Isaac Asimov Predicts in 1964 What the World Will Look Like Today


Paint­ing of Asi­mov on his throne by Rowe­na Morill, via Wiki­me­dia Com­mons

When New York City host­ed The World’s Fair in 1964, Isaac Asi­mov, the pro­lif­ic sci-fi author and pro­fes­sor of bio­chem­istry at Boston Uni­ver­si­ty, took the oppor­tu­ni­ty to won­der what the world would look like 50 years hence — assum­ing the world sur­vived the nuclear threats of the Cold War. Writ­ing in The New York Times, Asi­mov imag­ined a world that you might part­ly rec­og­nize today, a world where:

  • “Gad­getry will con­tin­ue to relieve mankind of tedious jobs. Kitchen units will be devised that will pre­pare ‘automeals,’ heat­ing water and con­vert­ing it to cof­fee; toast­ing bread; fry­ing, poach­ing or scram­bling eggs, grilling bacon, and so on. Break­fasts will be ‘ordered’ the night before to be ready by a spec­i­fied hour the next morn­ing.”
  • “Com­mu­ni­ca­tions will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the per­son you tele­phone. The screen can be used not only to see the peo­ple you call but also for study­ing doc­u­ments and pho­tographs and read­ing pas­sages from books. Syn­chro­nous satel­lites, hov­er­ing in space will make it pos­si­ble for you to direct-dial any spot on earth, includ­ing the weath­er sta­tions in Antarc­ti­ca.”
  • “[M]en will con­tin­ue to with­draw from nature in order to cre­ate an envi­ron­ment that will suit them bet­ter. By 2014, elec­tro­lu­mi­nes­cent pan­els will be in com­mon use. Ceil­ings and walls will glow soft­ly, and in a vari­ety of col­ors that will change at the touch of a push but­ton.”
  • “Robots will nei­ther be com­mon nor very good in 2014, but they will be in exis­tence.”
  • “The appli­ances of 2014 will have no elec­tric cords, of course, for they will be pow­ered by long- lived bat­ter­ies run­ning on radioiso­topes.”
  • “[H]ighways … in the more advanced sec­tions of the world will have passed their peak in 2014; there will be increas­ing empha­sis on trans­porta­tion that makes the least pos­si­ble con­tact with the sur­face. There will be air­craft, of course, but even ground trav­el will increas­ing­ly take to the air a foot or two off the ground.”
  • “[V]ehicles with ‘Robot-brains’ … can be set for par­tic­u­lar des­ti­na­tions … that will then pro­ceed there with­out inter­fer­ence by the slow reflex­es of a human dri­ver.”
  • “[W]all screens will have replaced the ordi­nary set; but trans­par­ent cubes will be mak­ing their appear­ance in which three-dimen­sion­al view­ing will be pos­si­ble.”
  • “[T]he world pop­u­la­tion will be 6,500,000,000 and the pop­u­la­tion of the Unit­ed States will be 350,000,000.” And lat­er he warns that if the pop­u­la­tion growth con­tin­ues unchecked, “All earth will be a sin­gle choked Man­hat­tan by A.D. 2450 and soci­ety will col­lapse long before that!” As a result, “There will, there­fore, be a world­wide pro­pa­gan­da dri­ve in favor of birth con­trol by ratio­nal and humane meth­ods and, by 2014, it will undoubt­ed­ly have tak­en seri­ous effect.” [See our Walt Dis­ney Fam­i­ly Plan­ning car­toon from ear­li­er this week.]
  • “Ordi­nary agri­cul­ture will keep up with great dif­fi­cul­ty and there will be ‘farms’ turn­ing to the more effi­cient micro-organ­isms. Processed yeast and algae prod­ucts will be avail­able in a vari­ety of fla­vors.”
  • “The world of A.D. 2014 will have few rou­tine jobs that can­not be done bet­ter by some machine than by any human being. Mankind will there­fore have become large­ly a race of machine ten­ders. Schools will have to be ori­ent­ed in this direc­tion.… All the high-school stu­dents will be taught the fun­da­men­tals of com­put­er tech­nol­o­gy will become pro­fi­cient in bina­ry arith­metic and will be trained to per­fec­tion in the use of the com­put­er lan­guages that will have devel­oped out of those like the con­tem­po­rary “For­tran.”
  • “[M]ankind will suf­fer bad­ly from the dis­ease of bore­dom, a dis­ease spread­ing more wide­ly each year and grow­ing in inten­si­ty. This will have seri­ous men­tal, emo­tion­al and soci­o­log­i­cal con­se­quences, and I dare say that psy­chi­a­try will be far and away the most impor­tant med­ical spe­cial­ty in 2014.”
  •  “[T]he most glo­ri­ous sin­gle word in the vocab­u­lary will have become work!” in our “a soci­ety of enforced leisure.”

