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What Will Life Be Like In 2008?

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the vacation-under-the-sea dept.

Sci-Fi 648

tblake writes "Back in 1968, Modern Mechanix mused what life would be like in 40 years. Some things they came pretty close on: 'Money has all but disappeared. Employers deposit salary checks directly into their employees' accounts. Credit cards are used for paying all bills. Each time you buy something, the card's number is fed into the store's computer station. A master computer then deducts the charge from your bank balance.' Some things are way off: 'The car accelerates to 150 mph in the city's suburbs, then hits 250 mph in less built-up areas, gliding over the smooth plastic road. You whiz past a string of cities, many of them covered by the new domes that keep them evenly climatized year round.' And some things are sorta right: 'TV screens cover an entire wall in most homes and show most subjects other than straight text matter in color and three dimensions. In addition to programmed TV and the multiplicity of commercial fare, you can see top Broadway shows, hit movies and current nightclub acts for a nominal charge.'"

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648 comments

Auto-pilot cars @ 150 MPH (1, Insightful)

New_Age_Reform_Act (1256010) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865470)


I am not going to try this even though it is avaliable now.

Since there are a lot of cars then airplanes, and we use wireless signals to communicate between the car & the traffic control HQ, the bandwidth used by each car must be very small. The more # of transmitters, the smaller the bandwidth for each signal, and more chance for noise-related errors. This is a property of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

If this thing going 150 MPH and there is a hiccup on the network, or even let say some hacking/DDoS is going on, tons of crashes will surely happen.

Re:Auto-pilot cars @ 150 MPH (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22865542)

Since there are a lot of cars then airplanes
Wow. Just Wow.

How the hell did you manage to pass grade 2 English?

DIE LIBERAL (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22865680)

You must be another fucking liberal who discriminates against non-whites. I hope you get fucked right up to your ass with black/jew power rises!

Re:Auto-pilot cars @ 150 MPH (5, Interesting)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865576)

The notion of centralized control is way off. Each car (as it is now with human drivers) needs to be aware of its surroundings and behave properly in an orderly swarm fashion. Any sort of centralized system should analyze traffic and offer broadcast hints back to the vehicles for upcoming road conditions and preferred alternate routes, instead of micromanaging everything from a single point of failure.

Re:Auto-pilot cars @ 150 MPH (1)

cmdrpaddy (955593) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865702)

Like radio shows that let you text in traffic news?

Re:Auto-pilot cars @ 150 MPH (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22865730)

domed cities. Good idea. Not for the climate control, but to keep the niggers away from the rest of us.

If you hate niggers, Vote for Hillary Clinton!

Another bad thing about centralized control (1)

New_Age_Reform_Act (1256010) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865806)

We won't be enjoying video like these:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwXI0z-wj1A&feature=related [youtube.com]

Note: this is not a video game. This is in Sweden.

Re:Another bad thing about centralized control (5, Funny)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865862)

Note: this is not a video game. This is in Sweden.
No,nonono. You did it wrong. Here, let me:

"Video game...? THIS... IS... SWEDEN!"

Re:Auto-pilot cars @ 150 MPH (5, Informative)

jstockdale (258118) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865842)

Actually, the Vehicle-to-Vehicle and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure programs at many of the leading auto industry R&D programs, are working on exactly this approach.

Certain portions of CA infrastructure have been equipped with the first generation of this equipment (DSRC 1000m range radio equipment) and there's even a traffic light in Palo Alto (Page Mill Rd & El Camino Real) where you can receive broadcast status and phase information as you approach.

You make the cars aware of each other, and aware of the road, at first for safety and driver-assistance purposes--and the you gradually phase in the AI portion as it matures.

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_infrastructure_integration [wikipedia.org]

Auto-pilot cars & GPS (3, Interesting)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865584)

Hmmm... just when I read that article on people trusting their car GPS systems even if they'd go down a cliff....

Re:Auto-pilot cars @ 150 MPH (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22865606)

If this thing going 150 MPH and there is a hiccup on the network, or even let say some hacking/DDoS is going on, tons of crashes will surely happen.

The thing is, assuming that you can produce reliable sensors, there's only two rules you have to follow when dealing with other cars for freeway travel, neither of which require any kind of communication with an external controller:

1) Do not drive faster than the vehicle in front of you
2) Do not change lanes if there is a vehicle beside you

Both of those are trivial to handle, even at 250MPH. The real problem isn't ramming another car, it's finding the damn lane on the road, especially when you've got places where the government doesn't bother repainting the stripes more than once every 50 years. Or places where the road is assembled from strips of concrete where the joints between the strips aren't quite lined up with the lanes (I've seen humans who can't figure those out, hell, the first time I ever saw that type of road construction was as a kid when I was in a merge lane on an overpass where the actual lane stripes had long since worn off, and I thought I was supposed to be following the black lines diagonally across the bridge until I nearly rammed someone). Or places where the lanes are repainted every 3 months... in completely different places.

Now, surface street travel with various stop signs, intersections, lights, etc... that's a long, long, long way away, even at 20 MPH with some central command center telling every car what it's supposed to be doing in realtime.

