Past Predictions Of Today: When America Used To Dream

08.10.11 8 years ago

Earlier this week Neil deGrasse Tyson was on Bill Maher saying how the underfunding of NASA was a reflection of an America that has forgotten how to dream,  “When someone says we don’t have enough money for this space probe, it’s not that you don’t have enough money. It’s that the distribution of the money that you’re spending is warped in some way that you are removing the only thing that gives people something to dream about tomorrow.”

Tyson goes on to talk about how common predicting the world of tomorrow was in the media of the 1950s and 60s. I’ve spent the day finding videos and articles of folks from the past predicting the future, and while there are a ton of predictions about jet packs and underwater cities, there are many, many accurate predictions. Particularly when it comes to communications. Check out some of the most startling, spot on guesses at what the world we live in would be like.

Image via the awesome retrofuture excavators at Paleofuture.

In 1964 Arthur C. Clarke, Author of “2001: A Space Odyssey”, Predicts the Communications Revolution Will Lead to Remote Surgery

In 2001 the first remote surgery was performed by Dr. Jacques Marescaux in New York on a woman Strasbourg, France in need of a gall bladder operation.

1967 Film “1999 A.D.” Predicts Online Shopping and Email

There are some critical leaps in logic that still need to be made in this video. They didn’t understand that we wouldn’t need a dedicated camera to browse items and that handwriting would become close to obsolete, but the kernel of the idea is there.

In 1962 “Century 21 Calling …” Predicts Long Distance Calling, Pagers and Electronic Brains

This video, set at the Seattle World’s Fair, pretty accurately maps out all the phone functions that are now standard. It’s amazing that people were once blown away by speed dialing, call waiting and touch tone dialing.

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