Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Crystal Ball Return

Over at the American Catholic, a number of contributors listed out his predictions for the coming year. While the prediction game is fun (I engage in it myself on occasion ), sometimes it is more fun to look back at predictions made about the present time to see how well the past pundits prognosticated.

The Usborne Book of the Future: A Trip in Time to the Year 2000 and Beyond (Amazon listing here), written by Kenneth Gatland and published in 1979, lists predictions for the decades of the 1980's and 1990's. Let's look at a few of them and see how Mr. Gatland fared.

"Satellites in Earth orbit beam educational programmes to many countries in the underdeveloped Third World."

Does "Baywatch" count as educational programming?

"Wind turbines - modern windmill designs - are developed which can supply electricity economically"

Unless you live on Martha's Vineyard

"Domestic computers run household equipment. Electronic chores include keeping accounts, ordering supplies, suggesting menus, cooking meals and keeping a diary for the people living in the house."

I believe those diaries are now called "blogs."

"Newspapers supplied to homes either via a computer printout or
in electronic form over the TV screen."

Got that one right, but who prints them out?

"First domestic robots used as household 'slaves' to do simple tasks."

I hear the Roombas are organizing for abolition.

"Good insulation and other energy saving features built into all new houses."

But I had to buy one from the 1970's!

Solar Panels in general use to heat water in homes. Solar-electric cells used ot generate electricity for some uses, such as recharging batteries.

Not quite yet, but we're getting there.

First deliveries of electronic mail. Hand-written letters are electroically copied, sent via a satellite-link to their destination, wher ethe incoming message is printed out.

Just the fax ma'am; email is a lot smoother than that!

Hat tip to Classical Gas Emissions

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