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Entries in year 2000 (81)

Sunday
Mar202011

Push Button Farm of the Year 2000 (1958)

This 1958 cartoon appeared in a magazine for college students studying agriculture at Kansas State. It depicts the farmer of the year 2000 tending ever so leisurely to his hyper-futuristic push-button farm. While it's clearly tongue-in-cheek, none of the technologies depicted are that far off from very sincere predictions of that time. Weather control, radioactive crops and lounge chair farming were all promises made to farmers of that distant year 2000.

Push button agriculture in the year 2,000 A.D. This is how the Kansas State College Ag Student, magazine for K-State students in agriculture, illustrated an article on the subject in the December issue, Gary Yeakley, writing half in fun and half seriously, foresees underground feed lots, copto-spraying use of selective hormones, and remote controlled jets and atomic-powered tractors.

 

From the January 1, 1958 Hutchinson News (Hutchinson, KS).

1958 Jan 1 Hutchinson News - Hutchinson KS article paleofuture

Tuesday
Feb012011

Traffic Problems Will Disappear by Year 2000 (1955)

From the 1958 Disneyland TV episode Magic Highway, USA

The September 22, 1955 Lewiston Daily Sun (Lewiston, ME) ran a wonderful piece titled, "Hope For the Motorist: Traffic Problems Will Disappear by Year 2000." Such unbridled optimism for the yet to be developed Interstate Highway System is downright cute. Well, cute in that condescending "bless your heart" kind of way. But cute, nonetheless.

Remember that in 1955 the Interstate Highway System was still just a twinkle in President Eisenhower's eye. The Federal Aid Highway Act, which allocated $25 billion ($195 billion in today's dollars) for the development of the Interstate Highway System, wasn't signed into law until 1956.

As a huge Disney nerd I can't help but think about short films and TV episodes from the late 50s which were clearly produced to sell the idea of the Interstate Highway System to the American public. The film The Story of Anyburg USA from 1957 and the Disneyland TV episode Magic Highway, USA from 1958 are two such glorious examples. 

Predictions from the Lewiston Daily Sun piece appear below. 

  • Automobile traffic will increase fantastically, but because of fine expressways, there will be little congestion.
  • On these expressways cities will be by-passed or the road will be so built that it will hardly be necessary to slow down.
  • There will be no traffic lights on these major roads.
  • Large lakes will be bridged. Mountain ranges will be tunneled.
  • Opposing traffic will be separated. One-way streets and highways will be the rule.
  • Sleet? Snow? It will melt as it hits the highway.
  • Headlights? Won't need them on major roads. They will be illuminated bright as day.
  • Disabled cars -- a major source of tieups today -- will be whisked away by helicopter.
  • Cities will use three-level highways. Underground parking will be common. New office buildings will have parking facilities on each floor.

 

On a side note, I had a good chuckle reading about the helicopter solution to disabled cars, since comedian Eugene Mirman recently tweeted about Gallagher and his absolutely insane solution for road congestion.

Previously on Paleofuture: 

 

Sunday
Jan232011

Telephones of Tomorrow (1962)

Brian Horrigan, co-author of the retrofuturism bible Yesterday's Tomorrows, pointed me to this amazing advertisement from Bell Telephone System which appeared in the November, 1962 issue of Boys' Life.

The comic follows "Chip Martin, college reporter" as he learns about the future of the telephone. Shut-in kids of the year 2000 are learning from home via videophone, men have a telephone on their wristwatch, and the housewife need only press a button on her carphone to start dinner at home.

Chip has returned to Bell Telephone Laboratories to learn more about future communications. A lab scientist says...

Today, Chip, we'll look at telephone advances of the more distant future...

Here's an exciting development... the picturephone... a television telephone that will let you see as well as talk to the person you're calling...

And here's how a shut-in youngster in the year 2000 may be instructed at home from a central education center, with the help of a picturephone. 

The housewife of the future, chip, will expect a telephone in her car as standard equipment, from this phone she could automatically start dinner cooking by pressing a button.

And this is "SIBYL," Chip... our computer-like machine that helps us predict the future of communications. Through "SIBYL" we can simulate the action of new devices and services without spending the time and money to build them.

In the more distant future everyone may have a telephone with him wherever he goes.

And even wear it on his wrist.

Yes, and whatever the future holds, we'll constantly try to anticipate changing wants and needs -- so we can be ready to serve the customer of the future with better communications. 

And, better communications will bring people closer together.

