We here at Fringe Digital Marketing Agency, like to remove our web design and SEO hats every once in a while to sit down and discuss things we find interesting in the tech world.
It was in doing this that we came across the famous sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov (the creator of stories that led to movies such as I-Robot and Bicentennial Man), and we are now convinced that this man actually travelled through time.
During the time of the World’s Fair in 1964, Isaac Asimov sat down to write an article for the New York Times. Asimov used this opportunity to lay out some bold predictions for the world as he envisioned it in 2014 which he aptly titled “Visit to the World’s Fair 2014.”
Even though there are no plans in progress for an actual World’s Fair in 2014 as far as I know, many of Asimov’s predictions are spot on with our current tech explosion.
Sure, he was a little off on a few facts (like predicting Earth’s population to be 6,500,000,000 when it is currently around 7,200,000,000) but you try to predict fifty years into the future, and see how accurate you are.
Let’s take a look at some of his most interesting predictions, and how Google, Apple, and other tech-giants have worked to make these visions reality…
Anyone who fights through forty-hour work weeks in windowless offices can relate to this prediction. Humankind is rapidly becoming an indoor-only species, and the thought of being outdoors has now become more of a vacation idea than a way of life.
Watch any episode of MTV’s Cribs (is that show still on or did I just make myself look old?) and you will see massive expanses of real estate that provide absolutely no need to head out into nature.
With giant flat screens, mammoth pools, indoor shrubbery, and sound machines that simulate the gentle hum of nature, humans now can get all the benefits of being in nature without all that pesky exercise and fresh air bogging them down.
Prediction #2 – “electroluminescent panels will be in common use. Ceilings and walls will glow softly, and in a variety of colors that will change at the touch of a push button.”
Just the other day I picked up another set of color changing led string lights to decorate my basement trim.
Though these wall and ceiling panels have not necessarily become commonplace (outside of nightclubs perhaps), they are certainly present in our culture, and any person that wanted to could easily outfit their home or office with an array of wall and ceiling panels that morph from color to color with the turn of a dial or push of a button.
Just type LED wall panel into Google, and you will be inundated with buying options.
Prediction #3 – “ 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.”
Keurig, George Foreman, Microwaves, Toasters etc. etc. etc. A simple query for “Kitchen Appliances” will bring up a plethora of random tools and gadgets all used in the name of food preparation.
We are definitely not far off from the freeze dried insta-pizzas presented in “Back to the Future II,” and I personally can’t wait for that to become reality.
Prediction #4 – “Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence.”
Asimov hit the nail on the head with this prediction. The talk of robots has been commonplace for years now, but the world has yet to see a robot of the caliber that have been presented in science fiction.
With the boom in technology and our understanding of electronics, one would think that we would have fully functioning, AI capable, kinetic robots as friends by now.
All the pieces seem to be there, but I have yet to see a robot I’d want to hang out with.
Prediction #5 – “the 2014 World’s Fair will be showing 3-D movies of its “Robot of the Future,” (There will be a three-hour wait in line to see the film, for some things never change.)”
I bet when Asimov wrote this, he wasn’t imagining a film based off one of his stories being shown in 3-D with Will Smith in the lead role, but since we’re pretty sure he was a time traveler, maybe he did.
Regardless, 3-D films have now become a mainstay in popular culture, and their eye-straining graphics don’t seem to be leaving us anytime soon. They have even entered into homes now where you can watch I-Robot in all its three-dimensional greatness without ever getting out of bed.
Prediction #6 – “The appliances of 2014 will have no electric cords, of course, for they will be powered by long-lived batteries”
Right again; sort of. Most people still have many gadgets with power cords hanging out the back, but there has definitely been an explosion of wireless tech in recent years.
From wireless videogame controllers, to laptops to tablets, cellphones, Google Glass, ipods blah, blah, blah. The list could go on for days.
Prediction #7 – “Large solar-power stations will also be in operation in a number of desert and semi-desert areas — Arizona, the Negev, Kazakhstan. In the more crowded, but cloudy and smoggy areas, solar power will be less practical.
Solar farms have been popping up all over the globe, and one of the leading buyers of these farms is no other than Google themselves who just recently purchased this latest solar farm in the Mojave Desert for a whopping $168 Million.
Green energy is certainly the catch phrase of 2013 and that will not be changing any time soon.
Prediction #8 – “Much effort will be put into the designing of vehicles with “Robot-brains” vehicles that can be set for particular destinations and that will then proceed there without interference by the slow reflexes of a human driver.”
Along with buying gigantic solar farms, the folks at Google have also been working on this Asimovian prediction (I’m starting to think Google gets all their ideas from sci-fi writers and movies).
Google has spent the better part of a decade working on their “Driverless Car” and they are about ready to roll it out.
2014 will most likely be the year that we see this and other driverless cars like it become reality.
That’s great and all, but I am going to keep my hands on the wheel for the next few years.
Prediction #9 – “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. Synchronous satellites, hovering in space will make it possible for you to direct-dial any spot on earth, including the weather stations in Antarctica”
Facetime, Skype, Google Hangouts, Kindles etc. These sight-sound interactions have become a major form of communication in 2013, and they will just expand and become more efficient in 2014.
No longer will we be able to hide our unkempt mugs from the fiber-optic roadway of friendly discussion. In 2014 you better be on top of your game. Keep your teeth white and eyebrows and nosehairs trimmed; you can’t risk being caught looking like the guy above.
Prediction #10 – “As for television, wall screens will have replaced the ordinary set; but transparent cubes will be making their appearance in which three-dimensional viewing will be possible. In fact, one popular exhibit at the 2014 World’s Fair will be such a 3-D TV, built life-size, in which ballet performances will be seen. The cube will slowly revolve for viewing from all angles.”
Flat screens have definitely replaced the normal box television sets and will continue to do so in 2014.
As I already mentioned, many of these flatscreens now come 3-D equipped and that will continue on into 2014 as well, but the most amazing part of this prediction for me is when Asimov discusses the life-size TV that is 3-D and can be viewed from all angles.
The first thing that popped into my mind when I read this was “Tupac.” As you may or may not know, at the most recent Coachella music festival, Snoop Dogg (Or is it Snoop Lion now?) performed a song in his set with the late, great Tupac Shakur.
This was made possible by a highly-advanced hologram system set up at the show which made Tupac seem like he was really there (pictured above).
I think this is amazing, and I hope to see more uses of this technology in 2014.
Bonus Prediction – “Indeed, the increasing use of mechanical devices to replace failing hearts and kidneys, and repair stiffening arteries and breaking nerves will have cut the death rate still further and have lifted the life expectancy”
Certainly with stem-cell research, cloning, and mechanical organs, this prediction from Asimov has already become reality and will continue into 2014.
I did find it relevant though, that Google has recently made public their latest project, project “Calico.” The purpose of this project is to research and find a way to expand the human life-span and eventually get rid of death all together.
There hasn’t been a lot of information released yet on how they plan to do this, but I do find it interesting that Google no longer just wants to dominate tech-life; it seems they now want to dominate life as a whole. Scary…
Anyway, Time did a great article on Project Calico which you can read HERE.
Though Isaac Asimov did not get every prediction perfect, I still have to commend him on his astounding accuracy. Asimov did spend some of the article writing about cars that use “Jets of compressed air to lift land vehicles off the highways” like Doc Brown’s Delorean, and though that has not become a reality yet, it definitely should be. We still have some time until 2014…maybe it will happen…Here’s hoping.
Do you have any predictions of your own for the next 50 years? If so, leave them in the comments below so we can discuss…