Main Technology Marches On Discussion

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12:23:22 PM Apr 11th 2016
Where would I fit the following in?

Steam trains have not been a thing for quite some time (West Germany got rid of them in the 1970s, East Germany in 1988, Britiain in the 1970s and so on), yet the "default" train on signage and many media, as well as the stereotypical drawing of a train by children is still a steam train. Just like the stereotypical "choo choo" which is a sound no actual train in Europe makes anymore. Where would something like that be mentioned? Or is this another trope entirely?
07:30:11 PM Apr 11th 2016
edited by jormis29
08:06:03 PM Apr 11th 2016
05:29:58 AM Apr 12th 2016
Maybe a new trope about stock steam locomotives? Or Cool Train? I don't know...
06:21:18 PM Sep 6th 2014
  • Larry Niven and Jerry's Pournelle's The Mote in God's Eye features a device that is instantly recognizable as a modern smart phone. A touch screen device capable of data storage, creation and calculations, operating from a single integrated circuit. It's discussed as state-of-the-art tech in the book, which takes place in 3017 AD.

I've removed this as probably not an example. The backstory involves civilization collapsing twice, so a smartphone could very well be state-of-the-art technology, newly invented for the third time.
12:10:21 AM Feb 4th 2014
I didn't feel like adding it to the main page, but the entire book The Computers of Star Trek pretty much points out how all of the starships on Star Trek: The Next Generation, etc. _still_ having one central computer (technically two or three mainframes networked together) instead of a ship-wide network of computers is an excellent example of this trope. Especially when one ST:TNG episode has both the Enterprise and a Romulan ship suffering from an alien computer virus infecting their mainframes. (I guess people in the 24th century don't know about anti-virus software either?)
04:11:53 AM Feb 2nd 2014
There should be In-Universe examples. Such as the inversion of Anachronism Stew. (like a candlestick phone existing in 2050)
11:32:54 AM Sep 16th 2013
  • Pixar recently rewrote their animation software for Brave. It was the first time they had done this in 25 years.

Brave came out and so was completed last year, but even then, this is worded in such a strange way. Is it trying to say that up until Brave, it had the same software? What exactly does "rewrote" mean here?
03:41:05 AM Apr 4th 2013
"And Timmy says, "'CD-RO Ms?" and, depending on his age, may respond with either "How obsolete", "What's a CD-ROM?" or "C Ds, DV Ds, Blu-ray, what's the difference anyway? I just call them discs!""

And heading more and more towards "You bought the game AT A STORE? Why didn't you download it? Was the Internet down?"
02:28:20 PM Dec 28th 2012
edited by DaibhidC
Pulled this:

  • The early Dragonriders of Pern novels fall into this (and most of the other subtropes on this page, for that matter) hard.
    • Though they later started to use fire lizards as messengers, effectively creating a makeshift SMS network.

The Pern novels are set on a Lost Colony. Even if McCaffery had predicted cellphones, she wouldn't have given them to the Pernese, any more than she gave them regular phones (although ISTR the Smithcraft Hall reinventing Alexander Bain's chemical telegraph at some point).
05:29:27 PM Feb 14th 2012
Folks, we need to have a chat about what this trope is and isn't. This trope is about a work trying to predict the future and missing it, creating a type of zeerust in the process. A movie set in or after the 21st century which features floppy discs or CD Rs as a preferred means of data storage is an example. The fact that a dramatic scene in a movie set earlier than the late 90s hinged on a character desperately trying to get to a land-line phone to make a crucial telephone call isn't. This isn't about how if "technology X had been available in film A the plot of film A would have been different." Nor is it about how the presence of a then-currently-existing technology in an old film looks dated when you watch the film a number of years later. Of course the cars in Bullitt look dated after watching Fast Five. The horses in Silverado look dated compared to cars, it's not an example of this trope. It's the filmmakers working with the technology which was either available at the time, or would have been historically accurate for the time they are trying to replicate on film.
05:52:57 PM Feb 14th 2012
edited by SD81
I think eliminating the "Movie X would have been shorter if Technology Y had existed" would shorten down the page. 300 would have been shorter if the Spartans were armed with machine guns, or if the Persians had landed in nuclear submarines. You could literally, with sufficient time change the plot of probably 85% of all media with technology that came along later. If cell phones had existed in Shakespearean times Romeo and Juliet would have been about two kids sexting and eventually just running off and eloping. The trope needs to be repaired, because as it is, it's just sitting back in hindsight and going "well, that'd be different today". Yes, it would, but that doesn't qualify it as an example. Many of the examples remind me of the line from Wayne's World, "if a frog had wings he wouldn't bump his ass if he hopped." Well yeah, but the frog doesn't have wings, so why mention it? The Spartans in 300 didn't have machine guns. The trope itself is about underestimating future technology. Otherwise this is a trivia entry and we could add, as I said, roughly 3/4 of all media ever created. If Marcus Aurelius had been able to send a press release from his phone to the BBC about Maximus being his heir, Gladiator would have been a very different movie. Do you see how we could just keep doing this to work after work after work?
04:26:20 AM Dec 6th 2012
"This trope is about a work trying to predict the future and missing it, creating a type of zeerust in the process."

