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  1. #1
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    05.16.18 @ 09:10 AM
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    Default Isaac Asimov Predicts The Future Of 2014…From 1964

    Isaac Asimov Predicts The Future Of 2014…From 1964
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    Science fiction has always been about imagining the future: technologically, philosophically, or even satirically. It doesn’t always get the future right, mind you — we may technically have jetpacks and flying cars, but they’re not nearly as sleek and omnipresent as we’d been hoping for. One of the genre’s premiere futurists was Isaac Asimov, who was a science fiction titan but who also wrote fantasy, mysteries, and volumes of nonfiction encompassing subjects such as history, science, Shakespeare, and even the Bible. But in 1964, Asimov sat down to imagine a very specific future: that distant and mysterious year of “2014 A.D.”

    In an article penned for the New York Times on August 16, 2014, Asimov uses the hopeful visions of the 1964 World’s Fair to imagine what our own impending future, a few short months away, might look like, and what wonders the World’s Fair of 2014 might hold. Asimov’s predictions range from the simple to the fantastic, but it’s intriguing to see what he got right, and what he got wrong. Below we’ll excerpt some of those predictions, and see how well the late Asimov’s foresight predicted the world we all live in.

    Early on he predicts that underground dwellings will be all the rage, “with easily controlled temperature, free from the vicissitudes of weather, with air cleaned and light controlled.” The surface, Asimov claims, will be largely used for agriculture and parklands. While there’s no reason we couldn’t all chilling in snazzy underground hobbit holes, subterranean housing hasn’t caught on nearly as much as Asimov thought. Instead, we continue spreading up and out, but rarely down.

    * * *
    His predictions of cars controlled by “robot brains,” without the need for human guidance, is a yes-and-no affair. It’s certainly not a prevalent technology, but Google’s self-driving car is pretty much exactly as Asimov described it. Give us another couple of decades, maybe.

    He also hits the nail on the head when describing, basically, Skype. “Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone. 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.” Pretty much sounds like a laptop equipped with a webcam, which most of them are these days.

    He also nails sci-fi’s beloved subject of the exploration and colonization of Mars. “…by 2014, only unmanned ships will have landed on Mars, though a manned expedition will be in the works…” There are several of them in the works, actually, both by governmental space agencies and by the private sector.

    On a darker note, Asimov correctly predicts that the world’s ever-increasing population will inevitably begin to put a strain on resources. The writer speculates that “in 2014, there is every likelihood that the world population will be 6,500,000,000 and the population of the United States will be 350,000,000.” As I type this on Wednesday, August 28, 2013, the global population is actually above seven billion. His guess for the U.S. population, however, is a bit too high. Current U.S. population according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s U.S. and World Population Clock is, as I type this, 316,555,600.

    NY Times article from 1964

  2. #2
    Atomic Punk edwardv's Avatar
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    05.23.18 @ 11:04 AM
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    I think he wrote my Algebra book in JR High?
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