Isaac Asimov, The legendary Science fiction writer, who came up with the I, Robot stories, wrote an article in 1964 predicting what the world would be like in 50 years' time...
Here are 10 of his ideas from 'A Visit to the World's Fair'. He really wasn't far off with most of his predictions for 2014...
1. By 2014, electroluminescent panels will be in common use.
Flatscreens! At home, at work and even in the palm of our hands we have them. Asimov also wrote: 'As for television, wall screens will have replaced the ordinary set' and 'three-dimensional viewing will also be possible'. This has also happened, although we don't have the technology of the Hunger Games quite yet!
2. Gadgetry will continue to relieve mankind of tedious jobs.
Now everyday tasks are even quicker and easier to complete thanks to technology. In theory we should have more leisure time than ever...
3. Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone.
4. The screen can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books.
Not exactly as advanced as in Minority Report but this technology certainly exists today! I wonder if Asimov saw e-mail coming, as well as e-readers and digital photography...?
5. Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence.
An excellent prediction! While robots that resemble the ones from Asimov's 'I, Robot' are still a distant dream, we do have impressive gadgets with robotic elements. Remember the Roomba vacuum cleaner robot in Breaking Bad, season 4?
6. Kitchen units will be devised that will prepare ‘automeals,’ heating water and converting it to coffee; toasting bread; frying, poaching or scrambling eggs, grilling bacon, and so on.
This is true to a certain extent. Separate devices can be used to toast bread and make coffee, but we have yet to see an entire unit that can do it all.
7. Ceilings and walls will glow softly, and in a variety of colors that will change at the touch of a push button.
This technology is of course available, but is hardly in common use and surely would bump up the electricity bills. Asimov also predicted that windows would have been phased out, which has certainly not happened...yet!
8. By 2014, only unmanned ships will have landed on Mars, though a manned expedition will be in the works.
9. “The world population will be 6,500,000,000.
Somewhat more... 7,100,000,000 is a more accurate estimate. Asimov also predicted that over-population would lead to the collapse of society, not yet but in the next few hundred years!
10. The world of A.D. 2014 will have few routine jobs that cannot be done better by some machine than by any human being. Mankind will therefore have become largely a race of machine tenders.
Interesting. It's true to say that machines have replaced humans in certain routine jobs but certainly not all. Fear of robots taking over the workforce is very much alive today as it was back in the 60's.