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Entries in animals (4)

Wednesday
Aug172011

Super-Intelligent Ape Chauffeurs by the Year 2020

Planet of the Apes (1968) http://movieposterdb.com

Before it became a magazine, The Futurist was launched as a newsletter in 1967. The second issue was released in April of that year and is filled with some amazing predictions of yestermorrow. The "cover story," if you will, is by Glenn T. Seaborg (the dude who discovered plutonium in 1941) and is titled "Women and the Year 2000."

There's a lot to dissect in this piece, and I'm sure we'll look at it in its entirety soon, but I just wanted to share a small section titled "Intelligent Apes Become Chauffeurs." Yeah, you read that right. The RAND Corporation came out with a report that imagined we'd be breeding super-intelligent animals to perform manual labor by the year 2020. It certainly brings to mind this article from 1926 that thought future animals would have to continually justify their existence if they didn't want to become extinct.

Oh yeah, and those damn dirty apes.*

Intelligent Apes Become Chauffeurs

For housewives of the 21st century who prefer animate rather than mechanical domestic servants, there may be a choice other than the robot. About two years ago, the RAND Corporation came out with a Report on a Long Range Forescasting Study (by T. Gordon and Olaf Helmer) which forecasts future developments in a number of important areas. The RAND panel mentioned that by the year 2020 it may be possible to breed intelligent species of animals, such as apes, that will be capable of performing manual labor. During the 21st century, those houses that don't have a robot in the broom closet could have a live-in ape to do the cleaning and gardening chores. Also, the use of well-trained apes as family chauffeurs might decrease the number of automobile accidents.

 

*Note that Planet of the Apes didn't come out until 1968, a year after this prediction was published in The Futurist.

 

Wednesday
Apr132011

Pet Horse of the Future (1905)

The dawn of the Automobile Age made a lot of people wonder what would come of the horse. In the year 1900 author John Elfreth Watkins even predicted the complete eradication of all animals, aside from the few that we might keep in zoos. Some thought a new era of machines would quickly make animal labor inferior and therefore animals would have to justify their existence, continuously proving their worth so that humans wouldn't just wipe them out as our own population swelled.

This cartoon by Albert Levering appeared in a 1905 issue of Life magazine and imagines the lap-dog sized horse of a thousand years hence. It seems the artist may have been on to something, as one way animals seem to prove their worth is through being overwhelmingly adorable. Squee, etc.

This cartoon can also be found in the book Predictions.


Saturday
Jan302010

What of the Horse a Hundred Years Hence? (1890)

People of the year 2000, amazed at the sight of a horse. (French postcard circa 1910)

At the turn of the 20th century we saw a lot of speculation that, thanks to the automobile, the horse could very well be extinct by the year 2000. The excerpt below comes from the October 19, 1890 Chillicothe Constitution (Chillicothe, MO).

As one watches an electric motor, does he wonder whether a hundred years hence a horse will not be as rare as a camel or an elephant is to-day?

 Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Thursday
Jun192008

Animals Must 'Pay Their Way' (1926)


It is astonishing how many predictions of the early 20th century assumed animals (that is, all animals) would eventually be extinct simply because they were not needed by humans. A piece by John Elfreth Watkins, Jr. in the December, 1900 Ladies Home Journal predicted that there would be, "no wild animals except in menageries."

The article above, from the November 11, 1926 Galveston Daily News (Galveston, TX), operated under similar assumptions. Titled, "To Find Some Use For Every Wild Animal," the piece assumed that in the future animals would have to justify their existence by proving their usefulness to humankind. That's a far cry from today when we're trying to save polar bears, which everyone knows are lazy and deceitful. I mean really, what has a polar bear done for you lately?

[Scientists] predict that the day will come when the wild creatures of the earth will have to pay their way or become as extinct as many forms of animal life have in the dim distances of the past.

 

Unless an animal can contribute something definite to human life - food to be eaten, clothes to be worn, labor to lighten the burden of man - then his doom is sealed and the last of his tribe will one day pass out of the picture.


See also:
What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years (Ladies Home Journal, 1900)
Animals of 2076 (1977)
Animal Food Abandoned (The Anaconda Standard, 1914)
French Prints Show Year 2000 (circa 1910)