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Sunday
May162010

The Vanity of Human Wishes (1970)

Russell Kirk [wikipedia.org]The April 3, 1970 Ada Evening News published a piece by conservative writer Russell Kirk in which he becomes perturbed that the study of the future -- which was beginning to be accepted in mainstream academic circles of that time -- may be driven by humanism rather than some exploration of a divine plan. You can read the entire piece here, but it's the last sentence of Kirk's piece that I find most interesting:

If the people of the year 2000 ever bother to read our predictions for their time, probably they will acquire a lesson in the vanity of human wishes.

 1970 April 3 Ada Evening News - Ada OK Paleofuture

Previously on Paleo-Future: 

 

Saturday
Feb132010

Enjoy Your Privacy; It'll Be Gone In A Few Years (1967)

The August 17, 1967 Salina Journal (Salina, KS) ran a headline that caught my eye: "Enjoy Your Privacy; It'll Be Gone In a Few Years."

Someone from the year 2010 might look at this headline and expect to read an article with rather prescient predictions of how a vast network of computers might allow for the sharing of personal data, causing "privacy" to virtually disappear. Remember that 1967 was the same year Philco-Ford depicted some pretty spot-on predictions about the future of personal computing in a film about the year 1999...

But after reading the article it's not entirely clear to me from where they expect this invasion of privacy to be coming. Is this a fear of camera surveillance brought about by technological progress? And if so, by whom? The government? Your neighbors?

The article is reprinted from the New York Times and quotes Harry Kalven, Jr., a professor of law at the University of Chicago:

[...] by the year 2000, "man's technical inventiveness may, in terms of privacy, have turned the whole community into the equivalent of an army barracks. It may be a final ironic commentary of how bad things have become by 2000 when someone will make a fortune merely by providing, on a monthly, weekly, daily, or even hourly basis a room of one's own."

You can read the entire article -- which also includes predictions about pocket telephones, home computers and artificial moons -- at Scribd.

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Sunday
Feb072010

Big Change in Houses by Year 2000 (1972)

The May 4, 1972 Oshkosh Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, WI) predicted that by the year 2000 the "long-haired culture" would dramatically influence mainstream Americans through the normalization of communal living. Some of the article's predictions are bullet-pointed below. You can read the article in its entirety here.

  • Commune nurseries will be built where each of the adults, male and female, will work with all of the commune children one day a week.
  • The kitchen will be large to accommodate large numbers in meal preparation and cleanup. The dining room, furnished with picnic-type tables and benches, will have few decorations.
  • Ecology and "current youth values" which de-emphasize material goods will mean homes are sparsely furnished.
  • Showers will replace bathtubs to better conserve water.
  • Computer-programmed delivery of goods will decrease dependence on the family car.
  • The "self-sufficient home" will have its own power source, with all waste being recycled into usable food and household objects.

 

1972 May 4 Oshkosh Daily Northwestern - Oshkosh WI paleofuture

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Sunday
Nov292009

Pets of the Year 2000 As Living Robots (1974)

Most people of the 20th century imagined humanoid robots as the domestic servants of the future. But one curious article from the March 1, 1974 Record-Eagle (Traverse City, MI) described the year 2000 as a world of cyborg Fidos awaiting your next command; be it closing the window, or bombing an insurgent hideout. 

LONDON (UPI) -- The programming of family pets to perform various tasks and various deeds, good or evil as required, may be fairly common practice by the year 2000, according to an American psychologist.

Dr. Boris Levinson of Touro College in New York, a specialist on relationships between people and animals, said that by the end of the century pets controlled by brain electrodes may become commonplace. Recent experiments make this a strong probability, he said.

"it does not lie in the realm of science fiction," Dr. Levinson told a symposium organized by the British Small Animals' Veterinary Association. "In a sense the electrodes will make the animals become living robots. They will be able to open doors, close windows, adjust beds and even call for help."

He said pets could even be used for warfare and for espionage and if the knowledge of genetic engineering involved fell into the hands of insurgent groups they could be employed in bombings and in plane hijackings. Criminals might use them in the commission of theft, robbery and even murder.

But he said most pets would play a highly beneficial role in society -- "a very important safety valve in a sick society" -- as specially trained companions to invalids, old people, childless couples and even astronauts.

Dr. Levinson's remarks brought quick reactions in this nation of animal lovers. A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and other animal lovers described "exploitation" of pets as reprehensible. 

Dr. Levinson pointed out that dogs had been used as living bombs in the Russo-German fighting in World War II an he was stating the possibilities.

"We can already implant minute electrodes into animals' brains to make them placid, angry or to stop them attacking," he said. "It is only a matter of time before electrodes can be implanted into every part of the brain to make them do whatever we wish."

 

Previously on Paleo-Future: