Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Browse by Decade
Amazonian
More Ads?

Ads

Search
Ads

Amazon Fun

Navigation

Entries in retro-future (7)

Friday
Jan292010

History of Hip: Yesterday's Tomorrows (Feb 2, 2010)

UPDATE: You can watch the video podcast of our presentation at the Minnesota History Lectures page on iTunes.

I'll be speaking about retro-futurism this coming Tuesday (February 2nd) at the Turf Club in St. Paul, MN. This Minnesota Historical Society event, The History of Hip: Yesterday's Tomorrows, starts at 7:30pm. I'll be sharing the stage with my friend, neighbor and retro-future co-conspirator Brian Horrigan. Brian wrote a book in 1984 titled Yesterday's Tomorrows to accompany the Smithsonian exhibit of the same name. We'll be taking a look at some of our favorite film clips and images from 20th century futurism.

The Turf Club is a bar, so unfortunately it's not an all-ages event. But if you're underage I'm sure you can find a good fake ID by Tuesday. Rumor has it that the first 10 people who arrive will receive a free hoverboard. But rumor also has it that I'm a liar. Swing by and drink up; it should be a good time.

 

Thursday
Dec242009

DIY Media of the Future (1981)

What we now call user-generated content was predicted in the 1981 book Tomorrow's Home by Neil Ardley. I dare say that this is the most accurate prediction we've looked at in 2009 (provided we ignore that robot arm, offering up delicious Christmas treats before it slaughters the entire family in a bloody rampage). Enjoy!

The caption:

Christmas in the future is an exciting occasion. Here the children have been given a home music and video system that links into the home computer. They are eagerly trying it out. The eldest boy is using the video camera to record pictures of the family, which are showing on the computer viewscreen. However, someone else is playing with the computer controls and changing the images for fun. At the same time, another child is working at the music synthesizer, creating some music to go with the crazy pictures.

Main text:

Have you ever wanted to conduct a huge orchestra, or direct a film? Very few people now get to do these thrilling jobs. However, the techniques of microelectronics are beginning to invade music and the visual arts, making possible all kinds of new and mazing ways of creating music and images. As computers develop, these techniques will begin to enter the home. You'll have the glorious sounds of vast orchestras and the excitement of the movies at your fingertips.

Your orchestra will not be a real one, but an electronic one with sounds created by a synthesizer. On command, the synthesizer's computer will play the music with any sounds you want. Singing is easy too. You can speak the words into the computer, and out will come choirs using your words or maybe even the voice of a famous singer of your choice.

You can make a film electronically too, by using video cameras and recorders. You can record family events, holidays, the world of nature, and even make your own video films with actors.

However, the home computer video system of the future will enable you to make these shows into spectacular entertainments. The computer will be able to take the images you record and assemble and treat them in all kinds of ways to produce a whole range of special effects of your very own. And you will also be able to use the computer to produce unusual moving designs and patterns, rather like making video cartoons or electronic paintings that move. Then you can put your video shows together with your own electronic music, and create the most stunning experiences -- perhaps even a totally new art form of the future!

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Tuesday
Nov102009

Crime Will No Longer Exist in 2007 (1907)

You know what's awesome about living in the future? Not having to worry about crime of any kind.

The March 17, 1907 Washington Post ran a piece from the Chicago Tribune titled "How Our Progeny Will Live One Hundred Years From Now." An excerpt, which imagines a world where crime is extremely rare, appears below.

I found the most interesting idea in the piece to be that those of a criminal inclination would no longer be allowed to procreate.

CRIME WILL NO LONGER EXIST

The repression of crime will largely be through preventive measures. With improved detective methods the chances of escape in any given case will be greatly diminished, the innocent will be rarely accused at all, and the punishments of the guilty will be of a reformatory character. In the meantime the study of mental science will have made great strides, and a great source of crime will be eliminated because men and women with the mental twist which leads to crime will be absolutely prevented from propagating their race.

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Wednesday
Nov042009

16-Hour Work Week by Year 2020 (1967)

The idea that advanced 21st century technology would lead to ridiculously short work weeks was incredibly popular in the 20th century. And why not? Improved efficiency meant we'd obviously be working less, right? Seems like common sense.

I don't need to tell you that things didn't quite work out as the futurists had hoped. You're probably working more hours than ever; that is, if you're lucky enough to have a job at all.

The article below ran in the November 26, 1967 Gastonia Gazette (Gastonia, NC). It assumes that people will be working significantly less and raises concerns that all this free time will lead to "boredom, idleness, immorality, and increased personal violence." The piece even proposes the possibility of a guaranteed wage.

Those who hunger for time off from work may take heart from the forecast of political scientist Sebastian de Grazia that the average work week, by the year 2000, will average 31 hours, and perhaps as few as 21. Twenty years later, on-the-job hours may have dwindled to 26, or even 16.

