Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tomorrow never comes?

In 1975, the United States Chamber of Commerce gave a forecast of what wonders one could expect in the world of the future. Among its predictions (and the reality check in parenthesis):

  • Supermarkets without cashiers. Shelf stock would be refilled by conveyer belts running from the storeroom. Some supermarket stock would be self-heating or self-cooling. (There are self-checkout counters in Supermarkets, but conveyer belts still seem pretty much stuck in airport terminals.)

  • Home furniture would be neatly slotted into the walls, where items such as beds and vanity tables could be summoned to appear with a simple wave of a hand. (No doubt there have been attempts to blend furniture with architecture, but unless you're David Copperfield, do not expect beds and tables to magically appear/disappear at your beck and call, much less a wave of your hand.)

  • A quick hand wave could also turn the lights on and off. (Home control systems with motion detection sensors made that possible.)

  • Windows louvres would be programmed to close when it rained and to follow the angle of the sun so that the room would not overheat. (Check out this article about the MajikHouse in the May 2004 issue of SmartHouse.)

  • Two-way wrist radios that would be worn as widely as wrist watches. (Pardon me... radios?)

  • Traffic problems would be eliminated because cars, buses and trucks would be funnelled into multi-decker highways. (Spot on... for a movie called "Minority Report")

  • Cars with the "brains" to park themselves. Guided by electronic eyes at spaced intervals, they would drive unassisted, obeying traffic signals and avoiding obstacles. Highways would be among the safest place in the world. (Most of the predictions here seem to be their way to becoming reality, except that far-fetched claim about highways.)

    Related post:
    Minority Report becomes reality

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