So far, so totally not like the Jetsons.

But the bit which really wasn’t envisaged way back when… we booked our tickets earlier that day using a thing like a book with its spine bent back, connecting to an invisible thingy that spanned the globe. We pressed our fingers to its screen. And when we got to the cinema we showed another screen, much tinier, with a symbol that proved we had already booked and paid, though no physical money changed hands. The man on the door, sporting a beard that any Victorian paterfamilias would have envied, checked our screen with another neat gadget that read it and let us through.

We watched a film about Alan Turing, one of the early developers of the computer.

It was still raining when we got home. Unfortunately, no robot had cleaned the house for us, but, fortunately, we had real food for our evening meal.

Opening of the Duke of York's Cinema, 1910

Opening of The Duke of York’s Cinema, Brighton, 1910.