Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

What Will Life Be Like in the Year 2008? (from 1968 magazine article)
Mechanix Illustrated ^ | November 1968 | James R. Berry

Posted on 03/26/2008 7:09:42 PM PDT by Drew68

40 Years in the Future

By James R. Berry

IT’S 8 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008, and you are headed for a business appointment 300 mi. away. You slide into your sleek, two-passenger air-cushion car, press a sequence of buttons and the national traffic computer notes your destination, figures out the current traffic situation and signals your car to slide out of the garage. Hands free, you sit back and begin to read the morning paper—which is flashed on a flat TV screen over the car’s dashboard. Tapping a button changes the page.

The car accelerates to 150 mph in the city’s suburbs, then hits 250 mph in less built-up areas, gliding over the smooth plastic road. You whizz past a string of cities, many of them covered by the new domes that keep them evenly climatized year round. Traffic is heavy, typically, but there’s no need to worry. The traffic computer, which feeds and receives signals to and from all cars in transit between cities, keeps vehicles at least 50 yds. apart. There hasn’t been an accident since the system was inaugurated. Suddenly your TV phone buzzes. A business associate wants a sketch of a new kind of impeller your firm is putting out for sports boats. You reach for your attache case and draw the diagram with a pencil-thin infrared flashlight on what looks like a TV screen lining the back of the case. The diagram is relayed to a similar screen in your associate’s office, 200 mi. away. He jabs a button and a fixed copy of the sketch rolls out of the device. He wishes you good luck at the coming meeting and signs off.

Ninety minutes after leaving your home, you slide beneath the dome of your destination city. Your car decelerates and heads for an outer-core office building where you’ll meet your colleagues. After you get out, the vehicle parks itself in a convenient municipal garage to await your return. Private cars are banned inside most city cores. Moving sidewalks and electrams carry the public from one location to another.

With the U.S. population having soared to 350 million, 2008 transportation is among the most important factors keeping the economy running smoothly. Giant transportation hubs called modemixers are located anywhere from 15 to 50 mi. outside all major urban centers. Tube trains, pushed through bores by compressed air, make the trip between modemixer and central city in 10 to 15 minutes.

A major feature of most modemixers is the launching pad from which 200-passenger rockets blast off for other continents. For less well-heeled travelers there are SST and hypersonic planes that carry 200 to 300 passengers at speeds up to 4,000 mph. Short trips— between cities less than 1,000 mi. apart—are handled by slower jumbo jets.

Homes in Mi’s 80th year are practically self-maintaining. Electrostatic precipitators clean the air and climatizers maintain the temperature and humidity at optimum levels. Robots are available to do housework and other simple chores. New materials for siding and interiors are self-cleaning and never peel, chip or crack.

Dwellings for the most part are assembled from prefabricated modules, which can be attached speedily in the configuration that best suits the homeowner. Once the foundation is laid, attaching the modules to make up a two- or three-bedroom house is a job that doesn’t take more than a day. Such modular homes easily can be expanded to accommodate a growing family. A typical wedding present for the 21st century newlyweds is a fully equipped bedroom, kitchen or living room module.

Other conveniences ease kitchenwork. The housewife simply determines in advance her menus for the week, then slips prepackaged meals into the freezer and lets the automatic food utility do the rest. At preset times, each meal slides into the microwave oven and is cooked or thawed. The meal then is served on disposable plastic plates. These plates, as well as knives, forks and spoons of the same material, are so inexpensive they can be discarded after use.

The single most important item in 2008 households is the computer. These electronic brains govern everything from meal preparation and waking up the household to assembling shopping lists and keeping track of the bank balance. Sensors in kitchen appliances, climatizing units, communicators, power supply and other household utilities warn the computer when the item is likely to fail. A repairman will show up even before any obvious breakdown occurs.