250 mph (3, Funny)

britneys 9th husband (741556) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865476)

The car accelerates to 150 mph in the city's suburbs, then hits 250 mph in less built-up areas, gliding over the smooth plastic road


Almost true...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bg27ckAgEiw&feature=related [youtube.com]

Re:250 mph (3, Informative)

The Step Child (216708) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865534)

The Bugatti Veyron can hit 253 mph.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWJj8pAUu5k [youtube.com]

Re:250 mph (1)

whoisjoe (465549) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865798)

Of course, I've heard that while the Veyron is going 253 mph, it can burn through a tank of gas in 12 minutes.

Re:250 mph (3, Interesting)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865858)

http://www.autoblog.com/2007/11/28/first-drive-bugatti-veyron/ [autoblog.com]

and if you fill the tank, take off and drive full throttle, you'll run out of gas in 12 minutes. Twelve. That's 720 seconds. I've waited longer than that for a Big Mac at the drive through. And you'll only go 50 miles. Maybe.

Re:250 mph (2, Interesting)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865614)

Smooth plastic roads aside, these wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the stinkin' cops. You could easily do 150 in a proper BMW, and even 250 isn't unachievable. The 14 year old McLaren F1 was getting very close [youtube.com] and the Bugatti Veyron actually exceeds that prediction [youtube.com] .

Re:250 mph (3, Interesting)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865770)

Speed limits are a political thing mostly. You can do 250mph on German Autobahns in a good modern car. Most other countries limit speed to 70mph, but that's not really a technology issue, more an issue of politicians limiting people's rights to protect them from accidents. Which is actually nonsense, since the Autobahns have the same safety record as roads with speed limits [wikipedia.org] , presumably since people are smart enough to drive at a speed which is safe for the road.

Of course there are always new dangers to protect people from and now environmentalists want to impose a speed limit on the Autobahns too, to reduce Germany's CO2 emissions by a whopping 0.5%
http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,3085749,00.html [dw-world.de]

Goddammit! (4, Funny)

Eddi3 (1046882) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865482)

Goddammit, I want my flying cars!

Re:Goddammit! (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865592)

So you want a means of personal transportation that you can fly and then land back on the ground? Those are called airplanes and I am pretty sure Cessna can set you up with that.

Re:Goddammit! (1)

Eddi3 (1046882) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865706)

B-But, but... They PROMISED!!!

Re:Goddammit! (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865648)

Flying cars? Fuck flying cars, I want my four hour work day god damn it:

People have more time for leisure activities in the year 2008. The average work day is about four hours. But the extra time isn't totally free. The pace of technological advance is such that a certain amount of a jobholder's spare time is used in keeping up with the new developments--on the average, about two hours of home study a day.

They were just confused that the ease in which we can accomplish four 1968 work hours would eliminate us from having to do an additional four hours of additional work.

Re:Goddammit! (3, Insightful)

TXG1112 (456055) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865764)

How many of us actually work for eight hours? I know I generally have plenty of time to read Slashdot (ahem) (cough) keep up with new developments during the day.

Re:Goddammit! (5, Funny)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865904)

Answer: Windows admins

Re:Goddammit! (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865836)

There was a paper from a study released in 1996 which for the life of me I haven't been able to find again, however... the gist of it was that automated output alone was equivalent to that of our largely manual labor economy in the 40's. It went onto suggest everyone could take 2-3 months off a year (it's been a while since I read it so I can't remember it clearly) without putting a real dent in our largely automated world.

Kind of depressing read at that particular time. Of course now I'm way better about telling my employer to eat it (not in those terms) when I need time off for myself.

Re:@#! (3, Funny)

superyooser (100462) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865740)

Flying cars will be considered "sooo 1990s."

In 2008, people will travel in levitating, hypersonic personal aircraft called mePods.

Re:Goddammit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22865894)

Okay, but you'll have to take the wide-shouldered tunic with short cape and the computer the size of a house along with it.

Re:Goddammit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22865906)

Why not a flying motorcycle. That would be WAY cooler.

I guess even he knew (5, Funny)

i_liek_turtles (1110703) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865492)

Even forty years ago, he wasn't naive enough to suggest Duke Nukem Forever being available.

I'm impressed (5, Interesting)

AdamReyher (862525) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865496)

I'm actually impressed with how dead on a lot of the predictions are. Most predictions from the 60s and 70s were outrageous. One thing I think we've gotten much better at is figuring out the technological limitations of the near future so as to not make such outrageous predictions ... sort of. Supposedly we're all going to be in flying and/or driverless cars by 2015.

Re:I'm impressed (5, Insightful)

Kandenshi (832555) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865558)

Well, I think you almost hit the nail on the head. "most predictions from the 60s and 70s..." There were quite a few of them right? Seemed like every author or magazine wrote at least one article talking about what stuff would be like in the year 2000, 2010, etc...
So we've got plenty of predictions from the 60s and 70s, and this guy mananged to get several of his right (though others are way way off).

What's that they say about an infinite number of monkeys? We only had a finite (if large) number of predictors, but unlike monkeys most of them wont just write down "j ,kmdsxzqw3i98" either. It's nice for him that he got some stuff mostly right, but unlike you being impressed at this, I would have been more impressed if none of them did.
As for the driverless car thing, I think that it could conceivably happen in my own lifetime, but I don't expect it anytime soon. Certainly not as a common thing in the next decade.

