More than simply a science fiction writer, Isaac Asimov was also a visionary of the future. Known as the father of robotics for his work in writing on their evolution, functionality, and consequence, Asimov provided a unique perspective on how he saw machines taking over normal functions for everyday people during a conference at the 1964 World’s Fair.
And in particular, he singled out 2014 as the year for these prognostications to come to pass. Here are many of these predictions.
1. “One thought that occurs to me is that men will continue to withdrawal from nature in order to create an environment that will suit them better.”
Result: Social media, and the internet.
2. “Kitchen units will be devised that will prepare ‘auto-meals’, heating water and turning it into coffee.”
Result: Microwave ovens and coffee makers.
3. “Complete lunches and dinners, with the food ‘semi-prepared’, will be stored in the freezer until ready for processing.
Result: TV dinners, Lean Cuisine, etc…
4. “For short range travel, moving sidewalks will be making their appearance in downtown sections.”
Result: Escalators and Moving Sidewalks.
5. “In 2014 there is every likelihood that the world population will be 6.5 billion, and the population of the United States will be 350 million.
Result: World Pop. – 7.1 billion, U.S. Pop. – 316 million
6. “Communications will become ‘sight-sound’ and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone.
Result: Skype, Smartphones, Webcams.
7. “The world of A.D. 2014 will have few routine jobs that cannot be done better by some machine than by any human being.”
Result: Robotics, computers, internet, touchscreens.
8. “Mankind will therefore become a race of machine tenders.”
Result: Data processing.
While some of these predictions occurred long before 2014, the key is that Asimov foresaw a trending future where machines would come to dominate great portions of society, in the environments of work, leisure, culture, and business long before the advent of the microchip, wireless communication, and integration of robotics were invented.
Kenneth Schortgen Jr is a writer for Secretsofthefed.com, Examiner.com, and hosts the popular web blog, The Daily Economist. Ken can also be heard Friday evenings giving an weekly economic report on the Angel Clark radio show.