Jesus fucking Christ. Love Peter Thiel, Paypal is every multiple-country freelancer's best friend. But good grief, we do have flying cars. We've had them for decades. They're called "helicopters" and you have to be rich as fuck to own one and connected as fuck to fly one in the city. Thiel is probably one of the few people who has access to these "flying cars," so what's up with the autistic blind spot, buddy? Oh, right.....
No, seriously, what these "where are the flying cars" people are bitching about is that they want flying cars that are as cheap and available as regular cars, and look like regular cars, per, say the Fifth Element. They also probably want hot girls dressed in strategically placed bandaids to drop into them out of the sky and help them fight diabolical enemies named "Mr. Zorg."
A totally realistic vision of an average day in the life of an American cabbie
20 years from 1997.
Here's a clue, people. That's Hollywood scifi, not hard scifi. Try some Ben Bova, or Kim Stanley Robinson, or anything from Analog when extrapolating technology, not a tits-and-ass comic book remake brought to you by the writer of "Colombiana," about a hot chick wearing strategically placed bandaids who also happens to be a genius but psychotic hit killer. Come on. You have your flying cars, as promised. But no, they don't look like 1970s Detroit muscle cars with jets attached, and no, not everyone gets one for their 16th birthday along with a free pass to fly anywhere they want, anytime they want. That would be ridiculous. But, nonetheless, you have your flying cars. Can we please move on?
Anyway, re: the Decline of the West or whatever, I have a tendency to see all this as the Malthusian Endgame, and the winner will be the population capable of consolidating and exploiting resources on this planet while creating viable trade routes with other planets. China's on it - they've got Strategy 1 locked up. They're still behind vis a vis space technology, but while we were flailing around in Afghanistan like a bunch of historically ignorant knuckleheads, Asia began laying the groundwork for their own space program. Fuck flying cars, what we need is a space elevator, devised long ago by Team Anglophone (Sir Arthur C. Clarke), but being built by Team Asia (Japan). That's the thing - the Western World has had the blueprints and technology for all this for decades; the USA was supposed to have had a permanent colony of 100 people on Mars by 1988. But we dropped the ball.
Are we going to pick it up again? Ummm.... It was nice that we got all excited about the latest Mars Rover, but imo that's just another hangover from the devastating "Faster, Cheaper, Better" debacle brought to us by that fucktard Sean O'Keefe. Cool, great, it's a fantastic achievement blah blah blah.... but really, whoopdie shit. That ought to have been cutting edge in 1982. We've wasted time and resources gambling like junkies on the stock market, buying 12,000-square-foot homes with car elevators, and having ridiculous little wars in places like Nicaragua and Iraq and Vietnam.... and it may well come back to bite us, or rather our children, in the ass. On that count, Peter Thiel may well be correct.
Or.... back to the scifi analogies, maybe Joss Whedon will be correct, and China's ascent into space will light the fire under our ass that we so desperately need to break the celebrity-worshipping, reality-TV slavering, neocon-believing, Walmart-shopping, conspicuous consumption-addicted, corporation-manipulated spell we've been under since 1980 or so. That would be kind of cool.