After reading the definition, I'm not sure that's true. The trope definition specifically states that what is supposed to be fancy technology in the present looks dated to viewers in future years.

"Nor is it about how the presence of a then-currently-existing technology in an old film looks dated when you watch the film a number of years later."

It seems like it is. The page defines the trope thusly:

  • Show takes place in modern or modern-ish times, usually the not-so-distant past.
  • Show makes reference to something, usually a form of technology, that is "The next big thing" or "state of the art"

It is explicitly not about predicting the future wrongly. "This trope is about a work trying to predict the future and missing it, creating a type of zeerust in the process"—that actually sounds like straight-up Zeerust. From looking over some of the entries in this page it seems like a lot of examples listed here are Zeerust. The bit about the Arthur C. Clarke novel where the guy going into space takes a typewriter with him is Zeerust. To contrast, the example provided from Friends where Chandler is all geeked out about his mid-90s computer that's less popular than a modern cellphone, that's this trope.
06:35:43 AM Dec 6th 2012
Given the trope's description, looks like gallium is exactly right and the first post is mostly incorrect. The middle parts are true, but the opening and the bit about Fast Five and whatnot are untrue. Granted, your 300 points are wholly valid and any examples like that should be deleted.
06:09:50 AM Dec 11th 2012
A Trope Repair Shop thread might be in order, because, as I read the examples, huge portions of what is on this page is Zeerust. For starters, everything in the literature section is sci-fi, set in the future, and thus Zeerust.
06:42:17 PM Jan 11th 2012
Okay, longpage is long. I move we divvy it up into subpages by media, each media's page having folders of the types listed.

For instance each media page will have "Computers" "life before cellphones", "Thrift store tech" etc.

I'd do it myself, but my laptop died and I'm stuck using my phone for the net and editing TV tropes when my kids aren't using the computer (which is rare).
10:06:41 AM Sep 14th 2011
edited by Premonition45
I'm not sure where to put this:
  • One reason The Beatles stopped touring was because their fans were screaming so loudly that they were unable to hear themselves perform. Today, there are headsets musicians wear to help hear themselves.
03:53:31 PM Sep 28th 2011
Not quite. Until the mid=70s, instruments weren't normally sent through the FOH rig - mostly musos played through their own backline.

Also - monitor systems weren't implemented until the late 60s/early 70s.
11:48:10 PM May 15th 2011
I'm trying to figure out where to put Buffy the Vampire Slayer on this regarding I Robot, You Jane. It's not exactly processing or internet speeds, and it's not exactly the next big thing, but it is centered on the rise of the computer and the power (and paranoia) surrounding the internet and ten years later it's painfully dated.
04:32:08 PM Feb 17th 2011
The "CD-Rom" one. Everyone uses C Ds, since when are they becoming obsolete?
11:49:34 PM May 15th 2011
We only use them for music, and iTunes and other things of that nature are pushing them to the sidelines. They'll probably remain for some time in the same way that audio cassettes did, but physical media appear to be on the way out.

09:55:45 PM Jun 11th 2011
What about video games and DV Ds?
06:54:06 PM Feb 4th 2011
The current image is funny and fitting, but... what is it?
06:56:28 PM Feb 4th 2011
A girl trying to put a 5.25 floppy into a modern laptop. No idea where it is from.
09:24:12 PM Feb 4th 2011
Nobody seems to know the original source of the image, but it was selected in an Image Pickin' thread a while back.
12:30:03 PM Apr 1st 2012
This is a silly question, but looking at the picture made me think, what would it take to read a 5.25 floppy on a modern pc?
12:18:34 PM Aug 13th 2012
The image caption makes no sense. The girl holds a 5.25 floppy (circa 1981) in one hand and a modern laptop (design and thinness imply early 2000s). Shouldn't the caption be "20th Century kid trapped with 21st Century technology"?
12:27:12 PM Aug 13th 2012
No, because the idea is that the laptop is hers, and she's trying to figure out how the big floppy is supposed to fit in it.
12:08:18 AM Jan 2nd 2011
What on earth is the image of? I don't get it.
08:25:51 AM Jan 2nd 2011
edited by suedenim
I think it's one of the various Digital Audio Tape formats from the '80s and '90s that first failed to supplant the CD, and later were supplanted by CD burners and MP3 players. Since nobody really bought into them (though I think some of the formats did OK in the Japanese market), it's funny to see a show that assumes everyone's using them in 2015.

That said, it is kind of a weak image, and we can probably do better. Would be good for an Image Pickin' forum thread.
11:54:53 AM Oct 2nd 2010
I vaguely remember a lampshading of this trope in one episode of Megas XLR in which they are fighting an old war robot from the sixties. At one point it says something along the lines of 'You will not win against the awesome power of my 64MB processor!' I would put it into the article, but it's almost certainly misquoted.
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