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Predictions of the Future...From the 1960s

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the house-of-tomorrow dept.

Technology 278

kkleiner writes "Jetpacks, flying cars, death rays — the future isn't quite what the past hoped it would be. Of course, when predictions do come true it can be really shocking. Check out some of the more entertaining and eye-opening videos that show classic predictions from the 1960s. The Jet Age couldn't imagine the Age of Social Media clearly, but they got a few things right. And many more hilariously wrong."

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Images of the future (4, Interesting)

drolli (522659) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832542)

Usually say more about the hopes and fears than about what will be. The Background of the 60s was the cold war. In the same way the background of the 90s lead to overly optimistic images of the future.

Re:Images of the future (2)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832960)

Yes, and the fact that too many people went into banking seeking to make a quick buck. If you want the future to come about, you better start doing science. Stop watching Robotech/Macross/Star Trek and put some effort into making it so!

Re:Images of the future (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36833242)

I tried the whole "doing science" thing and found out that most of academia is filled with lazy bastards who produce worthless papers in quantity, that no one ever reads, let alone cites. Universities are no less of an agressive marketing machine than corporations. The state-sponsored ones need to be more tightly controlled. All this crap about "investing" in education just serves to line fancy overpaid professors' pockets. Millions are spent in "research" projects that consist of 25 invisible professors, most of which simply want to get their name on another paper or two, a few TAs to write the actual paper and throw a few opinions at the coder, which is some intern being paid minimum wage and coding very little and very poorly. And then the 25 professors use that money to travel to Hawaii and stay at a fancy hotel, eating in fancy restaurants, and watching presentations about some paper they could just as easily read back home. But somehow conferences are very scientific and important for their "research" activity. I could go on. There's a professor who barely sets foot in the university and delegates important reports to interns who are thus exposed to confidential data, etc.
I didn't know that a research internship involved being turned into an administrative assistant, doing accounting, dealing with travel agencies, and being paid about 1/2 or even 1/3 of what your friends outside academia make.

Re:Images of the future (4, Insightful)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833314)

Too bad you posted anon, so you will likely not read this.

Like most things, I find academia to be what you make of it. Sure, there are professors who've schmoozed their way into tenure and money, and continue to be lazy. However, many of them are actually genuinely interested in advancing with their topic and helping their group. Those are the ones to work for. And like you said, there is not much money to be got in academia compared to business, so I can't imagine profs doing it to line their pants. With lint.. maybe.

And yes, the work that is done is a lot, most of which will hardly be read and even more of which is ultimately a dead end. Such is life. But some progress is made. Some areas are progressing with leaps and bounds (computational chemistry, for one), and much insight is gained. Quick, it is not, and I do not expect to see much significant changes in my lifetime. But gradual progress is there, at a glacial pace, nearly too slow to see. Conferences are actually places where good progress is made, mostly by people putting their heads and ideas together. The fact that it's in Hawaii, or (in my case) in Australia does not change a thing. If we take the geometrical centre of the research activity we would be in South Europe (Italy, Spain) and the people still be complaining. It has to be somewhere.

Re:Images of the future (1)

trum4n (982031) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833368)

I must agree with both of you. At Kettering University, i found some professors were genuine hard workers, others, useless. Now, at California University of Pennsylvania, a smaller school, the administrators are still incompetent, but the professors have more heart, and work harder. Yea, we still have useless people, but the ratio of useful to useless is far higher. The more a professor is paid, the less they do it for the love of science. That's my two cents about America right now. Those who deserve to be rich never will, and the rich don't deserve it.

Paleofuture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832544)

Maybe off-topic since I only read the headline, not even the summary. Check out Paleofuture [paleofuture.com] .

funded by Monsanto (5, Funny)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832556)

The House of the Future was funded by Monsanto who now is a scarily powerful biotech and genetically modified food conglomerate but who in the 1960s was all about plastics.

So nothing really changed.

Like many people videos are blocked at work (0)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832558)

Like many people videos are blocked at work, so I cannot view them. However the article still has some interesting text.

Re:Like many people videos are blocked at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832812)

the article still has some interesting text.

Wait, what??? You actually hint at reading the article???? BLASPHEMY!

