Created By: RickGriffin on February 27, 2012 Last Edited By: Arivne on April 4, 2015

We Will Not Walk In The Future

We have SO MUCH transportation tech, who even walks anymore?

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Page Type:
Trope
Doc: And in the future, we don't need horses. We have motorized carriages called automobiles. Old Timer: If everybody's got one of these auto-whatsits, does anybody walk or run anymore? Doc: Of course we run. But for recreation. For fun. Old Timer: Run for fun? What the hell kind of fun is that?

This wasn't on We Will Not Use an Index in the Future so I am assuming it is not currently a trope. I have MOSTLY seen this as a joke, or at least treated humorously, where transport convenience is so saturated in the culture the future people never take more than one step to go anywhere. Often when this is invoked, they are confronted with a situation where *gasp* the HAVE TO WALK ACROSS A ROOM.

This is often a comment on modern sedentary lifestyle (see Big Fat Future). Sometimes it's invoked in a modern setting, where one or more characters will take a transport for the "convenience" even though walking is probably more practical. Also discussed quite frequently, as characters will assume (or fear) that increased transportation technology will lead to nobody walking anymore, ever.

If people take transportation for a reason other than convenience/laziness, then it's probably not this trope.

If the name is too Snowclone-y I'm certainly up for alternate suggestions (though the nice thing about this one is it's very straightforward).


Examples

Comic Books
  • The story "Blobs!" in the very first issue of the MAD comic book has this trope; humans have become so used to being carried everywhere by their machines that their arms and legs have atrophied to uselessness. It was a homage to the classic SF story "The Machine Stops", so I think you can guess what happens at the end.

Film - Animated
  • In WALL•E, this trope is literally true. Humans have to relearn how to walk.

Literature
  • In Isaac Asimov's The Caves of Steel, people don't even need cars— they use high-speed conveyor belt sidewalks called "slidewalks" to run around the cities at high speed. There's even a chase sequence that's also a car chase sequence because of this!

Music
  • "Walking In L.A." by Missing Persons, suggests we already live in such a society.
    You won't see a cop walkin' on the beat.
    You only see 'em drivin' cars out on the street.
    You won't see a kid walkin' home from school.
    Their mothers pick 'em up in a car pool.
  • This is one of the future developments in the Zager and Evans song "In the Year 2525."

Western Animation
  • The Jetsons
    • The original show with their moving sidewalks everywhere, including in their house, comes pretty close to this trope. They do walk a bit, but they ride much more.
    • Parodied in an episode of Harvey Birdman where the Jetsons find Harvey's office not covered by moving sidewalks, they struggle to make it to the other side of the room. It takes all night. They're attacked by wolves along the way.
  • Parodied in The Simpsons episode "You Only Move Twice". After using exercise treadmills, Homer and his new boss step on a conveyor belt (thus making their exercise a bit pointless). Although not actually set in the future, the setting is science-fictiony since the boss turns out to be a Bond-style supervillain.

Community Feedback Replies: 24
  • February 27, 2012
    SKJAM
    The story "Blobs!" in the very first issue of the Mad comic book has this trope; humans have become so used to being carried everywhere by their machines that their arms and legs have atrophied to uselessness. It was a homage to the classic SF story "The Machine Stops", so I think you can guess what happens at the end.
  • February 28, 2012
    SharleeD
    Niven's Known Space novels come close to this, thanks to puppeteers' stepping disc technology and humans' transport booths. If you can make it to the nearest booth/disc, you can get to anywhere on these races' homeworlds in just a step or two.
  • February 28, 2012
    Speedball
    In Isaac Asimov's "The Caves of Steel," people don't even need cars-- they use high-speed conveyor belt sidewalks called "slidewalks" to run around the cities at high speed. There's even a chase sequence that's also a car chase sequence because of this!
  • February 28, 2012
    Premonition45
    Discussed in Back To The Future Part III, as Doc describes the future in 1885. This could even be the page quote:
    Doc: And in the future, we don't need horses. We have motorized carriages called automobiles.
    Old Timer: If everybody's got one of these auto-whatsits, does anybody walk or run anymore?
    Doc: Of course we run. But for recreation. For fun.
    Old Timer: Run for fun? What the hell kind of fun is that?
  • February 28, 2012
    RickGriffin
    I actually thought of that quote when I made this; I think most of the 'discuss' side to this trope would be when characters assume that future transportation tech will mean the end of all walking, which MIGHT be done as much as the actual trope being played out onscreen.
  • February 28, 2012
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Music:
    • "Walking In L.A." by Missing Persons, suggests we already live in such a society.
      You won't see a cop walkin' on the beat.
      You only see 'em drivin' cars out on the street.
      You won't see a kid walkin' home from school.
      Their mothers pick 'em up in a car pool.

