Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images
Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images
So at The World's Fair in 1964, prolific science fiction author Isaac Asimov (who was also a biochemistry professor at Boston University) made predictions about the world in 50 years. He wrote about life in 2014 for The New York Times, and since it's officially 2014, people have been pouring over his theories to see how accurate he was back then. Turns out, he's spot-on. He correctly predicted FaceTime, how much we're ruled by machines and yes, even Tumblr.
You can read his entire piece here, but here are the most accurate and some of the not-so-accurate statements be made 50 years ago about 2014:
1. "Gadgetry will continue to relieve mankind of tedious jobs. Kitchen units will be devised that will prepare "automeals," heating water and converting it to coffee; toasting bread; frying, poaching or scrambling eggs, grilling bacon, and so on. Breakfasts will be "ordered" the night before to be ready by a specified hour the next morning."
We basically have a machine that will do anything we want in the kitchen. We also have gadgets that do things we never thought we needed to do in the kitchen, like the Bacon Bowl. And while Asimov did predict that we'd have machines that would toast bread and fry eggs, he probably never could have imagined that a gadget would be invented that could do both at the same time. But most importantly, he forget to mention that there would be countless infomercials full of stupid people who are so inept at making pasta and cracking eggs that very specific gadgets had to be invented for them. As for "ordering" the night before, the closest we've come to that is setting the coffee maker timer.
2. "Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone. The screen can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books. Synchronous satellites, hovering in space will make it possible for you to direct-dial any spot on earth, including the weather stations in Antarctica."
So FaceTime, iBook, iPads, etc. Basically anything Apple makes.
3. "Men will continue to withdraw from nature in order to create an environment that will suit them better. By 2014, electroluminescent panels will be in common use. Ceilings and walls will glow softly, and in a variety of colors that will change at the touch of a push button."
We don't know much about that last part, but both men and women have definitely withdrawn from nature to create an environment that suits them better. It's called Tumblr, and it creates stuff like the thing above.
4. "Much effort will be put into the designing of vehicles with "Robot-brains," vehicles that can be set for particular destinations and that will then proceed there without interference by the slow reflexes of a human driver."
Ever since GPS and Google Maps came into our lives, we don't have to ask for directions anymore or think about how to get places. Our cars tell us how to do it. We don't even have to look at the road anymore! It's second only to the cars that parallel park for you, because that s—t is hard.
5. "Mankind will suffer badly from the disease of boredom, a disease spreading more widely each year and growing in intensity. This will have serious mental, emotional and sociological consequences, and I dare say that psychiatry will be far and away the most important medical specialty in 2014."
Agreed. Sometimes we are so bored we think we might just die. And kids today are useless without electronics. If they don't have a screen in front of them, they don't know how to entertain themselves. Sad, but true. Bring on the therapy. Of course, this doesn't go for all of today's kids. But the next time we see a four-year-old playing with their own personal iPad we're gonna slap it right out of their hand.
1. "Highways…in the more advanced sections of the world will have passed their peak in 2014; there will be increasing emphasis on transportation that makes the least possible contact with the surface. There will be aircraft, of course, but even ground travel will increasingly take to the air a foot or two off the ground."
Ugh, don't even get us started on the lack of hover boards around here.
2. "Indeed, the most somber speculation I can make about A.D. 2014 is that in a society of enforced leisure, the most glorious single word in the vocabulary will have become work!"
Unless he means the term: "werk." Because we love that word.
(H/T Open Culture)