Re:Like many people videos are blocked at work (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832876)

Like many people videos are blocked at work, so I cannot view them.

Not on your work PC maybe, but don't you have a smartphone? The videos are embedded from YouTube, so I'm sure just about every phone is able to play them.

Arthur C Clarke: Profiles of the Future.... 1962 (5, Interesting)

SomethingOrOther (521702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832588)

Arthur C Clarkes "Profiles of the Future" is the last word on this.
First published in 1962, it's predictions are amazingly accurate. It is a must for any geek bookshelf and I'm amazed so few have read it.

The (few!) things he did get wrong, he followed up in later editions of the book along with good explanations as to why that particular technology came about sooner / later than he predicted.

There is an excellent article about the book given in the Guardian Newspaper
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/mar/04/profiles-future-arthur-clarke-review [guardian.co.uk]
It is a fun book, much recommended.

I'd post a link to Amazon..... but I'd rather you buy a copy from your local independent bookshop :-)

Re:Arthur C Clarke: Profiles of the Future.... 196 (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832608)

I'd post a link to Amazon..... but I'd rather you buy a copy from your local independent bookshop :-)

I wouldn't, so here is a link to buy it on Amazon [amazon.com] .

Re:Arthur C Clarke: Profiles of the Future.... 196 (2)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832938)

Thanks - I like Amazon. It's useful for browsing sample pages and reading reviews before buying elsewhere.

Re:Arthur C Clarke: Profiles of the Future.... 196 (2)

rbrausse (1319883) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833328)

you mean like a local independent bookshop where you can flip through the pages?

Did he predict the Internet? (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832700)

I ask because that is the one technology that nobody ever seemed to have predicted, and of course one of the biggest in terms of changing how things are done. While people certainly predicted wider networking of computers it was always in the context of systems you'd connect to. I have never seen an author that predicted a global network that everything could connect to, through which any and all information could flow.

Just wondering since you are right that he tended to be more on target with things than most people. He seemed to grasp that while technology changes, humans by and large don't.

Internet predicted prior to Clarke (3, Funny)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832742)

FTFA:

[Clarke] recalled that EM Forster, in a 1909 short story The Machine Stops, "pictured our remote descendants as living in isolated cells, scarcely ever leaving them, but being able to establish instant TV contact with anyone, anywhere else on Earth." Are we there yet?

Sounds close enough to me.

Re:Internet predicted prior to Clarke (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833312)

he just did realize that those isolated cells were our parents basement and our instant contact was through our avatars while playing mmorpgs

Re:Did he predict the Internet? (1)

kmdrtako (1971832) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832744)

I ask because that is the one technology that nobody ever seemed to have predicte,...

No, not directly. But there were many predictions of things like "shopping from home using your videophone" or groceries delivered automatically after your refrigerator ordered them from the supermarket -- things that implicitly or indirectly predicted the internet.

On the other hand nobody (here in the US) would have stuck his or her neck out and predicted power companies shutting off your appliances during the day to prevent brown-outs. It would have been unthinkable to predict that we'd never have enough cheap power to do everything we'd want to do, when we wanted to do it.

Re:Did he predict the Internet? (2)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832860)

On the other hand nobody (here in the US) would have stuck his or her neck out and predicted power companies shutting off your appliances during the day to prevent brown-outs. It would have been unthinkable to predict that we'd never have enough cheap power to do everything we'd want to do, when we wanted to do it.

"Make Room, Make Room!" by Harry Harrison, 1966. Kind of butchered into the film 'Soylent Green' (which is made, funnily enough, of soya and lentils and even if it was made of people it was something that people could only afford occasionally as a special treat.

One thing that struck me last time I read it was that they had embarked on a program to build more nuclear plants, but of course only started doing this when the brown-outs started, and they weren't going to be able to have them online for another 10 years or so. They didn't have smart meters and remote deactivation, but they absolutely did not have enough power and the protagonist had to use a bicycle generator and batteries in order to keep the fridge running.

