Asimov’s World Fair Predictions 1964

IMG_0174After reading Timebound by Rysa Walker where the main character time travels back to the World’s Fair in Chicago of 1899, I stumbled into an article that talked about the fifty year ago predictions of science fiction author, Isaac Asimov, for the future at the 1964 World’s Fair. I thought it was interesting to learn some of his predictions and whether they came true or not. Can science fiction authors predict the future or are they just writing good stories?

He actually nailed some of them and some he missed the mark on. http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-27069716

He predicted:

We would be able to see and hear any conversations.

With the advent of Skype and Facetime, this is possible. However, I think FaceTime hasn’t reached the popularity Apple or the world thought it might, mainly because I’m not ready to show my face bright and early in the morning before make-up has been applied. The little picture in the window is never as flattering as I wish it could be. Maybe the young kids use it much more often than we more mature (read wrinkled) generation, but I’m surprised at how overlooked it is. Do you FaceTime?

We could direct dial to any spot.

downloadPretty much true.

 

 

Robots would not be common, but would exist.download (1)

A lot of research is going forward developing amazing robots. Recently Cosmos, a new tv show, talked about a four-legged robot that could go over any rough terrain and carry several hundred pounds. It’s a mechanical packhorse. I own a romba (named Robbie)  that cleans my rugs and floors, and this is rather commonplace. IRobot also makes robots that go into dangerous places or war zones to investigate possible bombs. Currently robots can do surgery and, of course, manufacture cars. Manufacturing uses a lot of robotic functions. Amazon is talking about having drones deliver packages.Microrobotics

3D television and wall screens will be common.

While large flat tv screens are in most homes, the acceptance of 3D television has flopped. No one wants to pay the extra money and wear the goofy glasses.

There will be conversations with the moon.

Except if you call, no one will answer.

Robots will make coffee.

My morning coffee is set up at night so all I have to do is push a button and it’s percolating. You can schedule it to go on automatically if you want. Pretty much automated except I put in beans and water. There’s no robot picking beans for me or bustling around the kitchen that early.

We will have algae grown and vat made meat that will taste not so bad.vat meat

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2013-08/first-lab-grown-hamburger-served

This just happened where a pseudo burger was developed in a lab. However, the not-so- bad taste is still in question.

We will have fusion and solar power and other sources of alternate energy.download (2)

While the fusion power is still a dream of the future, large solar arrays in the desert and house-top solar panels are growing by leaps and bounds. We are making progress, but it still isn’t in every household. Electric cars are gaining traction…buy Tesla stock.

Vehicles will drive with robot brains. Jetpack’s and hovercraft will be common modes of transportation. http://www.google.com/about/careers/lifeatgoogle/self-driving-car-test-steve-mahan.html

While most vehicles use computers and high tech devices for gps, video and audio, self driving cars are still in the developmental stage. (but see the link on this progress) However, they are coming. Jetpack’s and hovercraft displayed at the Fair are still not used extensively, although they exist.

Not all will enjoy the gadgetry in full, but the majority will be better off than present, but many will be further behind.

There is a new class division developing between those that have access to tech and can use it and those that are falling behind. Tech is developing and changing at a breath-taking pace and those that can keep up will forge ahead, leaving many in luddite dust. Some of this is generational. My daughter has integrated high tech more deeply into her life than I have, and understands it far better, but my mother doesn’t even own a computer or understand the basics of our current tech world. She can barely comprehend the complicated world of social media that now exists and the wide array of aps and websites that proliferate.

If you could hop in a time machine and power ahead fifty years from now, what would be one technology now in the developmental stage that you might find integrated into society?

PS: On Mother’s Day through the 15th I have enrolled in the KDP Select program that will offer Caught in Time free. Check out the right panel for synopsis and more details of the book.

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4 Comments

Filed under gene modification, hard science, Medical science fiction, Microbots in science fiction, Robots in science fiction, Science Fiction Predictions, science news, time travel

4 responses to “Asimov’s World Fair Predictions 1964

  1. Cool predictions.
    I’m so damn far away from being a scientific smart ass (compared to other brilliant minds of our time, in the science-fiction writer camp), but I’ll still give predicting a go. Why not.
    I say we’ll have widespread quantum computing and cyborgs in 50 years. Cyborgs either as people with a lot of integrated hardware, or as robots with organic computing units and lab-grown tissue serving different functions.

    What do you predict?

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    • Great prediction, Veronica. Concerning cyborgs…my mother has a hearing aid, my sister an implanted hearing device in her head. My ex-boss has Parkinson’s and has a device in his head. I would say there will be even more assists in the future. Google glass?
      My prediction? I think electric cars will get a foothold at last, and yes, quantum computing. My husband has been working with a company that is working on holographic storage.
      p.s. You’re not so far away from being a scientific smart ass than you think. I love your insights in science.

      Like

  2. Amazing how much reality there ends up being in science ‘fiction’!

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    • That’s why I love it. It makes me think about what might be coming in the future. Still, we’re a long way off from galactic civilizations, but a lot of times imagination drives science.

      Like

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