- Smoking was everywhere, from airplane interiors to hospitals to the neighborhood breakfast bar. And its negative health effects were not widely acknowledged.
- The typical family had a working father and stay-at-home mother. Society and economics was geared to support that lifestyle.
- Gays were well-closeted and few dared to peek out. Those who did were often openly shunned.
- Conditions like ADD/ADHD and Aspergers and many others were undiagnosed and even bipolar disorder seemed less that understood by most.
- Most houses had a single telephone (though some people illegally added another independently purchased phone off their single land line).
- Most homes had a single TV – B&W and not usually larger than 20". You had access to three networks, which went off air about midnight.
- Computers were huge devices, used almost exclusively by scientist and engineers. And of course there was no internet.
- No American had flown in orbit.
- All regular global communications went through wire as experimental communication satellites were just being tested.
- Cars had no seatbelts and just AM radios.
- There were no microwave ovens… or listing of nutritional content or even ingredients on food packaging.
- The American south was well segregated and laws remained on the books in many states criminalizing interracial marriage.
- The average life expectancy for an American was age 69.
- CPR just came into being.
- There was no consumer level way to enjoy video recording or playback. If you missed a film at the theater, you just had to hope you'd get to see an "edited for television" version broadcast some day... or find a 16mm copy and projector.
- We had no clear views of any planetary surface besides the Moon. And nothing had ever visited that far. And we had not even visited the deepest point in Earth's oceans.
I could go on, but it's clear a lot's gone down in half a century that has made us live very different lives today. So my question to you all is what do you see as probable changes in human existence between now and 2060? Will the visions of transhumanism and nanotechnology change us in dramatic ways – especially when driven by the carrot of even more accessible social communications? Will genetic engineering start to redefine us as species? Just how will society and science change the way we live our daily lives?
There's so many ways this could go… but as the unchanging character of the male business dress shirt shows us, sometimes though we CAN change, we choose not to. So – your thoughts?
One thing that doesn't change is that this is the point where I try to flaunt new DA art by others that you may not have noticed! Dive in!
- Listening to: SOMA-FM
- Reading: "Rendezvous with Rama"
- Watching: Yamato 2199
Hmm, the future...
Technologically, the work of the Indian researchers(1) to modify phytoplankton to create hydrocarbons will bear fruit, probably after being purchased by a major corporation that is already involved in the energy sector. With good marketing & distribution, homes across the world will be equipped with solar panels that produce fuel for increasingly efficient cars. This will of course be then superceded by safe Hydrogen storage, allowing for HFC power plants to be made accessible to the public, knocking the internal combustion engine on the head in most situations. Computers will continue to advance, though a truly concious AI will not be arriving - not due to lack of hardware, but rather because nobody knows how to code for self-awareness & all it entails. As the frequencies continue to fill-up, signal degredation will increase, so wired links may experience a resurgence of popularity for things that don't move about much or are important to have the best signal quality. Manned space exploration will be set back decades by accidents in commercial space ventures such as the plans to move asteroids to earth for mining, but space-tech in general will continue to advance with cheap micro-probes being launched in salvos toward stuff(2) to be studied. With the multiple signals returning from these probes, each giving different but overlapping readings, the data gained after processing would be vastly superior to that of sending one big probe - & if a few of the micro-probes fail it wouldn't be the end of the mission. While the tech to clone & edit human DNA will be more widespread, it's use for any purpose other than removal of disease from the gene-pool will be highly regulated. Militaries will ignore this regulation, probably with disasterous results(3).
Socially, corporations will not rule the planet, because they have governmnets to do that under their orders. There will have been a false-flag WMD terrorist attack at some point, which will have been used as an excuse to tighten security laws, that will then be uncovered & the scapegoats made responsible will be removed from power, leaving those really responsible in an unchanged position of power. Environmnetally, the aforementioned work of Shilpi et al, along with constantly improving efficiencies of tech & widespread use of recycling techniques will hold off environmental change just enough so that those in power can ignore it or just make token efforts to combat it & still win votes, get people to buy their goods, etc.
Sorry about the cynical tone of some of my entry, hardly a nice thing to be reading on your birthday (happy birthday, by the way). Still, you gotta take the rough with the smooth.
1 Shilpi S. et al, 2010, PROSPECTS OF DIATOMS AS THIRD GENERATION BIOFUEL
2 Yes, I know "stuff" is a bit vague, but since you could put any kind of sensors on the probes, you could study so wide a range of things that it's the only term that fits.