Re:I'm impressed (1)

lostokie (1229804) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865660)

If you are going to reference that particular theorem, then the correct conclusion would be surprise that someone actually got the predictions correct. IE, these predictions are not random chance, but the result of true insight. The theorem concludes that we would only expect one monkey to actually write Hamlet for time values well over the age of the Universe.

Re:I'm impressed (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865736)

The funny thing is that they never mention nuclear fusion. I mean, in the 60's, it was only 20 years out.. (and in every decade since) obviously they didn't have faith in that science progressing..

Re:I'm impressed (1)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865892)

The announcement of "cold fusion" 20 years ago really put a damper on research in the field. According to this article [deseretnews.com] there are only 30 desktop fusion reseach systems (they only add 4 neutrons/minute compared to the background level of 36 neutrons from space.

Re:I'm impressed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22865872)

I'm actually impressed with how dead on a lot of the predictions are.
Did you even read the article, or did you just read the summary? It seems like the article misses far more than it even comes close to. "Private cars are banned inside most city centers," "Homes in Mi's 80th year are practically self-maintaining," "The housewife simply determines in advance her menus for the week, then slips prepackaged meals into the freezer and lets the automatic food utility do the rest," "A repairman will show up even before any obvious [computer] breakdown occurs," "In fact most schooling--from first grade through college--consists of programmed TV courses or lectures via closed circuit," "A typical vacation in 2008 is to spend a week at an undersea resort," "Another vacation is a stay on a hotel satellite," "Mariculturists have turned areas of the sea into beds of protein-rich seaweed and algae," "Heart disease has virtually been eliminated by drugs and diet," "Medical examinations are a matter of sitting in a diagnostic chair for a minute or two, then receiving a full health report," "The intelligence pill is another 21st century commodity."

Wellll.... (1)

Izabael_DaJinn (1231856) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865502)

More accurate than Nostradamus, but not as amusing as Criswell--almost though. This one made me laugh out loud: "People have more time for leisure activities in the year 2008. The average work day is about four hours." As if any society would ever let its plebes goof off that much!

Re:Wellll.... (2, Funny)

Sen.NullProcPntr (855073) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865566)

This one made me laugh out loud: "People have more time for leisure activities in the year 2008. The average work day is about four hours." As if any society would ever let its plebes goof off that much!
Maybe this is actually the first accurate prediction of slashdot's effect on worker productivity?-)

Re:Wellll.... (5, Interesting)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865826)

People have more time for leisure activities in the year 2008. The average work day is about four hours." As if any society would ever let its plebes goof off that much!

Ah, but you didn't finish the paragraph! A closer look reveals startling truths:

People have more time for leisure activities in the year 2008. The average work day is about four hours. But the extra time isn't totally free. The pace of technological advance is such that a certain amount of a jobholder's spare time is used in keeping up with the new developments--on the average, about two hours of home study a day.

Closer than you would guess! The average person works 4 hours, and spends at least 2 hours reading Slashdot (though admittedly not at home. You can't fault the guy too much for that error). The other 2 hours are split between Wikipedia bingeing, blog reading, and Fark.

Dwellings for the most part are assembled from prefabricated modules, which can be attached speedily in the configuration that best suits the homeowner. Such modular homes easily can be expanded to accommodate a growing family. A typical wedding present for the 21st century newlyweds is a fully equipped bedroom, kitchen or living room module.

Ah, a depiction of the epitome of 21st century living: The modern trailer park!

The housewife simply determines in advance her menus for the week, then slips prepackaged meals into the freezer and lets the automatic food utility do the rest. At preset times, each meal slides into the microwave oven and is cooked or thawed. The meal then is served on disposable plastic plates.

Just plain scary how close this is. If I had a nickel for every time dinner was a Kid's Cuisine or Hungry Man I'd have a lot of nickels.

Students visit a campus once or twice a week for personal consultations or for lab work that has to be done on site. Progress of each student is followed by computer, which assigns end term marks on the basis of tests given throughout the term.

Again, a vision of the future! I probably go to class once or twice a week and my end grade is indeed determined by the Scantron sheets I fill with Rorschach inkblots.

Besides school lessons, other educational material is available for TV viewing. You simply press a combination of buttons and the pages flash on your home screen. The world's information is available to you almost instantaneously.

Al Gore couldn't have said it better himself. Maybe vague, but it does fit the Internets and associated tubes pretty well.

TV screens cover an entire wall in most homes and show most subjects other than straight text matter in color

True enough. I'm sure I don't need to elaborate the "other matter". Or so I've heard anyway.

Mariculturists have turned areas of the sea into beds of protein-rich seaweed and algae. This raw material is processed into food that looks and tastes like steak and other meats. It also is cheap; families can have steak-like meals twice a day without feeling a budget pinch.

Ah ha, Kraft Foods! This amazing fellow was able to predict the rise of "processed cheese food" and "mechanically separated meat products". Brillant!

Heart disease has virtually been eliminated by drugs and diet.