Re:Did he predict the Internet? (1)

silentcoder (1241496) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833098)

Actually these predictions were standard fare in nearly all the cyberpunk novels of the 1980's (granted that was much closer to the realization than the 1960s but still well before). Neil Stephenson explored something that was remarkably like the internet in his brilliant Snowcrash and there was a network even MORE like what the internet ultimately became in Diamond Age.
Neuromancer's prediction was similar to that in Snowcrash. While the VR based internet never happened, the underlying technologies as in Snowcrash were very close to the reality - barring a few small gaps (the real internet has no central highway by which we reach various sites and the entire method of transport is transparent to the user as opposed to the manual [simulated by vehicles] approach that Stephenson predicted).
But these are relatively small nits to pick at. The core idea of a global communications network where anybody could speak to everybody was there. The last part of this century saw something else change however as content managers and automated blogging platforms and the like broke one of predictions Stephenson had made (and which was true in the 90s) where tech-skill directly equated to the success of your site and it's likely popularity. The better you could code, the more attractive your site would be -the more readers you'd get, much as the best coded buildings in Stephenson's cyberspace had the most visitors.
Nowadays - coding skill of the speaker is no longer relevant to their likelihood of being listened too thanks to the proliferation of technologies that removed that need and in fact we're seeing an ever increasing move away from having your own website towards trying to be particularly visible on somebody else's site (social networks).

I guess the sad thing is that his "technological priesthood" was a rather shortlived age.

Re:Did he predict the Internet? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833234)

Snow Crash was published in 1992. Diamond Age was published in 1995.

AOL (AOL!) was connecting people to the internet in 1993.

So calling the networks in those books predictions is just a hair breathless.

Re:Did he predict the Internet? (1)

Calydor (739835) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833434)

(the real internet has no central highway by which we reach various sites

I think Google might like to disagree with you there.

I admit, I haven't read Snowcrash though I've meant to many times, so I'm not sure exactly how this central highway worked in the book, but considering how bad it is for a company to get their site de-listed from Google for gaming the rankings I have to say that if the internet has anything you can call a central highway, Google would be it.

Re:Did he predict the Internet? (1)

crunchygranola (1954152) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833650)

Try: John Brunner's The Jagged Orbit from 1969, world-wide networking pervading all aspects of life. it also features a corporate cartel controlling America. It is too bad the future turned out to be a dystopian novel.

Re:Did he predict the Internet? (5, Informative)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833260)

The Internet has been predicted quite a few times. Off the top of my head, Mark Twain:

http://thetyee.ca/Books/2007/01/08/MarkTwain/ [thetyee.ca]

Also I found this article on the topic, although the comments are far more interesting than the article itself:

http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2011/03/who-said-science-fiction-never-predicted-the-internet/ [sfsignal.com]

Re:Did he predict the Internet? (1)

edremy (36408) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833626)

I ask because that is the one technology that nobody ever seemed to have predicted, and of course one of the biggest in terms of changing how things are done. While people certainly predicted wider networking of computers it was always in the context of systems you'd connect to. I have never seen an author that predicted a global network that everything could connect to, through which any and all information could flow.

Just wondering since you are right that he tended to be more on target with things than most people. He seemed to grasp that while technology changes, humans by and large don't.

John Brunner, 1975, The Shockwave Rider. A lot of the way things work he missed (access via a telephone using a special code) but he pretty much got the rest of it, down to the idea you could cripple the government through cyberwarfare

Re:Did he predict the Internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36833642)

Orson Scott Card predicted how we'd use the internet. 14 year olds rambling and being followed by people who should fucking know better.

Shoghi Effendi predicted the Internet 75 years ago (2)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833648)

Here is a prediction from 1936

A mechanism of world inter-communication will be devised, embracing the whole planet, freed from national hindrances and restrictions, and functioning with marvellous swiftness and perfect regularity.

        (Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 202)

Re:Arthur C Clarke: Profiles of the Future.... 196 (1)

gnalre (323830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832978)

I seem to remember that James Burke(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Burke_%28science_historian%29) did similar predictions in his tomorrow world books, but since I last read them when I was about 10 I can't remember much about them. I'm sure one was that pavements would be replaced by moving walkways by know.

If anyone has a copy or if Mr J.Burke is reading I would be fascinated to know how they turned out...

Re:Arthur C Clarke: Profiles of the Future.... 196 (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833338)

Well we only replaced the ground with moving walkways in a few places, but we do have the Segway, which is a more personalised version of the same concept.