Isaac Asi­mov was­n’t the only per­son dur­ing the 60s who peered into the future in a fair­ly pre­scient way. You can find a few more on-the-mark pre­dic­tions from con­tem­po­raries below:

Arthur C. Clarke Pre­dicts the Future in 1964 … And Kind of Nails It

Wal­ter Cronkite Imag­ines the Home of the 21st Cen­tu­ry … Back in 1967

The Inter­net Imag­ined in 1969

Mar­shall McLuhan Announces That The World is a Glob­al Vil­lage

Note: This post orig­i­nal­ly appeared on Open Cul­ture last August. If there was ever a time to show it again, it’s today. So, with your indul­gence, we’re giv­ing it an encore per­for­mance. 

Don’t miss any­thing from Open Cul­ture in 2014. Sign up for our Dai­ly Email or RSS Feed. And we’ll send cul­tur­al curiosi­ties your way, every day.

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Comments (71)
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  • Subhayan Mukerjee says:

    Sor­ry to spam, but I felt like shar­ing this, that I wrote a near-iden­ti­cal post on my blog, on the same top­ic, a few days back.

  • Rose McDonald says:

    Wow! Just wow!

  • Flu antic says:

    Pret­ty Much, RIGHT ON THE MARK !

  • stuart says:

    All the proof is in films

  • Jay says:

    Right on the mark? Real­ly?

    There were only 3–4 of those that he was right on — and even some of those, you’ve got to stretch the truth a bit…

  • Sunwoo says:

    Which ones would you say were not ‘right on’? Most of these are actu­al­ly true.

  • Sanae says:

    So true

  • Stu says:

    Wow, sad­ly we don’t live in a soci­ety of false leisure; nor does any­one pre­order their break­fast or have high­ways reached their peak in favour of fly­ing cars.

  • Steve Ardire says:

    my fav “The world of A.D. 2014 will have few rou­tine jobs that can­not be done bet­ter by some machine than by any human being”

  • Lisa says:

    As far as the break­fast mak­ing itself… there are pro­gram­ma­ble cof­fee mak­ers!
    And for liv­ing in false leisure or not… as a kid, I played in the gar­den while my fam­i­ly worked so we could have food on the table. Now days kids would­n’t do that because their video game might get dirty! But my grand­ma remem­bers being the kid and doing work along side of her mama and dad­dy. No play­ing in the dirt or on the video games!!!

  • Laurel L. Russwurm says:

    Ike was an opti­mist who thought those in pow­er would seek to use sci­ence to make the world a bet­ter place. These pre­dic­tions weigh in at a time when his gov­ern­ment still attempt­ed to reflect the will of the peo­ple over the will of the multi­na­tion­al cor­po­ra­tion.

    For instance:

    “The appli­ances of 2014 will have no elec­tric cords, of course, for they will be pow­ered by long- lived bat­ter­ies run­ning on radioiso­topes.”