Nobody bats a thousand I guess.

No need to worry about failing memory or intelligence either. The intelligence pill is another 21st century commodity. Slow learners or people struck with forgetful-ness are given pills which increase the production of enzymes controlling production of the chemicals known to control learning and memory.

He couldn't have been closer if he'd just given us the name of the wonder drug Ritalin!

Anyway, he was spot on. Finally a reviewer who didn't have flying cars in their list.

beg to differ (4, Funny)

flynt (248848) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865506)

Some things are way off: 'The car accelerates to 150 mph in the city's suburbs, then hits 250 mph in less built-up areas

Speak for yourself...

Re:beg to differ (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865856)

My car does that too, but they police keep telling me not to.

Where are the flying cars? (1, Redundant)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865522)

Where are the flying cars? I was promised flying cars!

Well, I know of ONE (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865546)

But i don't know if its what you're looking for... [darwinawards.com]

Re:Where are the flying cars? (1)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865572)

Well I was promised not to be sold into slavery on the black market in Asia, having to fight my way through the criminal underworld with guns to make it out alive. Deal with it!

Anyways, flying cars are a stupid idea. Three dimensional traffic would be a major headache, just ask a flight controller how they would feel about adding several billion more vehicles to the sky in order to make flying cars ubiquitous. However, I guess it is should be of some solace to the person who first dreamed them up that they will live on forever as indestructible meme of Internet culture.

Re:Where are the flying cars? (4, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865694)

Anyways, flying cars are a stupid idea. Three dimensional traffic would be a major headache, just ask a flight controller how they would feel about adding several billion more vehicles to the sky in order to make flying cars ubiquitous.
If only we could invent some sort of thinking machine to rapidly process more information than the human mind could ever handle!?

Transportation really needs to move into 3 dimensions, it's the only way to resolve congestion. Being stuck in 2 dimensions is just causing a lot of congestion and is too dangerous.

That said, my fanciful wish is for digging tunnels all over the place so we don't have to look up at a sky clogged with millions of aircraft. Having a mechanical failure in a tunnel is safer than in the sky, too.

Or.... (4, Insightful)

GnomeChompsky (950296) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865838)

we could invest in public transportation and abrogate people's stupid, life-risking civil liberties by takin' way their cars.

SERIOUSLY. If we invested the amount of money people spend on Cars, Car Insurance and Gasoline into public transportation, we'd have some sort of awesome, pneumatic tube public transportation system a la Futurama. The reason there's so much congestion is because people have decided they each need to get to work INDIVIDUALLY WRAPPED in LARGE CHUNKS OF CARBON-BURNING METAL.

Re:Where are the flying cars? (2, Insightful)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865846)

Any advancement that gives us the ability to use airways as the primary channel of day to day travel would probably signify sufficient advancement to automate ground travel, making traffic shaping more effective and congestion a non-issue.

So in terms of today's tech, flying cars are too expensive with regard to energy and would lead to a sky filled with death. In terms of tomorrow's tech, they are simply superfluous. Not to mention, still constrained by the same fact that flying takes more energy than traveling on the ground.

Re:Where are the flying cars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22865900)

Not to mention, still constrained by the same fact that flying takes more energy than traveling on the ground.
Depends on the speed. If you're going fast, air resistance is the main problem, and so it's better to travel where the air is thinner.

Re:Where are the flying cars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22865700)

Well I was promised not to be sold into slavery on the black market in Asia, having to fight my way through the criminal underworld with guns to make it out alive. Deal with it!
[citation needed]

Re:Where are the flying cars? (1)

drachenstern (160456) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865914)

Okay, here's a Wikipedia link for you then Wikipedia Entry [wikipedia.org]
citations at the bottom as always...

k thanks

Where's my Intelligence Pill? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865624)

No seriously, I thought I just had it right here.

Re:Where's my Intelligence Pill? (4, Funny)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865738)

You should've remembered to take your memory pill. But then, that's the trick, isn't it?

Re:Where are the flying cars? (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865670)

Here's one available [ebay.com] for purchase right now. You can read more about the concept on this collaborative electronic encyclopedia page [wikipedia.org] . I heard flying busses are also available.

Flying car in 1979 (1)

Nick Driver (238034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865672)

You got your flying car way back in 1979. [google.com]

And I think there was a certain black Trans-Am [imdb.com] that flew at least once a couple years earlier than the General.

Disposable society (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22865526)

I wonder if plasticware was expensive in '68. Seems the author was keen on stuff that was merely disposable. Maybe in 2048, the concept of biodegradable will seem as dated.

Money has all but disappeared (4, Interesting)

Volanin (935080) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865560)

This is a little offtopic (feel free to moderate me appropriately), but I can think of no better
place to ask this than here at /. and its grammar-nazis!

From the summary:
"Money has all but disappeared."

What does this sentence mean, please?
Whenever I read it, I read it as: "Everything imaginable happenned to money, except disappear."
Or even: "Money has changed color, has lost its value, has been globally unified... but disappear? No way!"

But by the context of the summary, it seems I am getting exactly the opposite of it.
Although I consider myself quite good at English, it is not my main language.
Can someone clear this up for me?
Thank you.

