Since the beginning of time people have been making predictions about the future. You can see those predictions in books, movies and television. But as the years pass and technology seems to be overtaking the human mind I wanted to take a look back at one person’s predictions for 2014 and see how close he was to getting it right. I want to take you on a journey through the August 16th 1964 predictions of the 2014 world fair seen through the eyes of Isaac Asimov
In 1964 Isaac Asimov went to the New York World’s Fair titled at the time “Peace through Understanding.” Through all of the exhibits he witnessed these are my favorites.
In my opinion this advancement from his prediction is correct. If you look back to the 1990’s with the popular television program Star Trek The Next Generation they had light up display panels, pads that they used to walk around carrying information with, digital displays that just lighted up the entire ship. This was also seen from Asimov at the fair. Here in 2014 we now have devices that are all touch screen. These include but are not limited to microwave ovens, computer monitors, Android and Windows based tablets, medical equipment and even controls in our cars.
These panels are everywhere. If you were to even look at a modern device that is made in 2014 you wouldn’t see a button, lever, dial or anything that is manually operated. Everything is touch screen. Amazing how true this first prediction came to be.
CEILINGS AND WALLS GLOW FROM SCREENS
This is another prediction that I liked that came true. Just like the electroluminescent panels discussed before the same technology is being put into wall screens. The main one that I have found in practical use was at the hospital. I had to take my girlfriend to the doctors and there on the walls in the lobby are these huge interactive screens. The panels faded in and out showing different students and what they were doing during their education. The pictures also gave interactive options to explore the content that they were showing in more depth.
WINDOWS WILL HAVE THE ABILITY TO CHANGE COLOR DEPENDING ON LIGHT LEVELS
In the expo there were window panels that changed color or got darker depending on the light level in the room as well as outside. This technology is in use today. We use this technology in our windows in our home and in our cars and even in sunglasses. When the light level gets higher the tint on the lenses gets darker. When the light level gets darker the glasses become lighter.
In the course of the fair Asimov entered into the kitchen of tomorrow. There he saw machines preparing food as well as doing most of the chores. This innovation has come true in 2014. In today’s kitchens we have machines that will tell you the entire contents of the fridge from a wireless connection to washing your dishes at a specific time of day.
Now we don’t have robot maids or holographic chefs but we do have equipment that will cook and prepare the food for you. With voice technology and digital signals we now have devices that will open cans, cook your food, and even clean themselves after the meal is over. Even though his specific predictions didn’t come true many of his visions of the future did make their way into modern technology.
Some of the technology that he predicted have made themselves known in the following ways.
Tablets – These are computer devices that allow you to take information and technology with you. These devices work off a touch screen and long lasting batteries just like his predictions stated. Now the batteries are not nuclear powered or as strong as he predicted but they do have enough power to power our devices for hours upon end without having to be recharged.
Wearable Technology – In his predictions we have wearable technology. These can be as simple as the cell phone to the new Glass from Google which are internet based glasses that allow you to interact with the Internet. Something similar was designed by Gene Rodenberry in Star Trek the Next Generation with Geordi’s visor.
Rumba Vacuum – Unlike his prediction of robot maids and self-cleaning houses we do have devices that will clean our homes for us. The most known is the Rumba Vacuum. This device moves slowly across the floor cleaning your carpets automatically. These devices have sensors on them that detect when they are approaching the walls, a large object or even your beloved pet.
HOVERCRAFTS AND AQUACARS
In his predictions he stated that we would have cars and other vehicles that would hover only inches above the surface of the roads. These vehicles would make bridges obsolete as well as maintenance to our roads down to a minimum. We have come close to this prediction but in a different way. Here in 2014 we are getting ready to launch our first set of self-driving cars. We do have cars that are able to park themselves but not close enough to driving us back and forth to work.
Through movies and television we have seen the hover board, the Flubber car and even the Jetson flying around in cars from the future. This technology is close at hand but not quite there yet. And with the state of today’s world do you honestly think that it is a technology that should be incorporated and given to the general public. Just look at what they do with regular cars.
MAN ON THE MOON
The final prediction that I wanted to talk about was the moon colonies and the Martian colonies. In his predictions he stated that we would be talking to men on the moon on a regular basis. Yes we have gone to the moon and have sent unmanned vehicles, probes and other items to Mars but we have not yet setup permanent colonies there. We do have an International space station which is the closest thing that we have and will probably have in the near future but for his exact predictions I would have to say that he got it wrong.
There is a plan in the works to send three people on a one way trip to Mars to setup a colony but as of this writing it hasn’t’ happened yet.
From my research into these predictions it is both interesting and scary as to the accurately of what was predicted. No one really knows what the future will bring or what technology will be born from the imagination of our youth but I can say this. It is interesting to dream and to see the results of those dreams come true.
Let me leave you with this. It has been 50 years since his predictions and the world is seeing the realities of those predictions. Look 50 years into your future and write down your predictions of the 2064 World’s Fair. What do you think will be blinking or talking to you then?