    *could* be true but for the cor­po­rate greed. What thet gets us is Pro­pri­etary non-stan­dard bat­ter­ies that delib­er­ate­ly don’t work well. My near­ly 10 year old dig­i­tal cam­era runs on rechar­gable AA bat­ter­ies, unlike “new improved” cam­eras which instead tie dig­i­tal devices to expen­sive recharge­ables that arti­fi­cial­ly make the device obso­lete when the man­u­fac­tur­er choos­es to stop sup­port­ing the bat­tery. Thus you have to invest in lots of the over­priced non-stan­dard bat­ter­ies (increas­ing prof­its) or junk your device more fre­quent­ly (increas­ing prof­its). Has any­one noticed the irony that any cof­fee shop filled with peo­ple work­ing on their lap­tops also has to be equipped with elec­tri­cal out­lets because the bat­ter­ies are so use­less? I’m lucky if my cur­rent “smart­phone” can hold a charge for a whole day, my old one could mange triple that.

  • bengineer says:

    which ones were not on the mark?
    #1 auto­break­fast
    #3 elec­tro­lu­mi­nes­cent pan­els for light­ing (unless you count flat-screen TVs, but he has a sep­a­rate, accu­rate pre­dic­tion for those)
    #5 cord­less radio-iso­tope pow­ered appli­ances (more is bat­tery pow­ered now but still con­ven­tion­al elec­tro­chem­i­cal; atom­ic pow­er isn’t what they hoped it would be)
    #6 few­er high­ways, fly­ing cars com­mon
    #9 glob­al birth con­trol cam­paign (In the US this has gone back­wards; Chi­na is relax­ing its 1 child pol­i­cy)
    #11 few rou­tine jobs (tell that to Fox­conn work­ers, Bangladeshi cloth­ing mak­ers, super­mar­ket cashiers and shelf-stock­ers…)
    The last two are debat­able. It’s still only the wealthy who live the “lotus lifestyle”. If the word “work” is glo­ri­ous it’s only because, for the vast major­i­ty of peo­ple, des­ti­tu­tion, not exces­sive leisure, is the alter­na­tive.

  • Dan Simonds says:

    Lets not for­get Paul Har­vey. He spoke on the radio in 1965 about “If I Were The Dev­il” and here we are in 2014 and every­thing has come to pass. You can hear it on youtube.

  • John Fowler says:

    For the peo­ple say­ing he was spot-on, how many kids do you know that are “pro­fi­cient in bina­ry arith­metic” or farms that focus main­ly on rais­ing micro-organ­isms? Do you pro­gram your break­fast the night before to be ready the next morn­ing? What’s it like with an auto­mat­ic egg poach­er in every kitchen? Or your refrig­er­a­tor and tele­vi­sion that has no cord and runs on radioac­tive iso­topes? How are your glow­ing walls work­ing, since they’ve replaced lamps and ceil­ing fix­tures? How much did you pay for your float­ing car that does­n’t touch the road?

    Your exhibit­ing con­fir­ma­tion bias. You remem­ber the cou­ple bulls-eyes and for­get the miss­es, and the text is only inch­es above what you’re post­ing. How could you be so wrong so quick­ly?

  • Peter Vollan says:

    One of the things he missed is dis­pos­abil­i­ty: those nuclear bat­ter­ies exist, they can last for like 100 years and are used in space probes, remote arc­tic out­posts and so on. Appli­ances are not meant to last that long, they are meant to wear out so that they can sell you anoth­er one. I am still using my grand­fa­ther’s vac­u­um clean­er, while the new­er plas­tic stuff just breaks apart. (Lucky for Asi­mov that the self dri­ving car is here in the nick of time)

  • mike says:

    yeah more wrong than right if you ask me.


    Pret­ty impres­sive job by Asi­mov if you ask me. I wish he dealt more with the issue of soci­etal col­lapse. He wor­ried about over­pop­u­la­tion because he did not the BEST form of birth con­trol on earth: BIG GOVT which leads invari­ably to mas­sive infla­tion and crush­ing tax­es.


    Pret­ty impres­sive job by Asi­mov if you ask me. I wish he dealt more with the issue of soci­etal col­lapse. He wor­ried about over­pop­u­la­tion because he did not real­ize the BEST form of birth con­trol on earth: BIG GOVT which leads invari­ably to mas­sive infla­tion and crush­ing tax­es.

  • SHarrison says:

    He was close on that word…not work…twerk.

  • RKarath says:

    I met him and kissed him at World­Con 1974 in Wash­ing­ton DC. Now I just miss him, and a lot of oth­ers.

