Butler robots? Teleportation? What did our forefathers predict would happen in the year to come?
It is quite ironic that the human being has spent a good part of his life looking to the future, waiting for what was to come, and that he is currently doing it observing the past with some nostalgia. With the arrival of 2020 another decade is coming, perhaps as splendid as those happy 20s of a century ago, and probably new inventions, vaccines and, in general, progress, that will serve for later generations.
With how fast technology advances it is normal. We live surrounded by smartphones and news about how robots will take our work away in a few years, and the funny thing is that since the world is the world, it has been predicted what the future would be like. In the late nineteenth century, many enlightened already assured that we would live in a world full of flying cars and holograms. It was supposed. At the moment of truth, the current era is more like Netflix nights, uploading photos to Instagram and asking for food from Glovo. But it does not matter and, in fact, it is much more fun, because that way we can laugh at all those predictions that, for better or worse, were never fulfilled … for now.
At a conference at the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1911, a surgeon named Richard Clement Lucas made a curious (and clearly quite false) prediction for our future: the outer toes – and, according to him, useless – they will use less and less, to the point that we would end up with a single big toe, which in turn would shorten much more, reports ‘Best Life‘.
The reason why we would suffer such a transformation has not transcended, although it is probably due to the fact that we do not use them except to hit the furniture. Be that as it may, it has not been fulfilled, and almost better.
We will live in flying houses
We keep waiting for you. The inventor, scientific and futuristic writer Arthur C. Clarke, who co-wrote the script for ‘2001: An Odyssey in Space’, believed that the boring houses of 1966 would be radically different in the 21st century: they would have nothing to keep them in the floor and could move anywhere on earth, without their owners having to move from the bed.
What houses have always provided for predictions, Glenn T. Seaborg, for example, wrote in his book ‘Scientist Speaks Out’ that: “During the 21st-century houses that have no robot will have a well-trained ape who will do the tasks cleaning, gardening and chauffeur, which may reduce the number of car accidents.” We don’t know why slave monkeys would be better conductors than humans.
Telepathy and teleportation
If having a single toe was not enough, we would also enjoy, apparently, powers worthy of the X Men. Michael J. O’Farell predicted in his book ‘Shift 2020’ that the year that will enter would be the ‘era of nano-mobility’, and that telepathy and teleportation will be possible for this year, becoming something very normal in 2040. Well, we will have to believe it when we see it.
In the 50s the magazine ‘Mechanix Illustrated’ showed a prototype of a mobile phone (although it looks like a stopwatch) of a mobile phone with a screen. It was nicknamed “the phone of the future” and, although it was circular, it had dial buttons and a color screen. Nothing unusual because since the beginning of the century people were quite obsessed with telephony in general.
Of all the predictions named so far, it is the only one that fits reality a bit, and, more importantly: no mono-driver would have to be injured during the process of its creation.
Nobody will work
And we will all be rich, hooray! In 1966 the magazine ‘Time‘ reported that the 21st century would be a fairly impressive economic era for almost everyone, that in the United States people would be rich and independent and that, without moving a finger, an average family would earn between $ 30,000 and $ 40,000 those of that time, therefore, today, much more. It seems that the magazine had not thought about Lehman Brothers or possible economic crises.
And of course, we will step on Mars
This is a bit of a disappointment. We have been dreaming of setting foot on the red planet since we know it exists, but it does not seem to be something close. NASA predicts as early as 2030, with good luck, but in the 90s something else was believed.
In 1997, the magazine ‘Wired’ established the year that will enter as the one in which humans would reach Mars, and even dared to say that “the expedition will be a joint effort supported by virtually every nation on the planet, the culmination of a decade and a half of intense focus on a common goal. “
It will not be necessary to eat
Surely you remember it from some futuristic movie or series: citizens do not eat but ingest capsules. A 2005 prediction by Ray Kurzweil said something like this: in the 2020s there will be ‘nanobots’ capable of entering our bloodstream to “feed” the cells and extract the waste. As a result, eating food would become obsolete. It does not seem that it will be something in the short term, and better, because we all like to enjoy a good dinner away from home with friends.