...for four and a half months. My Dad brought his newborn boy to a Kennedy rally in town that Fall, so I may have been one of those cliched infants kissed by a (famous) politician in a photo op
Funny, you and I are only about 4 years apart!
Am one year older than you apparently, so all of this journal really matches up with my observation too.
Did you practice to duck and cover in school? We did for my first year, then it mysteriously disappeared.
What I remember is about the same. For some reason, it really felt back then that we were all closer together. Even with just one phone and vacuum tube television. We had no FB or twitter but somehow we knew what everyone on our city block was doing, and more about the neighborhood. Today, I know crap about what my neighbors are doing and am okay with it, no biggie. I do know whats going on in remote villages and outposts around the world. I can read blogs from McMurdo and Amundsen Scott plus onboard the ISS, but the guy across the street apparently moved out last week and I missed it!
Where are we going with the future and technology? I honestly don't know, and I sometimes snicker at those who think that they do know.
Suffice it to say that it may be really fascinating when it happens.
I know what you mean about feeling closer back then. Maybe it's because we had so little in the way of solitary distractions that we just naturally engaged, face-to-face. These days it seems people barely know their neighbors.
In the 1960s they predicted bases on the Moon and Mars, and food pills, and all the rest of that stuff. None of it happened, and they utterly failed to see our current communications-obsessed culture with its wi-fi and cell phones and iPads and so on.
50 years from now? Who knows?
2060 ? Good question... I think we will be closer to cyberpunk I'm afraid. It is possible that the gulf stream stop and lead to a major change in Europe, in consequence large movements of population and possible war. I see more and more the possibility of a new cold war between US and China.
The vast majority of the human population will live in very large towns with a very large difference between rich and poor, probably even larger than today.
Communication technology will continue to change the world and will probably replace cars as sign of social success, in fact it's already the case in some area today. I'm note sure that we will see cyber eyes and cyber limbs in the street, I think nanotech and genetics will solve this kind of problems.
Robots can also be a major change, armies and security services will be full of robots, but I'm not sure that they will be available to everyone for a simple reason : it seems far too easy to make of them very efficient weapons. Or if this append we will see security systems almost everywhere.
I think we'll be seeing more ubiquitous robots enter our lives as well. Household servants would be good for things like getting the mail, taking out the trash, etc. But I would think that this would exacerbate an already big problem of obesity in America and other civilized nations (though certainly it's worse here than in other parts of the world).
Here are my predictions:
There will be a human colony on the Moon and mining of He3 will have begun. This will be a joint Chinese / Indian venture.
Broadcast television will have finally stopped. Thousands of entertainment channels and viewing options will flood consumers with options. While a few will still go viral and become huge financial success stories, these will tend to be kitten video collections, while real quality entertainment will find it harder to find an audience. Startup shows will take a long time to grow a loyal audience, but as they do, the ability to keep selling previous episodes along side current ones means new viewers will be able to catch up, and as ratings rise, overall revenues will rise as well.
A joint mission to Mars will have been accomplished by a consortium of world governments. Probably sent to rescue a mars colony established by commercial reality TV folks.
Someone, somewhere, will have been breeding dogs that are smarter and smarter. In about 50 years, dogs as smart as teenagers prove especially troublesome.
Despite troubling warning signs and exclamations of imminent collapse, the United States of America will still exist, and have a robust economy.
After the death of President Putin, the Russian Federation endures a string of dictators until a new revolution takes place. After shedding more territory, the remaining Russia will emerge as a real democracy.
The European Union, in response to the situation in Russia, finally adopts a constitution, creating a federal system of government with shared sovereignty among the member states.
From the standpoint of half a century, the slow moving democratic reforms taking place in China will almost be noticeable by the world at large, but will benefit billions of Chinese in their everyday life.
The African Union will begin making moves to transform into a more unified government in a similar manner to the EU. They will have a much harder time of it than Europe did.
The South American Union will have overtaken both the AU and the EU in solidarity, with most of the world looking at it as a United States of South America.
In Canada, the Northwest territories will get a better name, and Nunavut will become a province.
After the death of Kim Jong-Un, China will negotiate a trade and mutual protection treaty with South Korea, and allow the DPRK to be merged back into Korea. This will probably be accomplished with more than a little deception and a dramatic betrayal of the northern leadership. However once the dust settles, North Koreans will express their undying love for the Chinese.