Re:Money has all but disappeared (4, Informative)

The Step Child (216708) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865580)

I believe it's an idiom. The meaning of "all but [something]" is "almost [something]".

Re:Money has all but disappeared (2, Informative)

Volanin (935080) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865652)

I believe you are right: all but [answers.com]
Thank you!

Re:Money has all but disappeared (2, Informative)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865590)

I think in the context of the article, "money" simply means cash (paper currency).

Re:Money has all but disappeared (1)

Volanin (935080) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865630)

Exactly.

"Cash has all but disappeared"

I read that sentence as: "Cash has undergone many situations, but has NOT disappeared"...
Which contradicts the idea of the summary that cash is gone, and now we only use plastic.

Re:Money has all but disappeared (2, Informative)

Lloyd_Bryant (73136) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865636)

"has all but disappeared" has the same meaning as "has almost disappeared". That particular construct is seldom used in everyday speech, but still shows up regularly in writing or speeches where dramatic effect is desired.

Re:Money has all but disappeared (0, Redundant)

Volanin (935080) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865666)

Yes, you are right: all but [answers.com]
Thank you!

Re:Money has all but disappeared (2, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865796)

Obviously they somehow saw my bank account. Money has been disappearing from it for years.

TFA was off in one important respect... (4, Funny)

rah1420 (234198) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865562)

...in his prediction of intelligence pills.

Either that, or a lot of people I encountered today need to adjust their dosage.

Re:TFA was off in one important respect... (2, Insightful)

i_liek_turtles (1110703) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865642)

Well, without them, they claim to know what plants crave. It's progress.

Re:TFA was off in one important respect... (4, Funny)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865714)

water? you mean like from a toilet?

Re:TFA was off in one important respect... (2, Funny)

i_liek_turtles (1110703) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865816)

You should use Brawndo: it's got what plants crave. It's got electrolytes.

Re:TFA was off in one important respect... (5, Funny)

RockModeNick (617483) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865726)

but it's got ELECTROLYTES!

Re:TFA was off in one important respect... (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865882)

Ritalin

Oh SNAP! (-1, Offtopic)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865564)

Once I peed out my car window are 50 MPH....I guess you could say I 'whizzed past a string of cities' that day! ZING!

Quite accurate (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22865578)

Money has all but disappeared. Employers deposit salary checks directly into their employees' accounts. Credit cards are used for paying all bills. Each time you buy something, the card's number is fed into the store's computer station. A master computer then deducts the charge from your bank balance.
That's pretty much my experience. I haven't used the ATM in almost a month. I either pay by CC or if I have to split the bill for lunch with friends, use PayPal to send them the money.

Computers not only keep track of money, they make spending it easier. TV-telephone shopping is common. To shop, you simply press the numbered code of a giant shopping center. You press another combination to zero in on the department and the merchandise in which you are interested. When you see what you want, you press a number that signifies "buy," and the household computer takes over, places the order, notifies the store of the home address and subtracts the purchase price from your bank balance. Much of the family shopping is done this way. Instead of being jostled by crowds, shoppers electronically browse through the merchandise of any number of stores.
Hmm...that's pretty much my experience with Amazon Prime's One-Click shopping. Is this prior art?

A pretty good estimate (1)

jjig (1148563) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865596)

Seeing as this was all hypothesised in 1968, they were pretty good estimates. Though they may be wrong about fast, flying cars etc, remember how different the world was back then. Computers and other modern technology were only in the early stages of development, TV sets were only just new, and still in Black and White.

For someone of that era to have estimated Credit cards being more used than paper money, and most homes having large TV sets is pretty spot on.

And even though flying cars haven't been made quite yet, things like aeroplanes are now far more common, and private flying cars are likely to be coming around in the near future.

Re:A pretty good estimate (2, Interesting)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865692)

TV sets were only just new, and still in Black and White.

Not quite. Commercial TV has been around since the 1940s (in the U.S., anyhow) and color broadcasts were commonly available by 1960. My family got it's first color TV in order to watch the 1968 Olympics.

It's kinda sad... (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865800)

That a 1968 article can in some ways be more accurate about technology in 2008 than the internet in 2008 can be about technology in 1968.

Re:A pretty good estimate (1)

jjig (1148563) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865810)

Not quite. Commercial TV has been around since the 1940s (in the U.S., anyhow) and color broadcasts were commonly available by 1960. My family got it's first color TV in order to watch the 1968 Olympics.
Yes, I agree with you there, but I wouldn't be sure if you said that many common homes had colour TVs.

Sorry Amazon, prior art... (5, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865604)

"When you see what you want, you press a number that signifies "buy," and the household computer takes over, places the order, notifies the store of the home address and subtracts the purchase price from your bank balance."

"One click", I have you now!

Re:Sorry Amazon, prior art... (0)

Taint Bearer (957479) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865834)

Three words: "First to File"

Re:Sorry Amazon, prior art... (4, Informative)

zermous (1196831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865868)

three words: not in america!

Online shopping (4, Insightful)

panaceaa (205396) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865886)

What I found most interesting about this article is how shopping in 2008 is actually BETTER than was imagined in 1968. The author thought items for sale would be displayed on a television, and people would order items through a different interface -- the telephone -- by pressing on a telephone keypad.

