Thursday, November 29, 2007

Future Predictions

When I was a kid in the sixties and a teen in the seventies, I thought of how I'd be living in the 21st century one day, which then seemed so far in the future to me. Like many people, I wondered what kinds of new technology would be part of our everyday lives.

I envisioned flying or hovering cars and personal jetpacks that would allow a person to fly. I thought we'd have a base on the moon by now and would have also been to Mars. I thought people would be working six hour days and four day weeks, instead of people working more and more hours.

I didn't anticipate personal computers, nor the internet. I visited my father's office in the early 70s and he showed me their computer room, which contained several large, refrigerator-sized, reel-to-reel cabinets that was part of the computer system. Data was entered into them using "keypunch" cards -- there were no visual monitors. At that time, I would have never imagined people using a typewriter keyboard and a TV-like monitor, powered by a computer that could sit on a table, let alone using a notebook computer smaller than a briefcase that you could carry around with you. Scanners, printers, and affordable copiers were likewise something I never thought of.

Nor did I imagine cell phones. Being able to use the phone anywhere, let alone use a phone to play music, take pictures, and so on never entered my imagination. I can actually remember when we got our first push-button phone in 1967 and call-waiting a few years after that and thinking how great that was.

What are some things you predicted about the future that have yet to come to pass and what are some things that you never imagine we'd have now?

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