Recently I imagined how it would be if my eleven year old self could travel through time and visit me to see what life is like in 2010. Frankly I don't think she would be very impressed. The glorious technological future we were promised never arrived.
Consider commercial air travel. With the execption of personal entertainment, air travel hasn't really changed in forty years - the planes are the same, the airports are the same, the delays are the same. (Security screening takes longer). It takes pretty much the same amount of time to fly from Sydney to London now as it did in 1970 when the 747 came into widespread use. Every few years you see a news story about how in five years or so, there will be aircraft that can fly to London in four hours, but nothing ever comes of it (in fact, I think I remember seeing the first of these stories when I was about eleven).
It's not just air travel. Nothing predicted by The Jetsons, or our imaginations, came to pass. We never went back to the moon and now lack the technology to get humans out of the Earth's orbit. Car still drive on roads, using petrol - instead of flying, or a mag-lev system, or any other futuristic delights. Our houses don't have Holly style computers, let alone robot maids (I really want a robot maid!). It now takes longer to travel between Sydney and Newcastle by train than it did in the 1930s. Some of changes that failed to eventuate have been a blessing - we still eat actual food rather than taking nutrition in pill form, and wear clothes instead of silver jumpsuits. and I am eternally grateful that we shower instead of using any sonic cleaning booth system. But still - I think we should lift our game here. It will be embarrassing when time travellers from the past arrive expecting the First Mall of the Moon and all we can offer them is an iPad. (Wasn't time travel supposed to be a reality by now as well?)