By Darren Franich
Updated November 14, 2011 at 12:00 PM EST
Comedy Central

Do you ever feel just a little bit disappointed in the future we’ve found ourselves living in? Even though we’re over a decade into the new millennium, there are still no flying cars, no moon colonies, and no robot butlers. Food is not injected directly into our veins. People over the age of 30 are still allowed to wander around sucking up valuable oxygen. [Ed note: They’ll never catch me after Carrousel!] The most exciting technological leap in the last couple decades was the invention of the smartphone, which has created a terrifying new generation of teenaged mutant freaks with extra-powerful thumbs. But don’t worry, everyone: the boys in the back room at Google have a top-secret laboratory, and according to the New York Times, they’re working hard to make the fantasies of Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke into a reality.

The lab is called Google X, and it sounds roughly one million times cooler than Google Classic, much like how Mega Man X was a million times cooler than old-school Mega Man. The Times claims that the lab is devoted to 100 “shot-for-the-stars” ideas. Some of these ideas are just elaborate tweaks on wireless technology: A fridge that connects to the internet and orders more food for you when you’re running low, a dinner plate that tells Facebook what you’re eating, etc. But a few of these ideas come straight out of science-fiction. There’s an elevator to outer space, just like in 3001: The Final Odyssey. There are driverless cars, just like in Minority Report. There’s a robot that can go to work for you, while you control it from the comfort of your own home. Actually, there are apparently just a whole ton of robots.

In theory, Google X could just be an affectation — a place for Google to store some of its excess billions. But the Times speaks to one member of the X club who claims that one X product will be released “before the end of the year.” Google X isn’t all space elevators and laziness robots. They’re apparently also working on the further development “the Web of Things,” which would basically connect everything you own to the Internet: Garden planters, coffee pots, light bulbs. Like almost every great consumer tech innovation of the last generation, that sounds a little bit too Philip K. Dick-esque for my tastes. Far more enjoyable, I think, to imagine what some of those other “shoot-for-the-stars” ideas might be. Avatars? Suspended animation? The freaking hoverboard?

Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich

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