Friday, January 3, 2014

Was Author Isaac Asimov a Prophet?

Fifty years ago Isaac Asimov published his predictions for the year 2014 in The New York Times. Asimov had written more than 500 books during his career, among them science fiction novels and nonfiction scientific books, so it’s no surprise that he pondered the future. He wrote an article titled, “Visit to the World’s Fair of 2014,” and his guesstimates of what life would be like today are close to reality.

One of his predictions was that electroluminescent panels would be in common use. The panels are currently used in display signs, retail lighting and flat panel television sets. He also predicted that gadgetry would increasingly relieve man of tedious jobs and that sight-sound communication would be in place. That certainly describes FaceTime and Skype, among other devices. And the screen he described to view people called on telephones, and for studying documents and pictures, can be compared to today’s computers, smart phones and tablets.

Asimov thought that robots would be in common use by this year. We do have robotic  vacuum cleaners and computer controlled “robots” in various industries such as car manufacturing, although robotic servants are not yet commonplace.

Some of his predictions were close, but haven’t yet ocurred. He said, “Kitchen units will be devised that will prepare ‘automeals,” heating water and converting it to coffee, toasting bread; frying, poaching or scrambling eggs.” That hasn’t happened yet although instant coffee machines are currently in use.

Among his predictions were that the global population would reach six and a half billion. We’ve surpassed that number by some 60 million, so he was close. Asimov said that we would have become a race of machine tenders and that schools would have to be implemented to teach workers to maintain them.

Some of his predictions may never become a reality, such as homes with glowing, multi-colored ceilings and walls, but far-sighted man that he was, that and other predictions may actually come to pass.

~Jean Henry Mead
Jean Henry Mead Audiobooks

(Source: Huff Post)


Jackie King said...

Asimov's vision was uncanny! I really enjoyed this.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thanks, Jackie. He may have been psychic. I had no idea that Asimov had written 500 books. He must have started when he was five. :)