    Film - Western Animation:
    • In Wall E, this trope is literally true. Humans have to relearn how to walk.

    Compare Big Fat Future.
  • February 28, 2012
    TooBah
    Not really the future, but... from LA Story:
    Sara: Why don't we walk?
    Harris: Walk? A walk in L.A.?
    There's also a bit where Harris gets in his car, and drives... next door.
  • February 28, 2012
    RickGriffin
    ^ I think that might have more to do with fear of running into muggers than simple convenience or laziness. Except for the driving next door bit; I haven't seen LA Story so I don't know if he's intentionally lazy there or he believes it's really that bad a neighborhood.
  • February 28, 2012
    Rognik
    The Jetsons with their moving sidewalks everywhere, including in their house, comes pretty close to this trope. They do walk a bit, but they ride much more.
  • February 28, 2012
    PacificMackerel
    Strange inversion in Touhou: It's magic in this case, and it's heavily implied even regular humans can fly.
  • February 29, 2012
    TrustBen
    This is one of the future developments in the Zager and Evans song "In the Year 2525."
  • February 29, 2012
    SharleeD
    This trope was referenced a lot in the news as a possible consequence when the Segway PT was introduced in 2001.

    Not us, but the Speculative Documentary The Future Is Wild includes far-future descendents of termites in which only one caste has legs, and the other castes are carried from place to place by the walkers.
  • February 29, 2012
    mdulwich
    Parodied in The Simpsons episode You Only Move Twice: after using exercise machines, Homer and his new boss step on a conveyor belt (thus making their exercise a bit pointless). Although not actually set in the future, the setting is relatively futuristic since the boss turns out to be a Bond-style supervillain.
  • February 29, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Mad #1 (Oct-Nov, 1952) had a story in which people who lived in a futuristic society were dependent on machines for everything, including movement.
  • February 29, 2012
    randomsurfer
    ^^You forgot to mention that the excercise machines were specifically treadmills; so for excercise they pretended to walk, then rode to get to where they were going instead of walking.
  • February 29, 2012
    SKJAM
    It might be time to update the main draft with the examples, as we're beginning to repeat.
  • February 29, 2012
    deuxhero
    In both Baten Kaitos games a number of NPCs in the Steampunk based Alfard make comments about this while riding on their machina scooters. A more plot important variant (especially in the second game) is that this attitude is even extended to a person's natural Wings of the Heart [[hottip:*:energy wings manifested through force of will which are visually distinct from person to person, even among relative]] which are replaced by winglets, which take the form of either mechanical wings or Rocket Boots.
  • February 29, 2012
    Omeganian
    The Martians in War Of The Worlds. Might be the Ur Example.
  • April 3, 2015
    DAN004
  • April 3, 2015
    LobsterMagnusNovus
    Web Comics
    • Gavia from Alice Grove is entirely dependent on nanotech for locomotion (which makes her hover around). Unfortunately, she isn't very fast that way, which becomes a problem when she has to "run" away from potential danger.
  • April 4, 2015
    Arivne
    Literature
    • Ray Bradbury's short story "The Pedestrian". In the future a man likes to walk alone at night while everyone else sits in their houses watching TV. A robot police car stops him and is unable to understand why he's walking. It eventually arrests him and takes him to the Psychiatric Center for Research on Regressive Tendencies.
  • April 4, 2015
    Arivne
    • Namespaced and italicized work names.
    • Deleted "This was in Wall E and also an episode of Harvey Birdman where the Jetsons were confused that the floors were not covered in moving sidewalks." since that's supposed to be in the Examples section (and is).
    • Examples section
  • April 4, 2015
    Rjinswand
    Do we have a trope for All Streets Are Moving Walkways In The Future? I can't find it anywhere. If we don't I'll launch it, it seems like a common companion to this trope.
  • April 4, 2015
    oneuglybunny
    Film
    • The closing scene from The Last Mimzy shows school children gathering for class in an open meadow by floating through the air and coming gently to rest on the grass. Their teacher arrives the same way, conducts a class about three minutes long, then everyone simply floats away like dandelion seeds. Apparently, humanity has developed awesome telekinesis at that point.
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