Independent bookshops? - ha! (3, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833212)

I'd post a link to Amazon..... but I'd rather you buy a copy from your local independent bookshop

Who will, in turn merely place an order with Amazon and charge you a premium for your laziness.

Re:Arthur C Clarke: Profiles of the Future.... 196 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36833532)

My local independent bookshop doesn't carry Kindle books. Sorry.
 
In all seriousness, I don't think there is an independent bookshop within 25 miles of my home. My Borders is getting shut down and the closest B&N is 15 miles away in a crowded strip mall with no other store I care to visit.
 
I've gone digital with my music, my movies, my video games and now my books. I don't miss the bricks and mortar stores. I hate driving, I hate traffic and I hate other drivers.

The future's not what it used to be . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832598)

What;s all the fuss about social networking? It's new and trendy now but wont it just become general noise in society like the phone et al did?

Shockwave Rider (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832600)

It's from 1973, not the sixties, but John Brunner's Shockwave Rider is an impressive depiction of the information age.
Worms, phishing, spoofing, identity theft, the power of information and its manipulation...
OK, he missed the personnal computer (it's mainframes all the way up) and multimedia.
The Internet data size is hilarious...

Brunner even added reality TV, communautarism and an few other staples of today's society.
I find something I missed each time I read it again.

Re:Shockwave Rider (1)

crunchygranola (1954152) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833684)

It's from 1973, not the sixties, but John Brunner's Shockwave Rider is an impressive depiction of the information age. Worms, phishing, spoofing, identity theft, the power of information and its manipulation... OK, he missed the personnal computer (it's mainframes all the way up) and multimedia. The Internet data size is hilarious...

Brunner even added reality TV, communautarism and an few other staples of today's society. I find something I missed each time I read it again.

With Stand on Zanaibar (1968), The Jagged Orbit (1969), and Shockwave Rider (1973) John Brunner was really cooking at the envisioning the future. Each has remarkable insights into how things developed.

Wait, WHAT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832648)

Over the past few years, Singularity Hub has seen the work of futurists of many different calibers. While some, like Arthur C. Clarke or Ray Kurzweil, have impressive track records,

Wait. These guys are seriously naming a crook like Kurzweil in the same breath as Arthur C. Clarke, AND they're ascribing an "impressive track record" to him?

Positive proof that even intelligent people can be complete idiots, I guess.

AT&T You Will (1)

Leebert (1694) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832656)

I keep going back to these: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MnQ8EkwXJ0 [youtube.com]

I'm surprised how many of them came true. But the thing that really strikes me? The few predictions that *didn't* come true weren't actual TECHNICAL failures. They're marketing and demand failures. The technology to do most of the "of the future!" videos (flying cars being the obvious exception) actually exists. It's just that people really weren't willing to pay for it.

Re:AT&T You Will (2)

Sique (173459) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832704)

Flying cars are no exeption, the technology is there, it's just that people really aren't willing to pay for it.

Re:AT&T You Will (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36833712)

Flying cars are no exeption, the technology is there, it's just that people really aren't willing to pay for it.

Helicopters and private airplanes are not flying cars. They're helicopters and airplanes.

A helicopter without the, you know, huge spinning rotor blades, probably would be a flying car, but obviously that's impossible.

Re:AT&T You Will (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832768)

Well you have to remember that is not nearly as far out. The farther you predict, the harder things are. The technology for what they were talking about, the basics, existed when they made the videos. The Internet was around in 1993, digital cellular and thus data (though slow) was around in 1993 (launched in 1991), and so on. Their predictions mostly dealt with the technology getting better, which is a fairly safe prediction.

The more interesting predictions are one that are based on a new technology being developed, or a major change in how things are done, and that kind of thing.

I could make some general predictions about technology in the fields I work in for, say, 10 years or so and be pretty confident I'd be right, because the basis exists already. However I can't say what we'll have in 50 years, I just don't think I can guess what might be developed.

Oh those wacky olde timey people. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832658)

How I laugh at their outlandish predictions of the future whilst viewing them on a phone the size of a chocolate bar with unlimited access to the sum of human knowledge.

