Wednesday 5 March 2014

Visions of the Future 2

Home, sweet home

Futurologists are obsessed with shopping. Surely we should be living on nutrition pills by now?

1951 Look out for atomic refrigerators and manmade weather.

1952 The Catholic Church thinks psychoanalysis is probably a mortal sin (meaning that if you die with this sin on your conscience you will burn in Hell for all eternity). It thought the same about birth control.

1953 Soon we’ll have noiseless air conditioners and home CCTV for keeping an eye on your children, or seeing who’s at the front door.

1954 Has the time come for volcanic power, and a second Nile in the Sahara?

1955 Rockets will carry mail, cargo and passengers across the Atlantic within five years.

1955 Dr Lovshin says he can spot patients whose disorders are psychosomatic: look out for exaggeration, a prepared list of ailments, bleached hair on a brunette, over-plucked eyebrows, and fluttering eyelids.

1956 Coffee bar workers suffer from “espresso wrist”.

1956 Curtiss Schafer predicts we will have all electrodes implanted in our brains to make us willing slaves.

1958 Women start wearing tights instead of stockings and suspender belts.

1960 We’re all promised a microwave oven and an ultrasonic dishwasher.

1961 One day doctors, lawyers, banks will have their own computer systems!

1961 Solar-powered insects would be perfect for lunar exploration.

1962 Take your shopping list to the supermarket on your miniature computer. Plug it in at the checkout and your delivery will slide down a chute into your bag.

1964 Thanks to thumbprint readers, cheques will soon belong in a museum, says Simon Ramo. (They’re still with us.)

1965 Video calls over “vest-pocket transmitter-receivers” are predicted.

1967 Orbiting mirrors will illumine the night.

1971 Fish farms are taking off.

1974 Many countries plan to harvest manganese nodules from the seabed and use the sea’s heat for energy. (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion or OTEC was suggested in the 1880s. Work continues.)

1974 Flatscreen TV that will hang on your wall demonstrated.

1975 DVDs predicted.

1978 Let’s turn garbage into electricity.

1978 Meanwhile, will computers destroy our brains? (They’re now saying the same about Google and possibly Facebook.)

1980 We’ll get electricity from “solar ponds”.

1983 By 2000, robots will do our housework.1986 The internet will change our lives: we will set burglar alarms, start air conditioners and program VCRs from mobile phones.

1987 TV will become interactive, newspapers will be customised, you’ll order tickets for the ballet through a “conversational desktop”. We’ll have realistic teleconferencing by projecting video images of participants onto plaster casts of their faces.

1988 Speech to text predicted.

1989 Tiny robots will explore space, perform operations.

1989 Commuters will carry supercomputers the size of magazines.

1995 AT&T president says phones with screens will arrive in a decade. People will “wake up to a tiny bedside screen that gives the time and the weather forecast and even displays news headlines or sports scores”. And of course you’ll use them for your grocery list.

Future food
1931 Let’s grow crops on the moon, urges Professor William Pickering.
1931 No, let’s make food out of wood, counters Friedrich Bergius.
1955 The world's population can live on plankton, or protein from chemically grown algae cultures.
1976 Antarctic seals are possible protein source for world population.
1978 The winged bean could solve world hunger problem.

More here.

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