  • Incremental Jones says:

    My auto break­fast is bet­ter than Asi­mov’s idea of order­ing it the night before for a spe­cif­ic time. I pop a frozen break­fast of scram­bled eggs and bacon into the sci­ence oven and 2 min­utes lat­er, instant break­fast!

  • Dylan Wyn says:

    Have around 60 of his books in my col­lec­tion, inspired visions from a great author that infused my imag­i­na­tion from the age of 12. I am now 52, and start­ed re read­ing a lot of the books. The strik­ing thing is, that the val­ues he espoused are ones I have adopt­ed as a moral code, unwit­ting­ly, fas­ci­na­tion at his writ­ings still endures.

  • GalacticDomin8r says:


    Pret­ty fun­ny since Asi­mov advo­cat­ed pret­ty much the BIGGEST GOVT in sci fi his­to­ry and showed how well it can work when idiots aren’t allowed to inter­fere.

  • ratnsh says:

    The peo­ple who can inci­sion the world ahead makes the cur­rent world enrich­ing in the same direc­tion. The world Would real­ly be much more live­able with the vis­i­bil­i­ty approach by all of us.

  • Greg says:

    Asi­mov like oth­er SF writ­ers in the 40s and 50s thought the ben­e­fits of automa­tion would be shared and boy were they wrong! They thought the unions would buy robot­ic and oth­er auto­mat­ed equip­ment to lease back to cor­po­ra­tions. The mon­ey earned would be paid to work­ers who’s hours would be reduced over time as the equip­ment was devel­oped. Even­tu­al­ly every­one work­ing in an automat­i­ble indus­try (and their descen­dants) would retire, liv­ing off the income. But the unions were destroyed and the work­ing class suf­fer more depre­da­tions ever day at the hands of the greedy slave-dri­vers who run our coun­try.

  • Rhonda Shepard says:

    If schol­ars would have only lis­tened to him years ago, we could have elim­i­nat­ed a lot of pain and suf­fer­ing in the last 50 years.
    Peo­ple are nar­row mind­ed to a fault.

  • Warren says:

    Sor­ry- remark­able in its gen­er­al­i­ty and unim­pres­sive­ness. Almost none are on the mark, and even those require quite a stretch.

  • Bob says:

    Here’s the over­rid­ing theme about Asi­mov or any oth­er SF writer’s pre­dic­tions. They get the tech­nol­o­gy part gen­er­al­ly right but the adop­tion part wrong, because they assume that the exis­tence of a use­ful tech­nol­o­gy auto­mat­i­cal­ly equates to its wide­spread adop­tion. They don’t real­ly see the mar­ket or polit­i­cal forces that stand in the way of things like robot­ics and fly­ing cars and such.

  • Harkonnen says:

    I would say that he was too spe­cif­ic in his pre­dic­tions. Cer­tain­ly his more gen­er­al remarks are accu­rate, but oth­er­wise he was off the mark.

  • Al Ayla says:

    For a bal­anced view, how many pre­dic­tions that are way off did­n’t make it to this list?

  • Philip Sajeesh says:


  • Jellifer says:

    Enforced leisure- themed amuse­ment parks, malls, etc. that make you spend mon­ey & at the end of it all you’re still unsat­is­fied.

  • Nick Hood-Powell says:

    Future pre­dic­tion, sin­gu­lar­i­ty ver­sus plu­ral­i­ty …

  • Ron says:

    If we were all in 1964 could any of us made such pre­dic­tions. We would have more of these advance­ments but we are oppressed by a monetary(greed) sys­tem.

  • Zoltan says:

    “Sor­ry- remark­able in its gen­er­al­i­ty and unim­pres­sive­ness. Almost none are on the mark, and even those require quite a stretch.”

    Real­ly? I’d say most of them were pret­ty close. Ok, some of them aren’t accu­rate:

    * Radioiso­tope pow­er isn’t around.
    * No fly­ing cars, fair enough

    The rest is pret­ty accu­rate, the West­ern world is com­plete­ly relient on automa­tion of one sort or anoth­er.
    You must remem­ber this was writ­ten from a West­ern point of view.

