I was really struck by this little thought experiment over at the Pajama Guy blog in a post about Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics:
Back in the 40s and 50s, I suppose people were noticing so many mechanical problems being solved, while computing as we understand it was in a primitive stage. It would have been great if someone sat down the top sf writers in 1950 and asked them in what order will these three events happen? 1) The invention of a machine that can walk around your house picking up after you. 2) A spaceship that takes us to the moon and back. 3) A small machine that can beat you at chess.
I don't really know what their answers would be, but I suppose that's the point. I wish someone had had the foresight to ask that question at some early con.
It's a slow news day, so let's see if we can't put together a similar question to ask sci-fi writers now in the comments... one that, fifty years from now, would really juxtapose the actual path of future technology with our own subconscious expectations of which way that path will wind.
Me Robot [Pajama Guy]