Skip to comments.(FAIL) What Futurists in 1988 Imagined Los Angeles Would Be Like in 2013
Posted on 03/16/2013 5:47:02 PM PDT by DogByte6RER
What futurists in 1988 imagined Los Angeles would be like in 2013
With the year 2013 a quarter of a century away, the Los Angeles Times in 1988 asked 30 futurists and other experts what they thought life in their city would look like in 2013. They may have overshot the sophistication of our robots, but many of those predictions for 2013 have come trueor at least come close.
Reporter Nicole Yorkin wrote the futurism pieces for the April 3, 1988 issue of the Los Angeles Times Magazine, compiling the information from her various interviews. The articles include illustrations by Syd Mead, the visual futurist and concept artist for Blade Runner, Aliens, Tron, and more. (You can see part of one of his illustrations above, and check out all of the illustrations at the LA Times.) The centerpiece of the issue is a day in the life of the Los Angeles family of 2013. While it touts highly sophisticated robots who can do housework and negotiate with children, it also emphasizes teleconferencing, charter schools, the use of computers and multimedia in education, and media on demand. It's a somewhat fanciful world (especially any time the family housework robot is mentioned), and occasionally retro (the son goes to the laser disc library in order to view the multimedia encyclopedia), but there are plenty of moments that we can point to as a reasonably accurate view of 2013.
The issue also includes predictions about the future of Los Angeles' demographics, job market (the recession naturally wasn't predicted), housing, and education. And the piece on the future of cars (this is Los Angeles, after all) has a few very close and spot-on predictions:
"In 25 years, today's new technology will have become standard equipment, both designers agree. Chief among these developments will be a central computer in the car that will control a number of devices. A sonar shield, for example, will automatically brake the car when it comes too close to another. If something malfunctions, diagnostic features will tell the driver what's wrong. Autos will also come equipped with electronic navigation or map systems. Once the driver programs a destination, the system will pick the fastest route, taking into account traffic information, then give the driver the estimated time of arrival, continually plotting the car's position on a map."
Then again, the same article suggests that modular cars, that go from two-seaters to enormous vans with the aid of a few plug-in modules, would be a common sight on the road in 2013.
More reference ...
L.A. 2013 - On April 3, 1988, the Los Angeles Times Magazine published a 25-year look ahead to 2013. This year, USC professor Jerry Lockenour is using the series of articles in a graduate engineering class he teaches.
It’s so quaint to look back and remember how optimistic things were at the end of the Reagan years...
Demolition Man got liberalism right. I watched it again the other night and noticed that when John asked someone to pass him the salt, he was informed that it was bad for him and thus, illegal.
In 1988, the muslims hadn’t yet invaded full force.
has your sonar shield been checked recently?
Except without the Spinners, most likely.
‘Adaptive cruise control’ has been around for awhile.
Volvo already has a ‘pedestrian detection system’ with other automakers following suit.
And some ‘parking assist systems’ use sonar too.
Most Utopian futurists make the same mistake. They assume that all society(ies) progress more or less uniformly together.
The truth is that the more technologically advanced, the more stratified they become. An elite emerges who master the technology and the systems, leaving the other 90-95% in the dust.
Then they become extremely specialized, spoiled and decadent. They forget what it was that made them great and the whole thing falls down and gets swallowed in barbarism. Another dark age, and then another great civilization emerges. How many times has this pattern repeated itself in the brief 35,000 or so years since the rise of Homo sapiens?
Won’t be long and LA will look like a cross between Detroit and Tiujuana.
“John Spartan, you are fined one credit for a violation of the Verbal Morality Statute.”
Highly underrated movie.
“They’ll be Spandex Jackets one for everyone.”
The bigger mistake is that futurists can’t imagine the future except from their own perspective. Like on the original Star Trek where you’re supposed to suspend belief long enough to assume that women are sporting 1960s haircuts in the 24th century.
Or to cite another period TV show, The Jetsons where the writers seem to have envisioned huge advances in transportation that never did materialize yet were completely unable to foresee similar development in computers (which in The Jetsons are depicted as being huge room-sized dealies with tape reels)
One guy who had an uncanny ability to predict future society and technology was Jules Verne.
Edgar Rice Burroughs made some pretty good predictions about mars.
So, none of the 30 futurists gave a prediction that the LA Times would no longer be around?
During the 40s and 50s Los Angeles was growing and apparently a pleasant place to live. The Hispanics were to a large degree, descendants of the Spaniards who originally settled the area.
Many of the White residents were formely wealthy people from the South who moved to LA after the war. Some of those were Pattons family and John Mosby.
Los Angeles was a progressive city in a progressive state. At the time that sounded good. Like they were using modern technology, modern traffic management and good government.
I don’t know what all changed it but letting illegas in in mass certainly has hurt some. Also large numbers of Blacks came in from St. Louis and that area.
Next was the waves of Hippies who were basically some of the most worthless people on earth. People like Black Panthers, The gang which kidnapped Patty Hearst. Basically most of them are loosely affiliated with Satanic groups. Oh, don’t forget the Manson family.
Today Los Angeles is where if you are White, you probably need to leave while you still can.
maybe STAR TREK will be correct as there are no muslims or arabs.
If you really want to see optimism go back and look at some futuristic predictions from the late fifties, early sixties. According to them our biggest problem now is to figure out what to do with all our leisure time, war has been eliminated and everything is a bed of roses. Of course the part about the leisure time is right for a lot of people but not for the reasons forecast.
Joe, What movie is that?
I think that is Battle Of Los Angeles.
I saw it a while back and thought it was an decent movie.
Battle of Los Angeles.
That streamlined world has been the vision of the “futurist” about as long as living memory. Thanks DogByte6RER.
The Blade Runner version of LA is set in what is now the near future, and no sign yet of flying cars, replicants, or the environmental holocaust which consumed all wildlife.
Whoops, great minds...
I could have told them your pictures are exactly what it would look like!!
The illegals drove me out of business by 1990 that my dad had started in 1936.
Is that from Blade runner?
What movie are you talking about?
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