Distant Scenes to the Very Doors
Sunday, February 3rd, 2013
In an effort to learn more about the nascent impact of the internet on various aspects of daily life, I've been looking into early predictions of the web.
There are a few famous papers by scientists, like the 1945 Atlantic article 'As We May Think' by Vannevar Bush. In this article, Bush imagines a complex microfilm device, a “memex' – a desk topped with “slanting translucent screens” and a keyboard. Within one's memex desk, an individual
“stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility… Wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them… There is a new profession of trail blazers, those who find delight in the task of establishing useful trails through the enormous mass of the common record.”
There's also this remarkable video from 1967 meant to show life in 1999:
Far out. Although it seems they saw technology progressing more quickly than gender equity…
Going further back, there's a Ladies Home Journal piece entitled 'What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years' published in December 1900. In addition to a few dreary predictions like “There will be no wild animals except in menageries,” there are fascinatingly accurate predictions such as “Ready-cooked meals will be bought from establishments similar to our bakeries of today.”
Then there's this one, which gives me geek-chills:
Man will see around the world. Persons and things of all kinds will be brought within focus of cameras connected electrically with screens at opposite ends of circuits, thousands of miles at a span… The instrument bringing these distant scenes to the very doors of people will be connected with a giant telephone apparatus transmitting each incidental sound in its appropriate place.
I love living in the future, finding delight in blazing new trails to distant scenes in a polyester shirt…