    Bore­dom is absolute­ly true unfor­tu­nate­ly, our cul­ture is entire­ly based on enter­tain­ment. Yes, you still need to work but oth­er­wise it’s all about the week­end, or the next hol­i­day or the next mod­el TV.

  • Tom Fisher says:

    I, too attend­ed the 1964 World’s Fair in New York with my broth­er. I was a col­lege kid at the time. I can clear­ly remem­ber what things were like back then 50 years ago; things are not much dif­fer­ent today.

    Biggest change has been in com­mu­ni­ca­tion with PCs, cell phones, devel­op­ing social media, and in med­ical treat­ment.

    Pop­u­lar Sci­ence mag­a­zine wrote in the 60’s about cars mov­ing along ele­vat­ed a foot off the ground, pro­gramed to a des­ti­na­tion with no dri­ver. It did­n’t seem real­is­tic, or desir­able back then, and not so even today.

    Nev­er any talk that I can remem­ber about radioiso­tope bat­tery pow­er for appli­ances. All bat­ter­ies even­tu­al­ly leak. Who would want to have bat­ter­ies leak­ing radio active mate­r­i­al in your house? A real­ly bad idea.

    Hang­ing a TV screen on the wall like a pic­ture was talked about then, and has come true today.

    My dream for the next 50 years is to devel­op cheap pow­er, with far less reliance on petro­le­um.

  • Priscilla Winslow says:

    He did not fore­see that the actu­al prac­tice of psychiatry/psychotherapy/voodoo would just about dis­ap­pear and be replaced by use­less, nox­ious, dan­ger­ous drugs/placebos.

    Not sure why he gave so much cred­it to the “med­ical prac­tice of psy­chi­a­try.” It’s been pret­ty much put out to pas­ture, by psy­chi­a­trists them­selves (even though there are still a lot of crazy peo­ple). It’s a lot more lucra­tive to see some­one for 5 min­utes and renew a Rx.

  • jj says:

    Look­ing at that pho­to, I won­der if he ever pre­dict­ed his mut­ton-chops and longish hair, a scant 10 years lat­er?
    Pre­dict­ing the future is a fools game, with unfore­see­able changes. Can you imag­ine atom­ic bat­ter­ies, in this age of ter­ror­ism?
    Last week, my wife and I were talk­ing about life before the Net. This is one of the few things that have real­ly changed our lives — dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tions and com­put­ers. Maybe med­i­cine, too. Oth­er than that, we aren’t liv­ing much dif­fer­ent­ly than we did in 64 — except we don’t have the Bea­t­les! ;>

  • Amanndaa says:

    Yes the ‘3D holo­graph­ic cubes’ are total­ly true bro!

  • TRoller says:

    Lots of trolls com­ment­ing here… like Aman­da and Jay.

    Get a life noobs.

  • Paul Thorne says:

    A few of these are quite close to what we have today.

    As for pre-ordered break­fast. I Some­times have done that. Order a bacon sand­wich on Thurs­day to pick up for 10am Fri­day. I used do the same about six­teen years when I worked in a garage. Then it was cheese scones. I know this is not elec­tron­ic but it can be done for reg­u­lar cus­tomers.

    I think hov­er cars are a few hun­dred years away at least. How­ev­er the bul­let train in Japan does hov­er above the rail.

    You can get robot­ic vac­u­um clean­ers but they are not very good. Round robots can­not get into cor­ners.

  • Maria Camps says:

    Inspired & con­nect­ed clear fore­sight.