The post is pretty interesting (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832666)

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Some predictions were surprisingly correct (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832668)

1984. I red it 20 years ago and it surprised me for how well it described a possible future.
I'm reading it again now and it's shockingly close to the present time.

Re:Some predictions were surprisingly correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832714)

Don't forget Brave New World either.

Re:Some predictions were surprisingly correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832770)

Don't forget the original: "We" by Yevgeny Zamyatin [wikipedia.org]

Re:Some predictions were surprisingly correct (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832782)

Nor Fahrenheit 451. We don't live in that world, certainly, but "The Family" is getting closer all the time.

Re:Some predictions were surprisingly correct (2)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832984)

Once ebooks dominate, there may be a push to burn real books since they can't be altered remotely to fit a political climate (Tom Sawyer first).

Re:Some predictions were surprisingly correct (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833324)

Right to Read by R.M. Stallman was merely a short near-future sci-fi story on a narrow topic but only looks more prophetic with every passing day.

The online shopping one is really accurate (4, Funny)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832688)

It shows the wife sitting at the console ordering her clothes, and then the husband paying for it at his console. Sounds about right.

Re:The online shopping one is really accurate (2, Funny)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833310)

What the fuck is it with slashdotters and this endlessly sexist shit? It makes me wonder what sort of women you're a all hooked up with... then I remember: pretend ones.

Re:The online shopping one is really accurate (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36833420)

They're called JOKES.

Re:The online shopping one is really accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36833580)

Makes you wonder what sort of woman he's hooked up with.

Re:The online shopping one is really accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36833554)

It's only sexist because you're taking it WAYYYYYY too personally and seriously. Here's a tip: DON'T.

Instead of bitching about it, why not even the odds and make jokes by your own hand?

Re:The online shopping one is really accurate (2)

Binestar (28861) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833574)

Exactly. Women today don't let the men keep their money long enough to pay. They get it directly from the bank accounts with their debit/credit cards.

Re:The online shopping one is really accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36833686)

Answer is clear.

Get more females on slashdot and sexism is less likely to occur.

PLEASE. GET MORE FEMALES ON SLASHDOT. I'M BEGGING YOU HERE.

My favourite silly one is houses (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832716)

I can't believe how much people predict that housing will change, even now, when it is real clear that humans like what they like and we build our houses accordingly. You see things set in the future and houses are radically different, and yet I've been in houses built in 1900 and built in 2011 and there is a hell of a lot more similar than different. Style changes a bit, but things are not radically redone.

Also they never seem to take in to account that houses last a long time. I live in a house built in 1974, and that is not at all unusual. Now while some of it has been modified since its construction, there are some fundamental things that remain, and yet don't seem "weird" or "old fashion" to people who see it because a 30+ year old house is not at all a strange sight.

That one has always cracked me up and continues to do so, that somehow in a couple decades we'll furnish houses in a style totally different from now.

Re:My favourite silly one is houses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832746)

My parents live in a house that is about 600 years old. It's been extended and altered over the years, but the original two rooms are still there.

Re:My favourite silly one is houses (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832764)

Correct. They've yet to evict me from my cave -- You basement-dwellers know what I mean.

Re:My favourite silly one is houses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832830)

And that is just in the US :-)

I am living in a house built around 1910, which counts as relatively new on my block. Most houses in central Amsterdam are from the 18th and 19th centuries. They might look diffirent form modern houses (thank god), but the inside - which is what counts for comfort and usefulness - can be totally modern and depends on owners taste and budget.

It is interior which can easily look outdated, and which has changed the most in the past centuries, although due to fashion as much as tech change.

Re:My favourite silly one is houses (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832888)

My house was built in 1930 but my wife and I extended it in 2004. One thing which has changed in Australian houses is that modern homes put the kitchen in a more prominent location closer to the front. In the past the kitchen seemed to be hidden away out the back. In many houses now it seems to be the focus of all activity. Stronger materials also enable structures to have larger spans at a reasonable price, so there are fewer walls and rooms are bigger.

Re:My favourite silly one is houses (3, Interesting)

Sique (173459) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832936)

That's a remnant from the british houses, where the kitchen was close to the garden to use the herbs und fruits growing there. Now with most food being bought at the supermarket, the kitchen moves to the front door, so you don't have to carry your purchases through the whole house.

