Not a bad collection. Some nice hits and some very revealing misses.
Here are things we won't get soon, if ever:
- Interplanetary travel is waiting at your front door–C.O.D. It's yours when you pay for it.
- Contraception and control of disease is revising relations between sexes to an extent that will change our entire social and economic structure.
- The most important military fact of this century is that there is no way to repel an attack from outer space.
- It is utterly impossible that the United States will start a "preventive war." We will fight when attacked, either directly or in a territory we have guaranteed to defend.
- In fifteen years the housing shortage will be solved by a "breakthrough" into new technology which will make every house now standing as obsolete as privies.
- We'll all be getting a little hungry by and by.
- The cult of the phony in art will disappear. So-called "modern art" will be discussed only by psychiatrists.
- Freud will be classed as a pre-scientific, intuitive pioneer and psychoanalysis will be replaced by a growing, changing "operational psychology" based on measurement and prediction.
- Cancer, the common cold, and tooth decay will all be conquered; the revolutionary new problem in medical research will be to accomplish "regeneration," i.e., to enable a man to grow a new leg, rather than fit him with an artificial limb.
- By the end of this century mankind will have explored this solar system, and the first ship intended to reach the nearest star will be abuilding.
- Your personal telephone will be small enough to carry in your handbag. Your house telephone will record messages, answer simple queries, and transmit vision.
- Intelligent life will be found on Mars.
- A thousand miles an hour at a cent a mile will be commonplace; short hauls will be made in evacuated subways at extreme speeds.
- A major objective of applied physics will be to control gravity.
- We will not achieve a "world state" in the predictable future. Nevertheless, Communism will vanish from this planet.
- Increasing mobility will disenfranchise a majority of the population. About 1990 a constitutional amendment will do away with state lines while retaining the semblance.
- All aircraft will be controlled by a giant radar net run on a continent-wide basis by a multiple electronic "brain."
- Fish and yeast will become our principal sources of proteins. Beef will be a luxury; lamb and mutton will disappear.
- Mankind will not destroy itself, nor will "civilization" be destroyed.
- Travel through time.
- Travel faster than the speed of light
- "Radio" transmission of matter.
- Manlike robots with manlike reactions.
- Laboratory creation of life.
- Real understanding of what "thought" is and how it is related to matter.
- Scientific proof of personal survival after death.
- Nor a permanent end to war. (I don't like that prediction any better thanyou do.)
Tuesday, 3 August 2010
Prediction isn't an easy business and any writer of science fiction with any sense admits that the future is a sandbox where he tries to explain the present. Still, the public does expect science fiction authors to have some idea about what tomorrow has in store. Here we have Robert A Heinlein's predictions from 1949 about life in the 21st century (Published in Galaxy magazine, February 1952).