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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Was too much hype and expectation put on the year 2000 by those living decades ago?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26798points) May 24th, 2011

Does it seem to you that pass generations or those back in the 50s and such put way more belief in the year 2000 than what was actually possible or happened? Watching old science fiction and episodes of the Twilight Zone it seems people thought by the time we arrived at the year 2000 there would be far more technical advances then there actually was. Taking a look at the movie 2001 A Space Odyssey it believed space travel was going to be much more than it was. I remember hearing that in 2001 we would have flying cars as a staple of transportation; we don’t. The way they were off about how advanced the year 2000 was, will we be off that much about what will be in the year 2050?

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8 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

Yes, and by a lot of other people.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Yea, what I find most interesting is the psychology of it. The year 2000 being “the future” was not really measured in how much we could do until then. If anything the year 2000 was picked just because it was round.

What is also interesting, Is what we would say today if asked what 2050 will be like. I bet this time it would be the opposite. Everyone would probably underestimate what we will have by then.

filmfann's avatar

Before 1995, you never heard the word Millenium.
Yes, the year 2000 was gonna be cool, but I don’t remember anyone dwelling on it till it got close.
The promise of the future has always been undefined. If you look at Blade Runner, they presented a brutal, run down future LA in 2016. When the film was released in 1981 (or so), no one thought it represented the correct timeline.

marinelife's avatar

I don’t think people were really thinking about 2000 at all in the past.

john65pennington's avatar

Humans are notorious for outlandish imaginations. A thought, say back in the 50s, was just that….a thought. It sold tickets to movies and it sold a lot of records.

No one knows when the end of the earth will take place. Only God knows and he has not told anyone, not even Jesus or the angels.

If they do not know, then how can a lonely human make this prediction?

wundayatta's avatar

Humans seem to like round numbers. They are easier to remember, perhaps. So every century is a big deal, but millenniums are an even bigger deal. Perhaps we attach a lot of hopes and dreams to millenniums.

Predicting the future is always a perilous business. It’s no surprise that people working 30 and 40 years out got things pretty wrong. Even five years out, futurists have little luck in making predictions about sociology and technology. The environment is a little easier to predict on average, although not in specific areas of the world.

Hype and expectation? Not really. People hype everything they do. It’s how you make a buck. Too much is a value judgment and that can hardly be generalized.

GladysMensch's avatar

I don’t think it was overly hyped in the 1950’s. The technological advances from 1900 to the 1950’s were incredible. In 1900 anyone outside a major city (in the US) was living much like they had for the previous couple hundred years. By 1950 the majority of households owned cars, had electricity and maybe television, phone service, and indoor plumbing. NASA was starting to put rockets into space. I think it was entirely reasonable for people to believe that things like space travel and flying cars would be widely available by 2000.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

People like to make “linear” sorts of extrapolations from the recent past and present into the future.

Look at the technologies that exploded from 1880–1900 to 1950–1970. I would say these would be: automobiles, aircraft/aerospace, petrochemicals, mass production. It turns out all of them had largely exhausted the “low hanging” fruit in terms of drastic improvements by 1950–1970, but that only became clear to non-experts in those fields in retrospect.

Computers were only just starting to enter popular consciousness at the time (ex: UNIVAC predicting the 1952 Presidential election based on early returns, Spencer Tracy portraying a computer engineer in the move Desk Set in 1957) and only the very farsighted recognized the opportunities present in both miniaturizing and networking them together in those days.

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