Exactly 50 years ago (1964), American author and professor of biochemistry (Boston University) Isaac Asimov, predicted what the world would be like in 2014. His wide-ranging predictions of the next five decades covered everything from technology to the way human society would exist. We take a look at some of his predictions that have proved to be eerily accurate.
1: "Gadgetry will continue to relieve mankind of tedious jobs."
From vacuum cleaners to GPS, we humans continue to innovate to make an easier living for ourselves. Imagine asking for directions at every turn if you didn't have Google Maps or GPS as guides.
2: "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."
Doesn't this remind you of Skype, Google Hangout, Facetime, etc? Asimov was bang on about this prediction as technology does make the world a shrunk place today...we can connect with friends and family from any part of the globe. Moreover, aren't we all too familiar with reading books online...Kindle anyone?
3: "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."
Though glow-in-the-dark ceilings haven't kicked in so much, they exist. Also, electroluminescent panels are thin, bright panels used in retail displays, lighting, signs and flat panel TVs.
4: "Vehicles with 'Robot-brains' ... can be set for particular destinations ... that will then proceed there without interference by the slow reflexes of a human driver."
Heard of cars that drive on their own to create a photographic map of the whole earth? Well, they exist and Asimov was right. Moreover, there are cares that parallel park on their own as well. Probably, they should be taking the driving test too!
5: "The 2014 fair will feature an Algae Bar at which "mock-turkey" and "pseudosteak" will be served. It won't be bad at all (if you can dig up those premium prices), but there will be considerable psychological resistance to such an innovation."
In 2013, we did see the creation of the first lab-grown hamburger. It costs $300, 000 only!
6: "Wall screens will have replaced the ordinary set; but transparent cubes will be making their appearance in which three-dimensional viewing will be possible."
3D TVs exist, don't they?
7: "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."
Scientists and designers have come up with new ways to cultivate food in densely populated areas where arable land is hard to find.
8: "An experimental fusion-power plant or two will already exist in 2014. Large solar-power stations will also be in operation in a number of desert and semi-desert areas"
Today, we can use solar power long after the sun goes down too.
9: "... by 2014, only unmanned ships will have landed on Mars, though a manned expedition will be in the works and in the 2014 Futurama will show a model of an elaborate Martian colony."
Though Mars has been sought after since 1976 thanks to the Viking landers, it wasn't until recently that manned missions to the Red Planet began in earnest.
10: "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."
Though this prediction isn't absolutely accurate, it is somewhat close. Yes, we haven't reached a point where we can just order breakfast the night before and wake up to the smell of bacon and eggs, but we have instant coffee makers, toasters, don't we?