Speculative visions and first forays in to the future have a way of quickly dating themselves before that future they portend has a chance to fully arrive. The result of this effect is the opposite of the one intended; they become mired in their present moment, ultimately signifying their own time much more than the one they were intended to herald.
But what happens when such things rise again? Think of virtual reality: after an immediate cultural peak in the early 1990s with that Aerosmith video
and the awful Lawnmower Man (1992) film
, popular interest in the technology rapidly dwindled.
It never exactly went away, though, and has in recent years received renewed attention thanks to the gaming and film industries and products like the Oculus Rift
. Having circled back around from Jetsons
-like cartoon status to being something that people are excited about again, virtual reality, as a concept, now exists in a kind of duality, in the perception of it. Because that '90s legacy is still so burned into the public consciousness, virtual reality retains its retro-ness, but now it also gets to say "I told you so."