View Full Version : 2010 Isn't What Many Futurists Of The Past Imagined

10-19-2010, 11:33 AM
2010 Isn't What Many Futurists Of The Past Imagined

by Linton Weeks

October 18, 2010

The late visionary Arthur C. Clarke was a master of predictive fiction. In Clarke’s 1968 film, 2001: A Space Odyssey — which he co-wrote with director Stanley Kubrick — we get a taste of the vast influence that computers will have in our lives over the coming decades.

The 1984 movie sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey, was about — among other things — humans making contact with alien life. The year he chose for this breakthrough: 2010.
A two-man "sky taxi" jet pack developed by Textron's Bell Aerosystems.
Keystone/Hulton Archive

Jet packs were supposed to be in our future.

Well, here we are. It's 2010 and no word from a Jovian moon yet. But it's only October.

Factories In Space

Glancing back, there are other predictions for 2010. Some have proved true. Others seem as ludicrous now as they did back when.

In 1983, the Science & Technology Agency in Tokyo polled 2,000 experts — university professors, government officials and business thinkers — in more than a dozen fields about 800 technological categories. The Japan Economic Journal reported on the results and what life in 2010 would be like "if all the new technologies and innovations actually materialize as planned."

Japanese seers got some things right. Ordinary households, according to the report, "would enjoy all kinds of information thanks to the development of digital communications networks."

They missed on a few things, too. "The three most pernicious adult diseases — cancer, cerebral apoplexy and heart ailments — would be conquered." We wish.

And the futurologists imagined the skies in 2010 alive with orbiting factories and experimental laboratories "floating around in space, producing new pharmaceuticals, alloys and other substances, taking full advantage of the absence of gravity." They also believed that satellites would generate power from solar rays to be used by earthlings.

Foresight Is 2020

What do you think the world will look like a decade from now?

Will we send avatars to the office so we can play mini-quidditch with friends? Will we be wearing iBands on our wrists that serve as phone, computer, gaming console, personal jukebox and more? Will we be eating deep-fried wine and drinking bacon-on-the-rocks?

Maybe in the future, everyone will be a futurist. What are your predictions about life in 2020? Feel free to predict in the comments section.

That was before the Challenger exploded in 1986, knocking space exploration — and exploitation — on its heels. Predictions are sometimes gang-tackled by actual events.

One key to divining trends or developments is to pay attention to "material that credibly contradicts what we think we know," says Erica Orange, a blogger for the World Future Society and vice president of the futurist consulting group Weiner, Edrich, Brown.


NPR (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130585002&sc=fb&cc=fp)

ralph wiggum
10-19-2010, 11:47 AM
Yeah, where are my jet packs and flying cars!!!! :mad: :mad:


10-19-2010, 12:34 PM
I get a giggle out of 2001 but only for the following products: Bell Tel, Pan Am. Neither of which were around in 2001. But when it comes to future stuff, there is a show out there about Star Trek stuff and how we already have things like communicators(cell phones) and tricorders(some would compare these to computers).

Wei Wu Wei
10-19-2010, 12:44 PM
I loved the old books about the horrors to come in the future.


10-19-2010, 12:55 PM
I loved the old books about the horrors to come in the future.

That'll take care of ya!

Molon Labe
10-19-2010, 03:26 PM
I loved the old books about the horrors to come in the future.

Probably one of the best things you've posted. Neal Postman was a sage.

10-20-2010, 12:31 AM
I loved the old books about the horrors to come in the future.

HG Wells was damned near a prophet.

10-20-2010, 08:50 AM
What Wei seems to forget in his rush to a "Marxist utopia" is the warning at the beginning of Huxley's book

Utopias seem much more attainable than one may have previously thought. And we are now faced with a much more frightening thought: how do we prevent their permanent fulfillment?…Utopias are attainable. The way of life points towards them. But perhaps a new century will begin, a century in which intellectuals and the educated class will find means of preventing utopias, and we will return to a non-utopian society, which may be less perfect, but will offer more freedom.The one thing that any Marxist will never tell you is that their way, inevitably, leads to the strangulation of freedoms, in the name of "the greater good" Huxley's utopia had a place where everyone was happy all right..because they had been programmed that way.

"I'm SO glad I'm a Gamma"

No freedom, no choice, a place where the State controls all, where individual freedoms and wishes are subugated to the will of the State, and where free thought is relegated to a select few "placed on an island"..I imagine Huxley found this a better alternative to that of any Communist or Marxist, whose ideal of dealing with dissent involves cold blooded murder.

Witness Beria's SMERSH, Stalin's "collectives" that killed millions, the thousands more who died in the Lubyanka, or in their "re education camps" that still exist to this day.

Huxley and Orwell were writing a warning, and one that we should bear very much in mind.

The purveyors of any "utopias" inevitably lead to, as Orwell stated baldly "A boot stamping on the face of Humanity, forever".

10-20-2010, 10:05 AM
We got camera phones. That was something from sci/fi when I was a kid in the late 60s and the 70s.

10-20-2010, 12:05 PM
I like watching old B movies from the 30's, 40's, and 50's where they had us travelling to other planets in the 80's.

Wei Wu Wei
10-20-2010, 01:28 PM
Huxley's utopia had a place where everyone was happy all right..because they had been programmed that way.

"I'm SO glad I'm an American"