Instead, today we can interactively view an item for sale on the Internet, get competing prices, read reviews from real people around the world, and order the item through the same interface using buttons with descriptive labels. It seems so obvious now, and as a developer I still think we have a ways to go, but look how far we've come! This wasn't even fathomable 40 years ago.

2058 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22865616)

2058 will be pretty much just as crappy (or good) as today. We still won't have flying cars. Roads will suck. Global warming will still be argued over by various special interests. The world will still have billions of people living in poverty. There will still be petty wars. Not much will be different than today. I guess more people will have flat screens. We may have sent a token mission to Moon. But it won't lead anywhere.

Note: I am not against at least TRYING to improve quality of life .. even if it offers only a little improvement.

Re:2058 (2, Funny)

popmaker (570147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865718)

Well, we might have wireless access to our pets. And be able to watch porn during sleep. And the newest windows operating system will do the same things as today with 10^8 times the space.

Sounds about right (4, Funny)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865638)

People have more time for leisure activities in the year 2008. The average work day is about four hours. But the extra time isn't totally free. The pace of technological advance is such that a certain amount of a jobholder's spare time is used in keeping up with the new developments--on the average, about two hours of home study a day.

They got it almost spot on: 4 hours actual work; 2 hours slashdot; 2 hours talking; 2 hours walking around the office; 1 hour making coffee's; 3 hours replying to emails; 3 hours answering telephones; 1 hour break time; 2 hours travel time; 2 hours home study time; 2 hours sleep. Rinse-and-repeat.

My house is ready for 2008. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22865646)

In my house I have automatic lights in each of my rooms. I walk in, the lights go on, I walk out, the lights go off.

My heating and air is temperature controlled, and I do have robots/machines that do *some* of the cleaning.

I have flat screens and touch sensitive controls for each of the devices.

My yard has automatic lights.

My car auto starts at the push of a button, it also has automatic lights.

My carbon footprint is at about as small as I can make it without changing my jobs. When I change jobs, I won't need a daily vechicle.

I want to go back 40 years... (2, Funny)

jlowery (47102) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865674)

where I can make $20 an hour laminating stuff.

Re:I want to go back 40 years... (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865790)

Why? Nowadays you can make tens of thousands of dollars just by helping some Nigerian move money around!

industrialization (4, Interesting)

Dzimas (547818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865682)

It's interesting to note how this piece reflects the then-prevalent belief that technology would bring a Utopian age. No one stopped to think about the consequences of using thousands of ICBMs as transportation devices, or the industrial waste generated by wall-sized televisions and domed cities. Plastic was magical - we hadn't yet realized how toxic it could be, or how addicted we would become to it. Domed cities and millions of cars that travel 300 mph are the stuff of science fiction novels, but they'd be awful in practice - Just imagine how unbearably warn and clammy a dome would be under bright summer sun (or how quickly it would be discolored by dust storms and acid rain), or how poorly wildlife would coexist with a stream of automated bullet cars zipping along plastic roads. Somehow, we need to figure out how to do with less - much less - while figuring out how to tread less heavily on the earth. It might be an impossible task.

if he was so accurate.. (1)

the brown guy (1235418) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865686)

he would have predicted the top speeds in KM/H, like most of the worlds MEDC's use, except the USA of course.

Science Digest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22865690)

Back in the early 60's I subscribed to a magazine called Science Digest. I remember they had an article predicting the future that called for atomic cars. They were like large RVs, and had a drop down back door where you could drive out your small car for driving around locally. I guess they were predicting that people would spend all of their time driving around interstates and live in their cars or something. Some industrious person should look up that article and talk about it.

$12/hour with no selling! (2, Interesting)

SoundGuyNoise (864550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865708)

They had get rich quick schemes back then too! Make $12 an hour! [modernmechanix.com]

2048 (3, Insightful)

sane? (179855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865716)

By 2048 the concept of a national currency will have devolved back into a token based economy founded on barter. Those few that survive will focus on securing the necessities of life. Whole regions will be uninhabited as global warming turns them progressively to desert.

Personal transportation will be a thing of the past. What movement occurs will either be human powered or the preserve of the feudal lords. The only areas where an energy rich economy continues to exist will be those of the Middle East, at least those parts not a radioactive wasteland. Most oil will be vegetable oil, and with the collapse of intensive agriculture there won't be much of that.

Many of the major cities will be going underwater as sea levels rise following the accelerating collapse of the Greenland glaciers and the lack of funding to support management measures. Diseases come in waves across the globe, each wave wiping out more than are born. There is a general malaise, a depression of opportunities lost. Most do not want to bring children into this world.

relatively uneventful (2, Interesting)

opencity (582224) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865746)

Over the last 40 years the actual physical environment hasn't changed much. Imagine the difference between 1900 and 1940: automobiles, airplanes - or 1920 and 1960: Commercial trans Atlantic jet travel, satellites, H bombs, national highways. I can remember 1968. Since then we've gotten the ATM, cable TV, cell phones, personal computers but, except for the corporate mall-ing of the American highway, which was well underway by 1968 and didn't change the environment so much as stamp out local flavor, and saner environmental regulation, some lakes used to glow in the dark, this is still interstate rust belt America.