Re:My favourite silly one is houses (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833276)

Houses in the US generally have the kitchen in the back. I was told it was for privacy reasons. One friends house has it in the front which was considered odd.

Re:My favourite silly one is houses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36833378)

The trend over the last several (5? 10? not sure) years in U.S. home building has been "open plan", with the idea that the kitchen is the focal center of home life.
Which is truer that it seemed to me at first glance, everyone living or visiting a home (I'm thinking of a guest here, not a delivery/service person) does usually interact with the kitchen in some way, directly or in-. Whether you have children, entertain from time to time, or just linger over a cup of coffee (or whatever)....

Mostly, you know, except for the basement dwellers that seem to be so frequently mentioned in this article... ;-}
Even they probably have their moms tossing some sort of pre-packaged gut-bomb down the feeding tube to the basement.....

Re:My favourite silly one is houses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36833246)

Kitchen's are hot. Without air conditioning the kitchen would be placed in the back, and sometimes outside (my homes in Cambodia and Malaysia both had a back, inside kitchen and a second outside kitchen). The dining room was the important room because of the social aspect of shared food and it would be cool.

Once air conditioning became common and the kitchen could be kept cool, it became the focal point of the family over the now more formal dining room.

Re:My favourite silly one is houses (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833488)

The other major change in Aussie homes is that I haven't seen a "pan man" since I was a kid in the 60's.

Re:My favourite silly one is houses (2)

cvtan (752695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833116)

My house was built in 1928. The Monsanto vision gets one thing spectacularly wrong. People now regard plastic as cheap and ugly rather than sleek and futuristic. Everyone wants granite counter tops and real wood. Real ceramic dishes instead of space-age Corelle. If I suggest remodeling the bathroom using plastic and fiberglass? Well, just forget it. I've learned how to repair cracks in plaster walls and am working on a claw-foot tub...

Re:My favourite silly one is houses (2)

NorthWestFLNative (973147) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833270)

Oddly enough I prefer Corelle over most ceramic dishes, lighter, thinner, take up less room in the cabinet. Granted I much prefer Bone China over anything else, but for everyday use you would have to pry the Corelle out of my cold dead hands.

Re:My favourite silly ne is houses (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833136)

Worse - some of the old buildings are actually better. I have lost count of how many buildings I've been in that didn't have a single right-angle in them, where most of the "walls" were made of plasterboard, where the exterior was breeze-block that you couldn't drill into without destroying it, where the ceilings was polystyrene, where the outside walls had no double-brick construction to combat damp in countries like the UK, where there aren't enough plug-sockets, where the poorly-planned double-glazed windows caused lots of damp inside (and half the time don't open or don't open fully), where the gardens were concreted over (or, worse, that horrible wooden decking), where everything has to have an "extension" built on to make the rooms big enough, where there's no parking, where there are shared boundaries, drains and gutters all over the place, where there's horrible piping running on the surface of the walls rather than hidden away, where radiators feature prominently in every room, where the central focus is the TV in every damn room (and usually some hulking great thing to show off), etc. etc. etc.

I could go on for hours. And then everyone says that what they *really* want to live in is a thatched cottage, while secretly planning to rip everything out and make it like the above (conversion of bungalows to add another floor is a pet hate, once I realised that it makes housing provision for disabled people more and more expensive and hard to find).

Re:My favourite silly ne is houses (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833256)

Most new housing here in the US is being built with sheet rock on the EXTERIOR walls. Why? Because it meets fire code.... and its cheap. Very few new houses have squared walls, its not uncommon to see walls visibly crooked. I can expect it in a house built 100 years ago, but with today's tools?

Re:My favourite silly one is houses (1)

Sabriel (134364) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833170)

Part of it is that while materials science has advanced and we have powered versions of the hammer, saw, drill, crane, etcetera, the fundamentals of actually building a house haven't changed: it is still people with tools assembling and joining pieces manually.

Large-scale 3D printing will change that.

(of course, people being people, many will probably just use the new technology to build the same old designs)

Re:My favourite silly one is houses (1)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833352)

Yeah, it's crazy on the face of it. Especially when it comes to Europe. The UK video predicted radically new housing, even though this would require destroying the majority of every town and city. I think most London housing is over a hundred years old, and mostly it will be slightly modified over the next hundred years, not replaced.

