Isaac Asimov acurately predicts in 1964 What the World Will Look Like in 2014

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When New York City hosted The World’s Fair in 1964, Isaac Asimov, the prolific sci-fi author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, took the opportunity to wonder what the world would look like 50 years hence — assuming the world survived the nuclear threats of the Cold War. Writing in The New York Times, Asimov imagined a world that you might partly recognize today, a world where:

“Gadgetry will continue to relieve mankind of tedious jobs. Kitchen units will be devised that will prepare ‘automeals,’ heating water and converting it to coffee; toasting bread; frying, poaching or scrambling eggs, grilling bacon, and so on. Breakfasts will be ‘ordered’ the night before to be ready by a specified hour the next morning.”
“Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone. The screen can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books. Synchronous satellites, hovering in space will make it possible for you to direct-dial any spot on earth, including the weather stations in Antarctica.”
“[M]en will continue to withdraw from nature in order to create an environment that will suit them better. By 2014, electroluminescent panels will be in common use. Ceilings and walls will glow softly, and in a variety of colors that will change at the touch of a push button.”
“Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence.”
“The appliances of 2014 will have no electric cords, of course, for they will be powered by long- lived batteries running on radioisotopes.”
“[H]ighways … in the more advanced sections of the world will have passed their peak in 2014; there will be increasing emphasis on transportation that makes the least possible contact with the surface. There will be aircraft, of course, but even ground travel will increasingly take to the air a foot or two off the ground.”
“[V]ehicles with ‘Robot-brains’ … can be set for particular destinations … that will then proceed there without interference by the slow reflexes of a human driver.”
“[W]all screens will have replaced the ordinary set; but transparent cubes will be making their appearance in which three-dimensional viewing will be possible.”
“[T]he world population will be 6,500,000,000 and the population of the United States will be 350,000,000.” And later he warns that if the population growth continues unchecked, “All earth will be a single choked Manhattan by A.D. 2450 and society will collapse long before that!” As a result, “There will, therefore, be a worldwide propaganda drive in favor of birth control by rational and humane methods and, by 2014, it will undoubtedly have taken serious effect.” [See our Walt Disney Family Planning cartoon from earlier this week.]
“Ordinary agriculture will keep up with great difficulty and there will be ‘farms’ turning to the more efficient micro-organisms. Processed yeast and algae products will be available in a variety of flavors.”
“The world of A.D. 2014 will have few routine jobs that cannot be done better by some machine than by any human being. Mankind will therefore have become largely a race of machine tenders. Schools will have to be oriented in this direction…. All the high-school students will be taught the fundamentals of computer technology will become proficient in binary arithmetic and will be trained to perfection in the use of the computer languages that will have developed out of those like the contemporary “Fortran.”
“[M]ankind will suffer badly from the disease of boredom, a disease spreading more widely each year and growing in intensity. This will have serious mental, emotional and sociological consequences, and I dare say that psychiatry will be far and away the most important medical specialty in 2014.”
”[T]he most glorious single word in the vocabulary will have become work!” in our ”a society of enforced leisure.”

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11 thoughts on “Isaac Asimov acurately predicts in 1964 What the World Will Look Like in 2014

  1. No-one has mentioned Monica’s departure from the blog. So even though I’m only one who joined in over the last 15 months or so, I’d like to pay tribute to the contributions she made. Mon has been a most sincere and passionate participant, and has brought some great pieces of relevant thoughts and theological points into the discussions.

    I for one have enjoyed your postings, Monica; and I shall be honoured to be keeping in touch with you off line. All the very best and many blessings.
    Rian.

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  2. Seems Asimov didn’t count on the greed that abounds, maybe grows. The divide between rich and poor, haves and have nots, increases.

    But surely he has an answer for those who say “I’ve succeeded, so can you. Just go out and get a job and work – it will be the making of you.” If only.

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    • Evidence abounds that y’can’t get anywhere in life by playing the conventional games.Getting a job and going to work will only ~ at best ~ allow you to feed yourself and raise a (socio/politically approved) family and have funeral-expenses insurance when you drop off the twig.

      ALL Systems are geared to maintain the System, and to hold their populations in thrall so’s that can be achieved. Nothing more. The ‘rich’ only remain so while the poor exist ~ and the poor strive to maintain the rich because they have the (conditioned-in) dread that they wouldn’t be able to survive without the rich….to provide ‘jobs’, for example.

      That’s why they create their gods to operate in the same way. Severe punishment and/or deprivation isn’t nearly as terrifying as the thought of being cast adrift, are they?

      Anyone who’s ever actually ‘succeeded’ at being more than a maintenance-worker for whatever System they live within has done it DESPITE the System and OUTSIDE of it.

      However, ““I’ve succeeded, so can you.””

      ps Life’s hectic, so I can’t promise consistency, but can be reached at dabbbles@gmail.com

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  3. I knew that!
    “[T]he world population will be 6,500,000,000 and the population of the United States will be 350,000,000.” And later he warns that if the population growth continues unchecked, “All earth will be a single choked Manhattan by A.D. 2450 and society will collapse long before that!”

    …but suspect his timing is off a bit.
    It won’t take another 440 years.

    This year is tipped (rightly or wrongly, though there’s plenty of evidence) to bring the beginning of a massive market/derivative crash and hyperinflation , a so-called global ‘currency reset’ and a major world-wide depression.
    And we all know what poor people do, don’t we?
    Yep. Breed.

    We live in interesting times.

    ….and Soylent Green might well become the new World currency. 😯

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