In fact, someone waking up right now would find America in the middle of a colonial war, suburban sprawl graying the countryside. "A gallon of gas costs what?!? Hey, can I see your phone?" That is, unless they were in medicine or IT.

(disclaimer: above memories are related to North America)

Funny how wrong he is on the big things. (3, Insightful)

Corngood (736783) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865772)

He describes a world where the entire infrastructure has essentially been rebuilt in 40 years. I can't see how that would have seemed plausible even back then. That said, portions of it are impressively accurate.

Let's go point by point (5, Informative)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865778)

> two-passenger air-cushion car
Didn't happen sadly
> national traffic computer
Read "GPS system"
> morning paper /flat TV screen / Tapping a button changes the page.
Your basic ebook
> smooth plastic road
Still concrete, altho progress has been made in using polymers in road construction
> cities... covered by the new domes
This one didn't happen
> The traffic computer ... feeds/receives signals to and from all cars / keeps vehicles /apart.
GM has prototypes that do just this. It's creepy to see them on the road.
> attache case / draw the diagram with / infrared flashlight on what looks like a TV screen
You basic tablet
> The diagram is relayed to a similar screen in your associate's office, 200 mi. away.
Have this
> He jabs a button and a fixed copy of the sketch rolls out of the device.
The printer
> vehicle parks itself / municipal garage
Again, GM has made leaps and bounds for this
> Private cars are banned inside most city / Moving sidewalks and electrams carry the public
Your basic Arcology idea, but not yet in practice.
> With the U.S. population having soared to 350 million
Close, only 270 million
> transportation is among the most important factors keeping the economy running smoothly.
Quite true, and also where we are starting to break apart
> Giant transportation hubs / located /from 15 to 50 mi. outside all major urban centers.
Some cities have done this, but not in the US to date
> Tube trains, pushed through bores by compressed air
This is ancient, but not in use
> launching pad from which 200-passenger rockets
Commercial rocketry is currently for the super-rich, and only a gimmick for now.
> SST and hypersonic planes
Concorde was retired a few years back
> jumbo jets.
The mainstay of transportation
>Electrostatic precipitators clean the air
Ionic Breeze anyone?
>climatizers maintain the temperature and humidity at optimum levels.
We have this in spades
> Robots are available to do housework and other simple chores.
Vacuuming is about all we have here with the Roomba
> New materials for siding and interiors are self-cleaning and never peel, chip or crack.
He got this one right
> Dwellings / prefabricated modules / attached speedily
Dead on here, most home construction now involves at least some prefabrication.
> job that doesn't take more than a day.
Didn't wind up this fast save for Extreme Home Makeover
> Such modular homes easily can be expanded to accommodate a growing family.
This sadly did not wind up the case.
> A typical wedding present / a fully equipped bedroom, kitchen or living room module.
Man, and all I got was 4 waffle irons....
> determines in advance her menus / prepackaged meals / automatic food utility
Didn't happen
> microwave oven and is cooked or thawed.
Did happen
> disposable plastic plates / knives, forks and spoons / so inexpensive they can be discarded
This very much happened.
> The single most important item in 2008 households is the computer.
100% bingo!
> These electronic brains govern everything from meal preparation and waking up the household to assembling shopping lists and keeping track of the bank balance. Sensors in kitchen appliances, climatizing units, communicators, power supply and other household utilities warn the computer when the item is likely to fail. A repairman will show up even before any obvious breakdown occurs.
We have not gotten to this point yet, however, it is appearing piecemail
> Computers also handle travel reservations, relay telephone messages, keep track of birthdays and anniversaries, compute taxes and even figure the monthly bills for electricity, water, telephone and other utilities.
This is now almost a decade old
> Not every family has its private computer.
Now he called it short. It is now rare for any household to lack a computer.
> Money has all but disappeared. Employers deposit salary checks directly into their employees' accounts. Credit cards are used for paying all bills. Each time you buy something, the card's number is fed into the store's computer station. A master computer then deducts the charge from your bank balance.
Yup, the debit card society.
> Computers not only keep track of money, they make spending it easier. TV-telephone shopping is common. To shop, you simply press the numbered code of a giant shopping center. You press another combination to zero in on the department and the merchandise in which you are interested. When you see what you want, you press a number that signifies "buy," and the household computer takes over, places the order, notifies the store of the home address and subtracts the purchase price from your bank balance. Much of the family shopping is done this way. Instead of being jostled by crowds, shoppers electronically browse through the merchandise of any number of stores.
Simplified version of online shopping, but surprisingly accurate
> People have more time for leisure activities in the year 2008. The average work day is about four hours. But the extra time isn't totally free. The pace of technological advance is such that a certain amount of a jobholder's spare time is used in keeping up with the new developments--on the average, about two hours of home study a day.
Oh I wish. I work 9-10 hours a day plus 4 hours research to keep myself on the bleeding edge
> Most of this study is in the form of programmed TV courses, which can be rented or borrowed from tape _ * libraries. In fact most schooling--from first grade through college--consists of programmed TV courses or lectures via closed circuit. Students visit a campus once or twice a week for personal consultations or for lab work that has to be done on site. Progress of each student is followed by computer, which assigns end term marks on the basis of tests given throughout the term.
Surprisingly, this actually is coming to pass. Already remote learning is taking root even on the elementary levels.
> Besides school lessons, other educational material is available for TV viewing. You simply press a combination of buttons and the pages flash on your home screen. The world's information is available to you almost instantaneously.
www.wikipedia.org
> TV screens cover an entire wall in most homes and show most subjects other than straight text matter in color and three dimensions. In addition to programmed TV and the multiplicity of commercial fare, you can see top Broadway shows, hit movies and current nightclub acts for a nominal charge. Best-selling books are on TV tape and can be borrowed or rented from tape libraries.
Sad but true
> A typical vacation in 2008 is to spend a week at an undersea resort, where your hotel room window looks out on a tropical underwater reef, a sunken ship or an ancient, excavated city. Available to guests are two- and three-person submarines in which you can cruise well-marked underwater trails.
Heh, ambitious?
> Another vacation is a stay While city life in 2008 has changed greatly, the farm has altered even more. Farmers are business executives running operations as automated as factories. TV scanners monitor tractors and other equipment computer programmed to plow, harrow and harvest. Wires imbedded in the ground send control signals to the machines. Computers also keep track of yields-, fertilization, soil composition and other factors influencing crops. At the beginning of each year, a print-out tells the farmer what to plant where, how much to fertilize and how much yield he can expect.
This is scarily accurate. My uncle is a farmer, and this pretty closely matches what his farm has done.
> Farming isn't confined to land. Mariculturists have turned areas of the sea into beds of protein-rich seaweed and algae. This raw material is processed into food that looks and tastes like steak and other meats. It also is cheap; families can have steak-like meals twice a day without feeling a budget pinch. Areas in bays or close to shore have been turned into shrimp, lobster, clam and other shellfish ranches, like the cattle spreads of yesteryear.
This hadn't happened, thank the gods!
> Medical research has guaranteed that most babies born in the 21st century will live long and healthy lives. Heart disease has virtually been eliminated by drugs and diet. If hearts or other major organs do give trouble, they can be replaced with artificial organs.
This almost came to be, but in the 80's we gutted the programs developing it all, taking giant steps backwards in the areas of human health and longevity.
> Medical examinations are a matter of sitting in a diagnostic chair for a minute or two, then receiving a full health report. Ultrasensitive microphones and electronic sensors in the chair's headrest, back and armrests pick up heartbeat, pulse, breathing rate, galvanic skin response, blood pressure, nerve reflexes and other medical signs. A computer attached to the chair digests these responses, compares them to the normal standard and prints out a full medical report.
That would be boring tho...
> No need to worry about failing memory or intelligence either. The intelligence pill is another 21st century commodity. Slow learners or people struck with forgetful-ness are given pills which increase the production of enzymes controlling production of the chemicals known to control learning and memory. Everyone is able to use his full mental potential.
An accurate description of the new wave of medicine for ADHD, ADD, ODD, and new intelligence drugs on the market.