Or is it we (4, Insightful)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832718)

The Jet Age couldn't imagine the Age of Social Media clearly, but they got a few things right. And many more hilariously wrong.

Perhaps we are the ones who got it wrong.

Re:Or is it we (2)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833032)

What is even interesting about "social" media? It is the same stuff people have done since there have been people except now someone is getting paid to provide this "service". Chatting on Facebook isn't conceptually any different from chatting on the phone, or at the cafe. Meeting strangers easily is why people used to go to clubs or dances etc.

"Social media" is just what people have always done, except now you have to give away personal information and watch ads.

The communication revolution now allows us to do these types things more easily and at greater distances then before, but the jury is still out on whether this is good for individuals or society (mainly due to effects like people restricting their social circle and sources of news to people that have the same biases and beliefs).

Re:Or is it we (1)

eggstasy (458692) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833448)

As if people didn't lock themselves up into monocultural groupthinking cliques without the internet ;)

Re:Or is it we (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833668)

Chatting on Facebook isn't conceptually any different from chatting on the phone, or at the cafe.

... except that this way every advertiser on the planet can eavesdrop on those conversations.

Re:Or is it we (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36833526)

Exactly. All of our current "visionaries" are more concerned selling ad space than building intelligent robots to take care of household chores and building manned structures on the moon and Mars.

Don't forget Google as predicted in 1964 (4, Interesting)

ribuck (943217) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832720)

Don't forget Google as predicted in 1964 [web-owls.com] in a children's book.

Re:Don't forget Google as predicted in 1964 (1)

WhirledOne (213095) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833376)

That's pretty good, but I think "A Logic Named Joe" by Murray Leinster in 1946 has describes a service that gets interestingly close to Google in certain regards (once "Joe" starts changing things) even if the details are very different.

Quite fun (1)

JavaBear (9872) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832734)

It is quite fun to see these old predictions to see where they were right or more often, where they were wrong.

We just have to remember that our own present day predictions about the world 50 years from now are likely to be as precise as these old 50's and 60's predictions.

Ravage, from the 1940s (1)

koreaman (835838) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832754)

René Barjavel's Ravage (Ashes, ashes in English) is pretty spot on, if not about specific customs and technologies, then about modes of life in the future. It's set in the 2050s, but the world has already evolved remarkably toward Barjavel's vision. I recommend it for everyone.

Another thing we still don't have. (0)

hebertrich (472331) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832778)

Peace. We're still a bunch of savages killing each other.
 

Forget predicting the future (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832810)

Peace. We're still a bunch of savages killing each other.

We're still a bunch of savages because we don't even have a good grasp of the past.

Re:Another thing we still don't have. (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832904)

But that's not our fault, there's no world peace because the other guys aren't willing to cooperate!

Re:Another thing we still don't have. (1)

GospelHead821 (466923) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833030)

That's some gallows humour, there. I can't bring myself to laugh. I live in Minnesota and for the last three weeks, that's exactly what we've been hearing from both our governor and leaders in the legislature about the government shutdown. The governor finally caved in yesterday but for three weeks, from both sides, "We've made a reasonable proposal but the other side is unwilling to compromise."

HEY who you calling the other guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36833040)

/me punches you in nose /sarcasm

AT&T Microworld (1)

spyked (1878060) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832802)

AT&T did a documentary on the (then) present and future of computers, narrated by William Shatner. It's similar to the videos in TFA. Youtube [youtube.com] link goes here.

Flying Automobile (1)

ramyphotography (2395686) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832816)

A US Federal agency recently approved the use and production of flying cars on the roads. But I doubt if everybody will be able to afford it considering it's 250,000 USD. I also read that Ford is development a technology so that cars can 'network' themselves on freeways thus maximizing the use ot the space on the highway. I wonder if this will solve the road rage problem?