  • Kyguy says:

    Well our sky­train works just fine here in Van­cou­ver. There’s a huge push to move away from the car and the high­ways. So for where I live it sounds on to me…

  • John Hildeburn says:

    Re: last pre­dic­tion about work and enforced leisure. Clear­ly the author has nev­er been to France (or Italy, Spain, Greece, Por­tu­gal, Argenti­na…)

  • Cliff says:

    Mr. Asi­mov got it right–or at least par­tial­ly right– on the major­i­ty of his pre­dic­tions. One that I found uncom­fort­ably close to accu­rate was his state­ment, ”[T]he most glo­ri­ous sin­gle word in the vocab­u­lary will have become work!” in our ”a soci­ety of enforced leisure.” The only fact he may not have under­stood was the mech­a­nism dri­ving this “enforced leisure” so many of us are ‘enjoy­ing’ today: chron­ic unem­ploy­ment, and the polit­i­cal, gov­ern­men­tal busi­ness, and indus­tri­al lack of a pos­i­tive response to deal­ing with it.

    Glow­ing wall rheo­stat-adjustable paint already exists in the labs, some of our kitchen gad­getry, such as cof­fee mak­ers and microwaves, are pro­gram­ma­ble, fly­ing cars are in devel­op­ment, as are “smart cars”, etc. And he nailed food pro­duc­tion prob­lems and world and U.S. pop­u­la­tion pret­ty close­ly from 50 years out.

    Mr. Asi­mov was a bril­liant thinker. Don’t take my word for it; read some of his books.

  • Adam says:

    What @John Fowler said.

  • Mika says:

    I have always loved Issac Asimov…since I first dis­cov­ered him as a young teenag­er. Read­ing this makes one won­der if he time trav­elled.

  • Eseris says:

    ”[T]he most glo­ri­ous sin­gle word in the vocab­u­lary will have become work!” in our ”a soci­ety of enforced leisure.”

    He was close. What he meant was “twerk”.

  • Ken says:

    The part that goes “Robots will nei­ther be com­mon nor very good in 2014, but they will be in exis­tence.” prob­a­bly should has said “androids” not “robots”. There are lots of robot things out there.

  • mk says:

    Which ones would you say were not ‘right on’? Most of these are actu­al­ly true.

    I’m fas­ci­nat­ed by your very low lev­el of cog­ni­tive func­tion­ing.

  • mk says:

    Mr. Asi­mov got it right–or at least par­tial­ly right– on the major­i­ty of his pre­dic­tions.

    For very small val­ues of “par­tial”.

  • laura says:

    It occurs to me that the devel­op­ers of many of our fab­u­lous tehnolo­gies may have read the works of Asi­mov, et al. and dreamed if cre­at­ing the world they pre­dict­ed. so maybe it should­n’t be too much of a sur­prise that the world hss turned out the way they pre­dict­ed. pret­ty cool to see dreams come true

  • Ben says:

    His ear­li­er work was pret­ty accu­rate, short sto­ries he wrote in the 40’s and 50’s depict­ing the inter­net and super­com­put­ers and that chil­dren were no longer taught basic arith­mat­ic instead rely­ing on com­put­ers. He seems to have changed his mind by the 60,s

  • Scott says:

    “No fly­ing cars, fair enough” — there is a com­pa­ny that has a pro­to­type named Ter­rafu­gia — Google it. I think this guys has way more right than wrong.

  • Gordon says:

    Remem­ber, Asi­mov is using the sci­en­tif­ic vocab­u­lary & knowl­edge of the 60s. While it could be argued Asi­mov’s crys­tal ball read­ing isn’t 100% spot on, con­cep­tu­al thought of how much of the devel­oped world would oper­ate 50 years in the future — I think he is amaz­ing­ly one tar­get. Is he exact? No. Is he close in many areas? Yes. Think robot­ics, wifi, smart phones, dri­ve-thrus (rather than kitchens) for pre-ordered meals, etc. These are a dai­ly part of our lives, and I think that’s where his thoughts are on tar­get.

  • Stiefken says:

    Thank you.

  • Manas says:

    A true vision­ary. .. pre­dict­ed the pop­u­la­tion so pre­cise­ly. ..

  • Robert Barrett says:

    Chalk me up as one who does­n’t think this stuff was pre­scient, or even sim­i­lar in spir­it to the real­i­ty of 2014. I think it was naive­ly opti­mistic and philo­soph­i­cal­ly flawed. I’ll give him cred­it for try­ing to be ratio­nal in his pre­dic­tions, but that’s about it.

