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Entries in youtube (5)

Tuesday
Apr262011

Government of the Future (1981)

Children of the 1980s were presented with two possible futures for government in the book World of Tomorrow: School, Work and Play. The first scenario is a nightmarish dystopia where governments track their citizens' every move and computers are curtailing freedoms across the globe. The second possible future is a utopia nearly achieving some form of direct democracy, brought on by the home computer and videophones, which enable citizens to become highly engaged in the political process.

It would appear that those of us living in "the future" wound up with a bit of both. Governments all over the world are certainly using technology to spy on their citizens -- though I would wager that Visa, Apple and Google know more about me than the U.S. government. But the evolution of tools like Twitter and YouTube has also provided your average citizen with easier ways to politically organize and educate.

Whatever your feelings on technology's role in government, I think we can all agree on one political truism... I'm right and those other guys are idiots.

Some people fear that computers will rule our lives in the future. They believe that information on everyone will be stored in computers, and that government officials will be able to find out anything about anyone at any time. It is possible that this will happen, and that some governments will use computers to limit people's freedom. However, it is just as possible that computers will make governments more open in the future, and allow people more say in the ways they are governed.

In a future where every home has a videophone computer system, everyone could take part in government. People could talk and air their views to others on special communication channels linking every home. These people would most likely be representatives of some kind -- of a political party, a union, an industry and so on.  But when the time comes to make a decision on any issue, everyone would be able to vote by instructing their computer. A central computer would instantly announce the result.

 This kind of government by the people is a possibility that the computer will bring. It could take place on any scale -- from village councils up to world government. In fact, it is more likely to happen in small communitites, as it would be difficult to reach effective national and international decisions, if millions of people always had to be asked to approve everything. Nevertheless, the computer will enable really important decisions to be put before the people and not decided by groups or politicians.

The computer could also affect the ways in which politicians will work. They could discuss the issues that affect the people they represent over public communication networks that would replace governemtn assemblies. In this way representatives could live among their electors and get to know them and their views much better.

 

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
Apr032007

Apple's Knowledge Navigator (1987)

In 1987 Apple Computer produced a concept video for a hypothetical product called the Knowledge Navigator.

Having a normal conversation with your computer as though you were conversing with a friend seems to be the most paleo-futuristic aspect of this video. The inefficiency of such a system certainly raises questions about the user interfaces of tomorrow.

(Inefficiency aside, there's no doubt that I'd make my virtual butler wear a bowtie too.)

See also:
The Road Ahead: Future Homes (1995)
Picturephone as the perpetual technology of the future
AT&T "You Will" (1993)
Face-to-Face Telephones on the Way (New York Times, 1968)

Monday
Mar052007

To The Fair! (1965)

With the same type of optimism presented in 1939's All's Fair at the Fair this 1965 film of the World's Fair in New York gives the impression that people can come together and bask in the beauty of our ever-improving world. The sincerity of the narrator is incredible, "A suspended theater with a film on the joy of living!"

The second half of the film provides a great look at the General Motors Futurama II exhibit. This, along with the cheeky narrative told through the eyes of lost boy scouts and hormonal teenagers is pure paleo-future fun.

(The YouTube video above has both parts compiled into one film but if you'd like the source video you can find them at the Internet Archive in two parts here and here.)

Wednesday
Feb212007

Jet Pack Video (1966)

A friend of mine contends that jet packs were the Segways of the 20th century. They promised to change the way that people traveled but were really just a novelty. I must confess that I find Segways fun, (no matter how nerdy I might look), and would love to try a jet pack if given the chance.

On second thought, I might let Buck Rogers have all the fun for now.