Computers also handle travel reservations, relay telephone messages, keep track of birthdays and anniversaries, compute taxes and even figure the monthly bills for electricity, water, telephone and other utilities. Not every family has its private computer. Many families reserve time on a city or regional computer to serve their needs. The machine tallies up its own services and submits a bill, just as it does with other utilities.

Money has all but disappeared. Employers deposit salary checks directly into their employees’ accounts. Credit cards are used for paying all bills. Each time you buy something, the card’s number is fed into the store’s computer station. A master computer then deducts the charge from your bank balance.

Computers not only keep track of money, they make spending it easier. TV-telephone shopping is common. To shop, you simply press the numbered code of a giant shopping center. You press another combination to zero in on the department and the merchandise in which you are interested. When you see what you want, you press a number that signifies “buy,” and the household computer takes over, places the order, notifies the store of the home address and subtracts the purchase price from your bank balance. Much of the family shopping is done this way. Instead of being jostled by crowds, shoppers electronically browse through the merchandise of any number of stores.

People have more time for leisure activities in the year 2008. The average work day is about four hours. But the extra time isn’t totally free. The pace of technological advance is such that a certain amount of a jobholder’s spare time is used in keeping up with the new developments—on the average, about two hours of home study a day.

Most of this study is in the form of programmed TV courses, which can be rented or borrowed from tape libraries. In fact most schooling—from first grade through college—consists of programmed TV courses or lectures via closed circuit. Students visit a campus once or twice a week for personal consultations or for lab work that has to be done on site. Progress of each student is followed by computer, which assigns end term marks on the basis of tests given throughout the term.

Besides school lessons, other educational material is available for TV viewing. You simply press a combination of buttons and the pages flash on your home screen. The world’s information is available to you almost instantaneously.

TV screens cover an entire wall in most homes and show most subjects other than straight text matter in color and three dimensions. In addition to programmed TV and the multiplicity of commercial fare, you can see top Broadway shows, hit movies and current nightclub acts for a nominal charge. Best-selling books are on TV tape and can be borrowed or rented from tape libraries.

A typical vacation in 2008 is to spend a week at an undersea resort, where your hotel room window looks out on a tropical underwater reef, a sunken ship or an ancient, excavated city. Available to guests are two- and three-person submarines in which you can cruise well-marked underwater trails.

Another vacation is a stay on a hotel satellite. The rocket ride to the satellite and back, plus the vistas of earth and moon, make a memorable vacation jaunt.

While city life in 2008 has changed greatly, the farm has altered even more. Farmers are business executives running operations as automated as factories. TV scanners monitor tractors and other equipment computer programmed to plow, harrow and harvest. Wires imbedded in the ground send control signals to the machines. Computers also keep track of yields-, fertilization, soil composition and other factors influencing crops. At the beginning of each year, a print-out tells the farmer what to plant where, how much to fertilize and how much yield he can expect.

Farming isn't confined to land. Mariculturists have turned areas of the sea into beds of protein-rich seaweed and algae. This raw material is processed into food that looks and tastes like steak and other meats. It also is cheap; families can have steak-like meals twice a day without feeling a budget pinch. Areas in bays or close to shore have been turned into shrimp, lobster, clam and other shellfish ranches, like the cattle spreads of yesteryear.

Medical research has guaranteed that most babies born in the 21st century will live long and healthy lives. Heart disease has virtually been eliminated by drugs and diet. If hearts or other major organs do give trouble, they can be replaced with artificial organs.

Medical examinations are a matter of sitting in a diagnostic chair for a minute or two, then receiving a full health report. Ultrasensitive microphones and electronic sensors in the chair's headrest, back and armrests pick up heartbeat, pulse, breathing rate, galvanic skin response, blood pressure, nerve reflexes and other medical signs. A computer attached to the chair digests these responses, compares them to the normal standard and prints out a full medical report.

No need to worry about failing memory or intelligence either. The intelligence pill is another 21st century commodity. Slow learners or people struck with forgetful-ness are given pills which increase the production of enzymes controlling production of the chemicals known to control learning and memory. Everyone is able to use his full mental potential.

