We have reached the year 2014 and there are no flying cars or hoverboards. Equally, we do not live in a dystopian horror story run by alien overlords. It appears that all the predictions we have come across in the media over the past few decades about how the ‘future’ will be have yet to come true. However, illustrious writer Isaac Asimov’s 1964 piece Visit to the World’s Fair 2014 is shockingly accurate and a telling sign of how our society has developed since the era of peace and love. Here we take a look at some of Asimov’s predictions and what they say about us in the year 2014.
Isaac Asimov was a professor of biochemistry and the author of many popular science fiction novels, such as Nightfall and I, Robot, and is widely regarded as one of the best-loved science fiction writers in history. His countless awards and extensive catalogue of writing make him an educated force when reckoning what may occur in the decades after 1964.
One of his most notable quotations states: “One thought that occurs to me is that men will continue to withdraw from nature in order to create an environment that will suit them better.” This prediction speaks volumes about our society’s changing needs for comfort and accessibility, with the whole world viewable and communicable at the touch of a button. Online technology has developed in such a way that we have what we want when we want it thus making Asimov’s prediction justified.
With technology evolving, so do other aspects of our lifestyles, including food and drink. Asimov predicted a few things that have proven to be true, for instance, “Complete lunches and dinners, with the food semiprepared, will be stored in the freezer until ready for processing.” For some of us, imagining a time without the speed and ease of microwave-friendly produce and ready-made meals is pretty hard, and the following quote seems almost alien; “Kitchen units will be devised that will prepare ‘automeals,’ heating water and converting it to coffee.” It seems as though Asimov even predicted the humble coffee machine, as well as the idea of quick-cook meals. This is yet another example of the society he envisioned in 2014, one of speed and ease which we do indeed enjoy today.
In terms of the world of communications, the world has changed immeasurably. Asimov predicted the use of global communication satellites saying, “Synchronous satellites, hovering in space will make it possible for you to direct-dial any spot on earth.” The accuracy of this prediction is surprising, as phone technology has given us the opportunity to communicate with people the world over with relative ease. The world of 1964 enjoyed no such luxuries, speaking perhaps of Asimov’s hope of a more bonded society. His predictions on how these communications would take place was also shockingly precise; he says, “Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone.” With Skype available on multiple platforms, FaceTime on the iPhone among others, the scope of availability for face-to-face global communication is massive, allowing new channels of sociological growth and understanding.
As the writer of so many science fiction books, these predictions may have been seen as farfetched in 1964, however they appear to be mostly true. His predictions speak of a society based on immediacy and convenience, one we enjoy daily but perhaps take for granted.
20th July, 2014