Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Web Secret #369: will life be worth living in 2000 AD?

I came across a fascinating little article from the July 22, 1961, Australian Weekend Magazine: "Will life be worth living in 2000 AD?" Complete with sexist, vintage advertising.

Really, it's a miracle that I aspired to do anything beyond vacuuming the house...

The article features scientific predictions about the year 2000 and beyond, digested for a popular audience.

Impressively, they mostly got it right. What they got wrong were rosy predictions about transportation.

We are not:
  • "...whisked around in monorail vehicles at 200 miles an hour and ...taking a fortnight's holiday in outer space."
  • "[ing] at 1000 m.p.h. at a penny a mile. Hypersonic passenger planes, using solid fuels .., reach any part of the world in an hour."
  • "By the year 2020, five per cent of the world's population will have emigrated into space. Many will have visited the moon and beyond."
But look at what they got right:
  • "You'll have a home control room - an electronics center, where messages will be recorded when you're away from home. This will play back when you return, and also give you up-to-the minute world news, and transcribe your latest mail."
  • "You'll have wall-to-wall global TV ... TV-telephones and room-to-room TV."
  • "Mail and newspapers will be reproduced instantly anywhere in the world by facsimile."
  • "There will be machines doing the work of clerks, shorthand writers and translators. Machines will "talk" to each other."
  • "Our children will learn from TV, recorders and teaching machines."
I'm still waiting for this prediction to come true: "There will be no common colds, cancer ... mental illness."

And why don't we have this? " will be put away by remote control..."

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