Interestingly (but not surprisingly)... (4, Insightful)

invader_vim (1243902) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865788)

...the article maintains a phallocentric society, where men go to the office to work, and women stay home and coo-- I mean, oversee the cooking. While some of the technological advancements have certainly come to pass (and some pretty close if we look at them analogously), the social attitude of the article is firmly entrenched in the 1960s. Consider:

The housewife simply determines in advance her menus for the week, then slips prepackaged meals into the freezer and lets the automatic food utility do the rest.

Crichton on Predicting the Future (3, Interesting)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865814)

The second group that some people imagine may know the future are specialists of various kinds. They don't either. As a limiting case, I remind you there is a new kind of specialist occupation-I refuse to call it a discipline, or a field of study-called futurism. The notion here is that there is a way to study trends and know what the future holds. That would indeed be valuable, if it were possible. But it isn't possible. Futurists don't know any more about the future than you or I. Read their magazines from a couple of years ago and you'll see an endless parade of error.

From http://www.crichton-official.com/speech-whyspeculate.html [crichton-official.com]

TV dinners (2, Funny)

philbert2.71828 (781399) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865878)

The housewife simply determines in advance her menus for the week, then slips prepackaged meals into the freezer and lets the automatic food utility do the rest.
We have those -- they're called microwaveable TV dinners, and they taste terrible. The future isn't all it was cracked up to be.

Damnit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22865890)

They promised us jet packs!

Ahah! One-click ordering (3, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 6 years ago | (#22865916)

One-click ordering described! Over 25 years before Amazon...

When you see what you want, you press a number that signifies "buy," and the household computer takes over, places the order, notifies the store of the home address and subtracts the purchase price from your bank balance. Much of the family shopping is done this way. Instead of being jostled by crowds, shoppers electronically browse through the merchandise of any number of stores.

40 years from now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22865918)

I will be hiring a team of engineering graduates and have them work in cubicles fixing 40-year-old bugs that got checked in by stupid developers that don't test their own code.
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