Despite the fact that the year 2008 is only 40 years away—as far ahead as 1928 is in the past—it will be a world as strange to us as our time (1968) would be to the pilgrims.


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: future; marines; predictions
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-126 next last
A few hits. A few misses. Those four hour work days will be nice! Maybe we'll have them by November.
1 posted on 03/26/2008 7:09:45 PM PDT by Drew68
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Drew68

I still want a robot servant and raygun.


2 posted on 03/26/2008 7:11:23 PM PDT by LukeL (Yasser Arafat: "I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Drew68
Electrostatic precipitators

yeah. got to go get one of them at Home Depot.

3 posted on 03/26/2008 7:11:48 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (Free New York)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Drew68
Money has all but disappeared.

I still have my looks!

4 posted on 03/26/2008 7:15:03 PM PDT by Hoplite
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Drew68

“it will be a world as strange to us as our time (1968) would be to the pilgrims.”

Yep—damn strange...


5 posted on 03/26/2008 7:15:27 PM PDT by gunnyg
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Drew68
Those four hour work days will be nice!

If we weren't so busy paying for all of the socialist BS we would only have to work a 4 or 5 hour day.

Socialism in America is retarding growth, innovation, and quality of life.

6 posted on 03/26/2008 7:17:55 PM PDT by Rome2000 (Peace is not an option)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Drew68

I want my flying car!


7 posted on 03/26/2008 7:18:09 PM PDT by MarkeyD (Just another country bumpkin looking forward to Fred!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Drew68
 
 

8 posted on 03/26/2008 7:18:27 PM PDT by Radix (How come they call people "Morons" when they do not know as much? Shouldn't they be called "Lessons?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Drew68
Mostly misses. This was the best.

The intelligence pill is another 21st century commodity.

hahaha

9 posted on 03/26/2008 7:19:04 PM PDT by A message
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Drew68
With the U.S. population having soared to 350 million, 2008 transportation is among the most important factors keeping the economy running smoothly.

Gee! I wonder where the missing 50 million people went?

10 posted on 03/26/2008 7:19:05 PM PDT by Paleo Conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Drew68

Sounds like this guy fantasized everything except for tree huggers, nanny-state government and nation crushing illegal immigration.


11 posted on 03/26/2008 7:19:07 PM PDT by theymakemesick (The war on drugs benefits government agencies, politicians and drug dealers, they don't want to win.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Drew68
"..TV scanners monitor tractors and other equipment computer programmed to plow, harrow and harvest. Wires imbedded in the ground send control signals to the machines. Computers also keep track of yields-, fertilization, soil composition and other factors influencing crops. At the beginning of each year, a print-out tells the farmer what to plant where, how much to fertilize and how much yield he can expect..."

Close!

12 posted on 03/26/2008 7:20:21 PM PDT by Anti-Bubba182
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Drew68

Missed Gore’s great invention, the internet.


13 posted on 03/26/2008 7:21:31 PM PDT by 386wt (Be free and don't die!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Paleo Conservative

“Gee! I wonder where the missing 50 million people went?”

The implication this this statement is hauntingly true...


14 posted on 03/26/2008 7:22:50 PM PDT by motoman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Anti-Bubba182

It left out the part about Dept of Ag paying farmers for not growing crops


15 posted on 03/26/2008 7:23:35 PM PDT by Domandred (McCain's 'R' is a typo that has never been corrected)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: LukeL
Where's my flying car? I want it.

Seriously. It might be a bit presumptuous to think that any of us will be here in 40 or 50 years, (I know I won't be) but it may be interesting to see some 'projections' of what other Freepers think.

16 posted on 03/26/2008 7:23:35 PM PDT by Ditto (Global Warming: The 21st Century's Snake Oil)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Drew68

-—did a lot better than Paul Ehrlich -and he’s still on the lecture circuit—


17 posted on 03/26/2008 7:24:21 PM PDT by rellimpank (--don't believe anything the MSM tells you about firearms or explosives--NRA Benefactor)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: M1911A1

where’s my ROBOT???


