"Looking back through history, I see no evidence for humanity making the best of things, and I think it's a pretty safe bet that's an on-going trend."
This is a very early reference to this idea.
Robert Heinlein had a more "modern" version of this in Methuselah's Children, published in 1941; see the traffic control camera.
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'The polawindow, which he tuned to clear transmission.'
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'The goggles throw a light, smoky haze across his eyes...'
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'I myself am building basic chemicals at about 10,000,000,000 times the rate at which building is occurring on the whole ... surface of your planet.'
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'The tailor set moving a mechanism...'
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'This little weapon ejects a rather ingenious missile...'
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'The ten forked ends of each arm commenced a rattling pressing of the buttons.'
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Even before Dick Tracy, there were Ideas about this.
Small Molecule Walker Takes First Steps
'The bits were in motion.'
US Navy Laser Ready For Use
Fifty years from cartoon to reality.
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