    Empha­sis on trans­porta­tion with the least sur­face con­tact? Hel­lo, the whole world is a park­ing lot. You can’t twist enough politi­cians’ arms to build a decent rail sys­tem in this sup­pos­ed­ly most advanced coun­try on Earth. Green ener­gy solu­tions are all fine and dandy on paper, but they’re not con­sid­ered eco­nom­i­cal­ly prof­itable in the short term, so they don’t get imple­ment­ed on any large scale.

    Kids pro­fi­cient in bina­ry math? Try kids pro­fi­cient in tex­ting.

    Auto­break­fast? Why the hell is every­one say­ing oh yes, auto­break­fast was so spot-on? I nev­er had any damn auto­break­fast. Hav­ing some­one else cook it for you was­n’t exact­ly what Asi­mov meant by auto­break­fast, you know. Microwav­ing a break­fast bur­ri­to does­n’t quite get it, either.

    A push for birth con­trol? Try an absurd push to REPEAL any progress on that top­ic — said push actu­al­ly get­ting kooks elect­ed.

    I know every­one loves Asi­mov, but I’ve nev­er found him all that pro­found, sor­ry. THREE laws of robot­ics? Just three? Seri­ous­ly?

    REALLY? Noth­ing could pos­si­bly go wrong with THREE laws. Sheesh.

  • Eileen Jackson says:

    Did­n’t any­one pre­dict cli­mate change? What about the pop­u­la­tion bomb?

  • sherpeace says:

    So … where are those long-lived bat­ter­ies he is talk­ing about?
    I am tired of spend­ing so much mon­ey on bat­ter­ies! ;-( …

  • Sten says:

    What do you mean “right on”? He got most of it wrong!

    The kitchen appli­ances that pre­pare break­fast was wrong.

    You still don’t see the per­son you’re talk­ing too, usu­al­ly, and most calls go on the ground, not by satel­lite. Only the part about view­ing doc­u­ments was spot on.

    Things still have elec­tric cords — no iso­tope bat­ter­ies. Bat­ter­ies for mobiles you charge every night.

    Glow­ing ceil­ings and walls…? Come on!

    Fly­ing a few feet off the ground instead of high­ways…? Come on!! Back to the future…?

    Vehi­cles with “robot brains” tak­ing us auto­mat­i­cal­ly to a loca­tion are still on the draw­ing board.

    Trans­par­ent cubes for 3D? Not in every­ones’s home, if any­where! If you stretch it you could call the flat-screens view­ing on the wall, and they are start­ing to be 3D, but…

    Farms using microor­gan­isms? Not as far as I see in my super­mar­ket!

    Rou­tine jobs dis­ap­pear­ing? Part­ly in indus­try, yes, but hard­ly in ser­vice jobs…

    Far from all stu­dents learn pro­gram­ming lan­guages. They aren’t need­ed to use com­put­ers…

    Robots not only exist, they are huge­ly used in indus­try. He was maybe cor­rect in that they don’t exist as house ser­vants, as in sci-fi movies. But they are the base of the indus­try.

    What he got right:

    - Gad­gets (but not prepar­ing food, for com­mu­ni­ca­tion).

    - Com­mu­ni­ca­tion in doc­u­ments (Inter­net)

    - Indus­try work is machine-ten­der­ing (but far from all)

    - The bore­dom.

    That’s about it

  • Jawad says:

    Fair points from fel­low read­ers but under­stand the con­text it has been writ­ten. Yes, many of his pre­dic­tions may be some­what off pre­ci­sion but the ques­tion posed was what the world would look like in 2014.

    Every­thing men­tioned in the list is either being looked into or alter­na­tive means and meth­ods devel­oped.

    Let’s take see­ing the per­son when speak­ing to them; Face­Time, Skype. We may not use these resources dai­ly or build them into ‘every­day’ life but the fact it exists is tes­ta­ment he has pre­dict­ed cor­rect­ly.

    Cred­it due to such an inspir­ing and for­ward think­ing indi­vid­ual.