18 posted on 03/26/2008 7:25:06 PM PDT by M0sby (((PROUD WIFE of MSgt Edwards USMC)))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Drew68

Smallpox and VD are no more. Antibiotics have wiped out all the germs. But there are drawbacks! Gas is 80 cents a gallon and a pack of cigarettes is a dollar and fifty cents!


19 posted on 03/26/2008 7:25:33 PM PDT by 668 - Neighbor of the Beast (VA is for lovers, but PA is the Saudi Arabia of coal.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 386wt
Missed Gore’s great invention, the internet.

He got close though,


20 posted on 03/26/2008 7:25:36 PM PDT by Drew68
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Paleo Conservative

Vanished in abortion mills.


21 posted on 03/26/2008 7:25:41 PM PDT by A_Former_Democrat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Paleo Conservative
Gee! I wonder where the missing 50 million people went?

Fanning glaciers for Al Gore.


22 posted on 03/26/2008 7:28:15 PM PDT by Lady Jag (Semper Paratus)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: MarkeyD
This is about as close as I have seen

http://www.moller.com/


23 posted on 03/26/2008 7:30:43 PM PDT by new cruelty
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Drew68

“Mariculturists have turned areas of the sea into beds of protein-rich seaweed and algae. “

Multiculturists have turned areas of America into beds of illiterate, poverty stricken, PC-rich, crime-ridden sewages.


24 posted on 03/26/2008 7:31:28 PM PDT by death2tyrants
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Drew68

Computer technology has exceeded the predictions - everything else has fallen well short. Most of the described advances are technologically possible, but economically infeasible.


25 posted on 03/26/2008 7:31:36 PM PDT by Mr. Jeeves ("Wise men don't need to debate; men who need to debate are not wise." -- Tao Te Ching)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ditto
Seriously. It might be a bit presumptuous to think that any of us will be here in 40 or 50 years, (I know I won't be) but it may be interesting to see some 'projections' of what other Freepers think.

Sadly, have you ever seen the film Idiocracy? I guess I'm not an optimist.

26 posted on 03/26/2008 7:31:58 PM PDT by Drew68
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: theymakemesick

If you look at the predictions from gadgeteers, they may anticipate the gadget, but don’t see what social impact it will have.

The Jetsons are a 50s nuclear family living in a world of gadgets. If such gadgets really existed, they would have considerable impact on behavior and social structure.


27 posted on 03/26/2008 7:32:45 PM PDT by proxy_user
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Drew68
The car accelerates to 150 mph in the city’s suburbs, then hits 250 mph in less built-up areas,

That at least sums up how the commute begins around here.

28 posted on 03/26/2008 7:33:10 PM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Drew68

PING For tech-topia
“90 minutes from new York to Paris ...”
- Donald Fagan’s ‘What a beautiful world”


29 posted on 03/26/2008 7:34:20 PM PDT by WOSG (Solve all the world's problems .... Just build more nukes already.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: A message
Do this

The intelligence pill is another 21st century commodity.

And then it's correct. We do take lots of pills in this country,

30 posted on 03/26/2008 7:34:21 PM PDT by SwankyC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Paleo Conservative

In 1968, they never thought we would permit a holocaust on American soil.


31 posted on 03/26/2008 7:35:26 PM PDT by M203M4 (True Universal Suffrage: Pets of dead illegal-immigrant felons voting Democrat (twice))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Drew68
>>Money has all but disappeared.<<

Had he said "The dollar has all but disappeared." he would have gotten one prediction right.

32 posted on 03/26/2008 7:35:26 PM PDT by Muleteam1
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Drew68
Here's my prediction for 2048:

The call goes out for Morning prayers. You and your four wives turn to the East... you have to, because you're on camera at all times. It's the Truman Show meets Sharia Law, and ever since your teenaged daughter was stoned to death for having a boyfriend, you've taken the rules pretty seriously....

