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Yellowdog's avatar

In the past, what did we think the future would be like? What are some things in the past that we believed would be true about the future (which is now the present, or even now in the recent past)?

Asked by Yellowdog (11102points) February 17th, 2019

I remember taking a class in the year 1983 that was about the future. The topic was called Futurism.

We discussed and studied the probability that most would have car phones and some would have ‘pocket phones’ utilizing Cellular technology if they were wealthy enough. That the upper classes would have cable T.V. and access to more education via cable T.V. and the lower classes would lose out.

Everyone supposedly would have MUCH more leisure time (ha ha!) since computers and robotics and Computer Aided Design and manufacture would produce everything and make our homes automatic. People would still be employed to program and operate the devices but would have more leisure time.

Alternative and “Green” energy sources are still on the docket. We believed in all that congress is pushing today for Green energy, practical or nay, and that everyone would have electric cars.

For this question and discussion—please tell of some things back in the latter 20th century and first decade or so of the 21st, that we believed would be happening now. Or some of the things in the 1970s that we believed about the year 2000.

Please list some, and discuss what you heard or believed about what others have listed, whether they came true or not, or might still be on the horizon.

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21 Answers

SQUEEKY2's avatar

The advances in technology people did truly believe they were heading for a life of ease, HA we all became a slave to that technology.
WE all work more hours than ever before due to greed and taxes.

Yellowdog's avatar

I also remember when they thought our society would eventually be ‘paperless’ or at least use much less paper, as everything would be written, stored, transmitted electronically, on the screen.

flutherother's avatar

It was thought we would be travelling around in flying cars and hopping about the solar system in little spaceships. It was thought that racial divisions would be overcome and we would all exist happily together which is very far from the truth these days. On the other hand no one predicted the Internet which is revolutionising everything.

ragingloli's avatar

The creators of “Idiocracy” imagined a corporatist, bottom of the barrel IQ dystopia in the 26th century.
It became reality on January 20th, 2017.

JLeslie's avatar

Phone calls through the TV. Very thin TV’s.

Self driving cars, although back when I was in school it was presented more as a highway thing. You would drive to the highway, and then your car would lock in, and travel on its own at very high speeds. More recently it’s self driving on all roads.

Talking to computers and computers talking back.

Artificial limbs that have computers that can work on our own brain signals.

Faster cooking methods.

We ARE headed towards more robotics and we should be headed towards MUCH more leisure time, but in the mean time workers are being pushed to their limits instead. I’m not sure how it will sort itself out. Between the downward turn in the economy 12 years ago and the push for extremely high profits in the publicly held companies, those two things pushed against easier lives for people for a good ten years, maybe it will shift again.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The thing most common to those predictions was the assumption that still prevails: because all of those future marvels would benefit mankind, they will be rushed to fruition. Flying cars and cities on the moon—the cure for cancer—all of it was certainly foretold as probable by 2000 back in 1970. And the truth is that every one of those goals could almost certainly have been achieved in the time frame given. This is depressingly when you consider the technology available in the 60s to head off the then great and recognized looming catastrophe of overpopulation and all of its resulting corollaries. That in truth is what everything from environmental degredation to endemic poverty and starvation is REALLY about. Every problem confronting us with “too much” in its title: from pollution through greed is about “too many” of US.

ragingloli's avatar

Overpopulation is not the problem.
Advances in agriculture and genetics have enabled the planet to produce plenty for everyone.
The prevailing economic system is.
It funnels resources and products from the many, to the few.
The profit motive favours continuous iteration of what already exists, over actual innovation, because of the costs and risks involved, unless it becomes necessary.
Intel, content in its effective monopoly, milked its customers with a pitiful 5 to 10% faster processors each year, and only started increasing core counts when AMD released its Ryzen architecture.
When was the last time car manufacturers and smartphone makers did anything groundbreaking?
And face it, the space race only happened because the colonies wanted to prevent the Soviets from owning space, not because of “higher aspirations”.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Yellowdog I have always found it utterly ironic that computers actually cause us to use 5X more paper than we ever did before.

I don’t really remember thinking about the future that much. I guess I assumed it would be like Star Trek or The Jetsons and they had it all figured out for me. No invention has ever surprised me, for some reason.

I would like to know where the hell my flying car is, though.

flutherother's avatar

They predicted robots in the home that would do the dusting and serve us cups of tea. They can’t do that but they can beat us at Jeopardy and chess.

Dutchess_III's avatar

They can vacuum though.

ucme's avatar

When I was a kid, there was this shit sci-fi show called Space 1999
They depicted a future full of flying cars & space travel for the masses, they lied & I hate them for it.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Were the lies deliberate? Did they know they were “lying”?

Yellowdog's avatar

Yeah, Space 1999—

The 1975–1976 T.V. series about a nuclear garbage dump on the moon. Things went horribly awry and there was some kind of nuclear storm, and the moon was blast out of orbit, wandering the universe aimlessly. The moon colony tagging along.

No series ever showed why the colony folk didn’t simply return to earth in their Space 1999 Eagle spacecraft before the moon got too far away. . Nor did it show how horrible and what havoc would be on Earth with the moon gone, the tides messed up, etc etc.

But yeah, we all thought that a moon colony and possibly even a Martian colony would be possible by 1999.

This series came out, I think, in the 1975–1976 school year. Everyone in my elementary school thought I might be among the first landing crew on Mars. And that we might find ruins of ancient extraterrestrial civilizations there.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I remember Space 1999. But I in no way thought that program as a feasible prediction of events or circumstances likely to come about in 1999. On the other hand, the Jupiter mission from the movie 2001 seemed believable, and certainly achievable in my lifetime. Back then I had my doubts about the suspended life processing problems being solved by 2001, but otherwise, the technology was right in line with what came about.

ucme's avatar

The lengths people will go to avoid that little red name :D

Patty_Melt's avatar

There is a flying car now. They have demonstrated with a prototype, and I believe production begins soon. They are restricted to rooftop parking only.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We were supposed to get them in 1984. I think.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I googled, and supposedly they were available for purchase last October.
They look sweet.

ragingloli's avatar

I hope they get SAM’ed out of the sky.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I misspoke above.
They are allowed to land only on rooftop. Once they land, the props tuck in and they can be driven to park elsewhere.

It is the first new car to capture me in several years.

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