This article lists predictions for future homes from long ago that have proved inaccurate in the time since.
Throughout the history of the past, we have been fascinated by the potential for the future. Science fiction writers, futurists and philosophers have thus dedicated years of their lives to trying to accurately predict what our future will hold and often these predictions have revolved around the things closest to us – such as our homes.
In fact almost every science fiction story or film will at some point touch on potential innovations around the home, and it can be at once amusing and enlightening to look at some of these older works now to assess what they got right and what they got wrong… Let’s take a look at some of the interesting guesses for the future that were either not-quite there or completely off the mark.
Isaac Asimov was the writer who gave us I, Robot and in 1964 he made a prediction for what our future would look like in 2014. His predictions regarding the home included walls that would ‘glow’ in order to provide light, and that could be touched in order to change the colour.
This is a nice concept but hasn’t really come into fruition – most of us today still use paint, although research is being conducted into genetically-altered algae that can be used in paint in order to provide a very energy-efficient source of luminescence for our streets.
Another prediction Asimov made was that we would have entirely automated kitchens – we’d be able to ‘order’ the food we wanted the night before we went to bed, and then wake up the next day in order to find it ready and waiting for us. Again this hasn’t really happened – though most of us do have timers on our coffee machines which we can seldom be bothered to use.
Finally, Asimov suggested that TVs would fill our entire walls – almost there – and that we’d also have the option of glass cubes for ‘3D viewing’. I guess 3D TVs are similar to that concept, and actually there are some developments being made regarding 3D images that allow you to view from multiple angles. And one thing he got right? Robots wouldn’t be widespread by now.
Of course one of the best-known science fiction futures is that of George Orwell’s 1984. In this books, Orwell imagines a dystopian future where our every move is surveyed by ‘Big Brother’, and where our TV sets are capable of watching us as well as the reverse.
Of course this hasn’t quite come to fruition, though interestingly it did provide inspiration for the reality TV program ‘Big Brother’. The government has also been known to hack into our e-mails accounts according to the recent revelations of Snowden, and now the Xbox One has it’s ‘always on’ Kinect this does raise some much more interesting potential privacy issues.
Though it’s only a cartoon, the Jetsons is still an interesting glimpse into a potential future that had some fun ideas. Robot servants, homes on giant stilts in the sky, and video conferencing were all predictions of things to come. And at least one of these predictions has turned out to be accurate… which is slightly more than we can say of Asimov’s ideas!