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Sunday
Jun102007

In a Cashless Future, Robots Will Cook (1996)

The January 24, 1996 New York Times ran an article titled, "In A Cashless Future, Robots Will Cook." An excerpt appears below. You can read the entire article here.

It's a typical day in the year 2006. After a hectic afternoon of negotiating contracts with business partners in Hong Kong, London, Moscow and the Bronx, you step from your office and into your kitchen. What's for lunch? You press a hand on your personal diagnostic machine, and quicker then you can say Michael Jackson does Sinatra, the unit checks your blood pressure, cholesterol and weight-fat ratio and reads out your nutritional requirements. Up pops suggested menus.

Kitchen robots quietly go to work moving ingredients from a "smart" refrigerator that is built into a microwave oven. A minute later, out rolls a garden salad with dill dressing and an open-face pork-roast sandwich on wheat -- no crust. After lunch, you return to your home office to finish some business in South Africa. If you're done early, maybe you can squeeze in a movie: "Gone With the Wind" you reconfigured with Bruce Willis as Rhett Butler.

For much of human history, talk of the future was relegated to the musings of self-described prophets, astrologers, dreamers and fools. But as the world lurches toward the 21st century, futurism is being taken more seriously by more people. Experts of all stripes are studying the patterns of the past and present, trying to project tomorrow. Forecasts of what might be spill out of corporate boardrooms, government offices, magazine stands, talk shows and bookstores like a bubbly brew.

See also:
1999 A.D. (1967)
Call a Serviceman (Chicago Tribune, 1959)
Something must be wrong with its radar eye! (Chicago Tribune, 1959)
The Electronic Brain Made Beef Stew (1959)
Monsanto House of the Future (1957-1967)

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Reader Comments (5)

"Gone With the Wind" you reconfigured with Bruce Willis as Rhett Butler.

This is what I'm most looking forward to. I'd love to see "Casablanca" with Ronald Reagan instead of Humphrey Bogart (which is how it was originally cast). But only because it's so great just as it is, and would suck so badly with Reagan in it.

June 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The author of the novel _Gone With the Wind_ thought that Groucho Marx should play Rhett Butler. That'd be something to see. No software could simulate it.

June 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterScott Haley

This reads almost like it was written in 1956, not 1996--except for the virtual-actors bit, which is very 1990s futurism.

I guess the home office is the accurate part; I'm telecommuting tomorrow.

June 13, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew

To be fair, things are becoming increasingly cashless. But the Times seriously overestimated the degree to which people want to eat healthy.

By the way, Reagan was never considered for Casablanca. Urban legend.

August 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChris Shore

I never use cash anymore, only my bank card. Didn't they exist in 1996?

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBob

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