When I was a kid .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832826)

I'm 38 now but I read every book I could on this subject because I found predictions of the future amazing. We are way past the time of some of these prediction but one amused me quite a bit and that by now, we all would be moving around in our own personal pod and walking anywhere would be a thing of the past and that eventually, our bodies would mutate to where we'd have no legs. A lot of these far out predictions could be closer to the truth if the optimism wasn't overshadowed by what stifles real far technical change and that's the economy behind what already exists. Dirt Cheap power, plants that could sustain any condition and atmosphere, ect. You know, things that would kill the economy and put humans on a more even playing field as far as class. Rich people like to be rich and Powerful people want to remain powerful. Heck the technology we have today challenge and threaten this already.

Gernsback continuum anyone? (1)

jwijnands (2313022) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832836)

Remember William Gibson's early short. the Gernsback Continuum? I'm always reminded of that one with posts like this, it's what sparked my interest in dead futures. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gernsback_Continuum)

Marshall McLuhan got it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832872)

It's the hundredth anniversary of Marshall McLuhan's birth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_McLuhan [wikipedia.org]

McLuhan is known for coining the expressions "the medium is the message" and "the global village" and predicted the World Wide Web almost thirty years before it was invented.

Re:Marshall McLuhan got it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36833078)

Marshall McLoonie was wrong, the medium is not the message.

The future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832894)

The future clearly isn't what it used to be. Some would even say that it's already seen it's best days

surprisingly accurate (1)

Tom (822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833010)

For 40-50 years of age, those predictions are surprisingly accurate. If you watch carefully, you notice that while they got many details wrong, the basics are mostly correct. While our buildings look nothing like in the background image of the BBC part, for example, they do in fact incorporate many technological advances. The error is only in how visible those are.
Same with the computers in the first video. While ours today look nothing like those depicted, the functions were largely predicted correctly.

If anything, I'm quite surprised at how good the predictions are.

futures that last more than one lifetime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36833064)

that's when we each effect at least one other, in a positive, life promoting & extending manner.

disarm. read the teepeeleaks etchings. the future will thank you.

The video screen thing (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833152)

Surprisingly accurate in the general sense, but the specific inaccuracies show how much the digital computing stuff has changed how people interface with electronics. Without an operating system to manage tasks, processes and windows, there is a strict "one task = one screen" limit, so they have all these different screens on the desk - and they have to manipulate them with physical buttons, because the mouse hasn't been invented yet.

It's not the internet or its ubiquity that people failed to foresee when they didn't predict things like social networking - it was how insanely more convenient it would become to work with computers. Asimov predicted a globally accessibly encyclopedia - accessed by a teletype console.

Re:The video screen thing (1)

LordNacho (1909280) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833370)

This is so true. Look at older people. They can figure out the single interface telephone, but as soon as you get context menus (smartphones, websites, GPS car nav) they're in deep water. Mind you, not all of them.

Re:The video screen thing (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833516)

Without an operating system to manage tasks, processes and windows, there is a strict "one task = one screen" limit, so they have all these different screens on the desk

Haven't we been sort of heading back that way over the last few years? In the early 2000s it seemed like soon we'd have a few general-purpose computers that could do anything, and maybe further into the future, just a handheld PC that might dock with different interfaces (the Motorola Atrix is a first step in this direction) but after the iPhone came out devices strangely started to become more specialized again. Now we still have "pocket computer" cell phones, but most people use them more like simple smartphones crossed with handheld gaming machines, and then we have separate tablets and ebook readers and even separate handheld gaming machines. You could argue that it's due to people's choices being removed through curated computing, but most people seem to be happy with this situation.

We could have flying cars by now, but... (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833194)

...sadly, the smartest people on this planet have been lured by advertising companies into jobs aimed at attracting eyeballs.

All the PhDs are now producing software that's about as useful as paperclips and other office disposables.
And they even seem to be content in doing so.

Aldous Huxley (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36833264)

Try reading Aldous Huxleys Brave New World.
It's 80 years old, and is becoming a reality today.

1966 Video (2)

Lando (9348) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833462)

Were they really so certain that keyboards would be done away with in order to go back to a pen based system? Computers with keyboards were out at the time, and while not consumer products, I can't imagine someone familiar with computers not understanding how useful they were/are. The computer I used in the military was designed in 1965, and while severely limited, is still recognizable as a computer. So, their glimpse into the future doesn't really seem to be that significant.

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