  • Greg says:

    Ya’ got­ta love all the nit­pick­ers and naysay­ers post­ing in the com­ments about how inac­cu­rate Asi­mov was in pre­dict­ing what might come 1/2 cen­tu­ry into the future.

    I would love to see what all those crit­ics are will­ing to pre­dict about the world as it might be in 2064.

    Thanks to Dr. Asi­mov and his brethren, my imag­i­na­tion soared in the 50’s and 60’s…and it has­n’t come back to Earth yet, 60 years lat­er.

  • Sally Edelstein says:

    The new year has always been the tra­di­tion­al time for crys­tal ball gaz­ing offer­ing tan­ta­liz­ing pre­dic­tion for our imag­ined future. Stum­bling across an arti­cle from n Jan­u­ary of 1956 in which they look ahead 20 years ven­tur­ing a guess at what we might find in a 1975 home, the pre­dic­tions are both accu­rate, fan­ci­ful and amus­ing

  • Cherrix says:

    No offence, but some of the com­ments here are pret­ty nar­row mind­ed and unwor­thy of the per­son­al­i­ty of Asi­mov. It is tru­ly a pity, I believe, to waste neu­rons, when they seem to be already in short sup­ply for some peo­ple, on this top­ic. Yeah, Asi­mov said your car would be float­ing about this year and it does not. What a fool, Asi­mov, you might have just out­smart­ed him!
    I per­son­al­ly am thank­ful for the chance I’ve had 25 years ago to read a few of his books. They’ve shaped me, made me dream my future and where my incen­tive to become what I’ve dreamt I would.
    Asi­mov was a genius and a vision­ary, and he wrote a guide­line of sci­ence and morals for many great peo­ple to which you owe your world wide web, smart phone, kitchen robots…
    He was not in the busi­ness of guess­ing our future at all!
    So it does not real­ly mat­ter how accu­rate he was in details. It does mat­ter he thought of the unthink­able in terms of tech­nol­o­gy at that time, and he did so with a set of val­ues few of us have any­more. He (and oth­er great vision­ar­ies of his gen­er­a­tion) brought into the world 50 years ago the seeds of our present com­modi­ties.
    Our par­ents watered them and now we har­vest.
    We should hope our gen­er­a­tion will put some good seeds for the future!

  • Eliseo Martinez says:

    LOVED … Mr Isaac Asi­mov prophet XX CENTURY .

  • Jewels Vern says:

    “All earth will be a sin­gle choked Man­hat­tan by A.D. 2450 and soci­ety will col­lapse long before that!”

    It only takes a minute of doo­dling to fig­ure out that the entire world pop­u­la­tion could live in Texas with the same den­si­ty as New York City: 1200 square feet per per­son. Mr. Asi­mov wrote some nice sto­ries, but he blew this one. “Over­pop­u­la­tion” is a code phrase for “Let’s kill some­thing!”

  • Elena says:

    Actu­al­ly fly­ing cars are a real­i­ty now. You can buy them for $50,000 USD. They have three motors and are shaped–you guessed it–like a fly­ing saucer. Not sure if that made the design more effi­cient or if it was just some­one’s sense of humor at play!

    Any­way, whether most of his pre­dic­tions are cor­rect or not, it’s fas­ci­nat­ing that a man of sci­ence came close on some of them! How many of us could have done the same?

  • Laura Ess says:

    “Kitchen units will be devised that will pre­pare ‘automeals,’ heat­ing water and con­vert­ing it to cof­fee; toast­ing bread; fry­ing, poach­ing or scram­bling eggs, grilling bacon, and so on.”

    Did they not have instant cof­fee in 1964?

  • jeffmason says:

    Shoul­da done it like Nos­tradamus, less spe­cif­ic. Would have had every one of those right.

  • Marie says:

    Of course he pre­dict­ed this because he was and is one of the plan­ners.

    Star Trek was writ­ten by NASA Sci­en­tists.… Gene Rod­den­ber­ry was CIA and. Sci­en­tist!

    It’s called pre­dic­tive pro­gram­ming… peo­ple.

    Wake up and uni­fy in com­mu­ni­ty to take down the Glob­al Cabal!

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.