But what will people do with all that free time? The outlook may not be cheery.

As De Grazia sees it: "There is reason to fear, as some do, that free time, forced free time, will bring on the restless tick of boredom, idleness, immorality, and increased personal violence. If the cause is identified as automation and the preference for higher intelligence, nonautomated jobs may increase, but they will carry the stigma of stupidity. Men will prefer not to work rather than to accept them. Those who do accept will increasingly come to be a politically inferior class."

One possible solution: a separation of income from work; perhaps a guaranteed annual wage to provide "the wherewithal for a life of leisure for all those who think they have the temperament."

1967 Nov 26 Gastonia Gazette - Gastonia NC paleofuture

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Sunday
Oct112009

Computerized Kitchen of the Future (1977)

We seem to have been waiting for the smart cupboard/fridge for quite a while now. Though the continued spread of RFID chips makes such an idea more plausible today, the future kitchen isn't yet quite what we imagined.

A January 3, 1977 piece in the Winnipeg Free Press (Winnipeg, Manitoba) predicted the smart cupboard, kitchen computers that automatically select menus and kitchen televisions for monitoring Junior in the next room. The piece appears in its entirety below.

TORONTO (CP) - The housewife of the future will be able to keep an eye on her sleeping baby by "dialing in" the nursery to get an instant picture of a kitchen television screen.

This is but one prediction Canadians can expect to come true as advances in kitchen conveniences are researched and developed, says Gordon I. Forsell, vice-president of marketing and sales for Inglis Ltd., appliance manufacturer.

"We visualize a day when a central panel or brain will allow the housewife to handle most tasks through a computerized source," said Mr. Forsell.

A kitchen computer will select menus and deliver frozen items directly from freezer to micro-wave oven. A gourmet meal may be thawed, cooked and ready-to-serve in minutres.

The computer's brain will store information such as a tally of supplies that are running short in the kitchen cupboard.

Mr. Forsell predicted that the same television screen the housewife watchers her baby on will deliver the day's news or a special college course at the push of a button.

Located centrally in the kitchen of tomorrow is the cooking area, he said. Smooth, unbroken cooking surfaces that wife clean with a cloth will be hidden beneath the kitchen counter ready to pull out and use when required.

He said a giant crisper located directly beside the sink area will keep greens fresh and well within reach. Its moisture will be automatically controlled.

Mr. Forsell said a special sink will be equipped with a food dispenser so that peels and rinds will disappear. "And paper, cans and other solid waste products will go into a trash compactor," he said.

"Also built into the kitchen of tomorrow is a year-round herb garden supported by ultra-violet light."

He said that no one will have to wash a dish, plate or pot.

"New dishwashers will add their own detergents, adjust heat automatically and handle every utensil efficiently," he said. "The dishwasher will be hidden below the counter and programmed to rise to counter top at the push of a button."

"Mr. Forsell said the kitchen of the future also will have a complete laundry centre. Programmed washers will automatically sort fabrics and colors including all the touch double-knits and delicate laces.

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Sunday
Oct112009

Beyond Tomorrow: The Next 50 Years in Space (1965)

Who says advertising doesn't work? And 40 years later, no less.

I was flipping through the November, 1966 issue of Space World magazine when I stumbled upon this ad for the 1965 book Beyond Tomorrow: The Next 50 Years in Space by Dandridge M. Cole, with art by Roy G. Scarfo. At 168 pages, with 53 full color plates, 47 illustrations, 11 charts and an advertised list price of $7.50, I ordered it immediately.

The $7.50 price was no longer an option (I blame the economy), but it really is an amazing book of retro-futuristic fun. Stay tuned as we take a look at this book in the coming weeks.

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Monday
Aug132007

The Paleo-Future Project


Remember those people you used to talk to before the Internet was invented? I think there was a name for them . . . oh yeah, family and friends! Well, here's an excuse to talk with them for the good of the Internets.

The Paleo-Future Project seeks to document our collective memory of the future. Interview your friends/family/yourself/strangers with any recording device. Post your creation to a video-sharing site like YouTube, an audio/document site like Box or a photo site like Flickr.

Let us know where to find it by sending me an e-mail [matt@paleofuture.com] or posting a comment to this post. After I receive a few I'll start linking to them here on the Paleo-Future blog.

To get you started, here are some topics you could focus on. Enjoy.

The Year 2000
What did you think the year 2000 would look like?
What most informed your idea of what 2000 would look like? Movies? Comic books? Radio? TV?

The Jetsons
What did the Jetsons mean to you? Did you see the 1960s version or the 1980s version?

Flying Cars
With what degree of certainty did you believe you would one day use a flying car?

Jetpacks
Did you ever try building your own?

Futuristic Food
Tang, meal-in-a-pill, astronaut food? What symbolized the future of food to you?
Did you grow up on a farm? What dreams/concerns did you have about the future of agriculture?