33 posted on 03/26/2008 7:36:14 PM PDT by A_perfect_lady
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Drew68
Mr. Berry in 1968—and large numbers of science fiction writers and movie makers then and since then—have drastically over-estimated the pace of the technological transformation of the infrastructure of society.
34 posted on 03/26/2008 7:37:11 PM PDT by snarks_when_bored
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: WOSG

There’ll be spandex jackets, one for everyone...


35 posted on 03/26/2008 7:37:37 PM PDT by dfwgator (11+7+15=3 Heismans)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: M0sby

Try a Roomba.


36 posted on 03/26/2008 7:38:29 PM PDT by WOSG (Solve all the world's problems .... Just build more nukes already.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Drew68; SmithL; NormsRevenge

37 posted on 03/26/2008 7:38:35 PM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: M0sby
where’s my ROBOT???

I think it went that way --->

38 posted on 03/26/2008 7:39:21 PM PDT by r-q-tek86 (If you're not taking flak, you're not over the target.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Drew68
"Perfect weather for a streamlined world There'll be spandex jackets one for everyone

What a beautiful world this will be What a glorious time to be free"

-Steely Dan, IGY

39 posted on 03/26/2008 7:39:40 PM PDT by Jagman (Liberalism is a "progressive" disease)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Drew68; Lijahsbubbe
IT’S 8 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008, and you are headed for ...

the lavatory, still heavily intoxicated a fortnight after election day, wondering how much longer the booze supply will last...

40 posted on 03/26/2008 7:41:32 PM PDT by Ezekiel
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Drew68

Interesting they pegged the population at 350 million. This was in 1968, BEFORE ABORTION.

We’d be around 350 million right now if we didn’t have abortion.


41 posted on 03/26/2008 7:42:15 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: WOSG; r-q-tek86; M1911A1

You guys are FUNNY!

I will send M1911A1 out to GET a roomba...or, to go FETCH THAT ROBOT—————>>>>>>>

LOL!!!

(HE’S my robot!)


42 posted on 03/26/2008 7:42:16 PM PDT by M0sby (((PROUD WIFE of MSgt Edwards USMC)))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: motoman; Paleo Conservative
“Gee! I wonder where the missing 50 million people went?”

Abortions?

43 posted on 03/26/2008 7:42:56 PM PDT by Radix (How come they call people "Morons" when they do not know as much? Shouldn't they be called "Lessons?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: A_perfect_lady

More like Big Brother meets Sharia.


44 posted on 03/26/2008 7:43:19 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: LukeL

Hovercrafts! They promised us all hovercrafts!


45 posted on 03/26/2008 7:43:48 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Drew68
I like how they predicted that you'll commute 300 miles to work for no good reason at all and do your tasks through computers remotely with people hundreds of miles away as if they were right next to you.

A stupid, irrational, self-defeating, senseless notion that's entirely true today.

46 posted on 03/26/2008 7:45:26 PM PDT by The KG9 Kid
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Secret Agent Man
Hovercrafts! They promised us all hovercrafts!

Are they filled with eels?

47 posted on 03/26/2008 7:45:57 PM PDT by dfwgator (11+7+15=3 Heismans)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: martin_fierro
Ninety minutes after leaving your home, you slide beneath the dome of your destination city.

Well your pic is *still* appropriate.

48 posted on 03/26/2008 7:46:28 PM PDT by Ezekiel
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: A message
Mostly misses. This was the best.

>The intelligence pill is another 21st century commodity.

Hillary has been hoarding them.

49 posted on 03/26/2008 7:46:33 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Drew68
As the Governor of NY has a quick tryst, its off to the State house in our sleek jet powered limo!


50 posted on 03/26/2008 7:47:27 PM PDT by jaz.357 (When you throw mud, you lose ground.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-126 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson