This is What The 1940's Thought 2011 Would Look Like

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This is What The 1940's Thought 2011 Would Look Like

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Some of the predictions from the Showa-era Japanese newspaper are surprisingly accurate, while others are hilariously wrong.

These photos surfaced recently on the Vipper forums, and give an insight into what the people of Showa-era Japan thought the future would look like. Some of the predictions are actually pretty spot-on, while others are hilarious Jetsons level fallacies.

In the photo to the right, we can see "2011" Tokyo, where tutus are the most fashionable form of clothing, cars are both capable of flight and disappointment, and video-screens show space colonization efforts. However, if you look off into the distance, you can see some planes utilizing vertical take-off, technology that has actually been invented since.

Another photo shows a classroom, featuring discipline robots that smack kids with a red ball on a stick when they make a mistake. Touch-screen computers are in use in the classroom (something that is now happening) and the teacher has been replaced with a slideshow.

Other photos accurately predict sprinkler systems, automated fire alarms, Roombas, 3-D televisions, and teleconferencing, but also make some bold claims on mobile tables that bring dinner to you, automatic clothes irons, and more wacky fashion statements.

Some members of the Vipper community were spurred on by the pictures to make their own predictions of what the year 3013 may have in store:

"Robots will be smarter than us."

"Endangered species will make a comeback."

"Humans will no longer have chins."

"Human legs will become too weak from over-reliance on elevators, chairs and cars, and degenerate into slug-like appendages."

How about you? What do you think the future of 3013 holds in store for the human race (that is of course if we don't all nuke each other to death before that)?

Source: Vippers (Japanese) via Rocket News 24

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I love how whenever I see one of these how the future would look things that somehow even though everything looks futuristic but in actuality it is way more under developed than what today actually is.

Honestly, I would love to go back in time and just show people the wonders of current technology like tablets and smart phones.

In the year 3013, we will no longer be using Jesus's birth as a reference point.

In the year 3013 Valve will announce that they are making Half-Life 2 Episode 3/Half-Life 3, and that it will come out on February 32 of that year. XD

Neronium:
In the year 3013 Valve will announce that they are making Half-Life 2 Episode 3/Half-Life 3, and that it will come out on February 32 of that year. XD

Along with the Last Guardian on the Steambox.

I don't know, looks like Japan to me alright. Especially if you take that one with the flying car out.

and the teacher has been replaced with a slideshow

This level of accuracy is 2spooky4me

I like to thing we're doing better than what was predicted. Sure we don't have flying cars, but we do have the Internet and small devices that can access porn anywhere. Anyone who would trade instant porn for flying cars has failed our species

In 3013 we'll connect all our minds together like the geth or something. World peace and all that stuff will follow

I guess I'll make the most realistic prediction:

In 3013, people will be laughing at the ridiculous predictions those backwards putzes in 2013 were making. I mean, what did they know, walking around having to carry communication devices instead of being linked to the NeuraNet.

By the year 3013, I will be dead, and unable to care what happened in said time period.

I love the first image, if you get the answer wrong they have programmed automatic child beating machines.

Another photo shows a classroom, featuring discipline robots that smack kids with a red ball on a stick when they make a mistake.

I...wat o_O
That is BRILLIANT! Then teachers can't possibly be accused of using corporate punishment, just blame it on the discipline robots :D

"Robots will be smarter than us."

Urgh, that's a pretty vague statement. Robots ARE already smarter than us in many ways, especially when it comes to doing math-driven shit like number crunching, working with algorithms and puzzle solving. Google's algorithm could almost be called a sentient AI :P

But the "human" kind of smart, i.e. emotional intelligence, is something that robots are possibly decades if not centuries away from being able to comprehend. I really don't know if even waiting till the year 3000 will see robots surpassing humans in terms of emotional intelligence or brain-level complexity, because the ultimate question is this - how can a human build something more intelligent than himself, especially when we're still largely clueless about how OUR OWN BRAINS work lol? Neuroscience is still a new branch of science.

"Endangered species will make a comeback."

Hmmm this is an interesting one, I call 50/50. Either we develop the technology and methods to bring back endangered species from the brink of extinction, OR we continue down the path we're heading in now i.e. species continue to die out at an alarming rate.

"Humans will no longer have chins."

I thought that would've been obvious! :P

"Human legs will become too weak from over-reliance on elevators, chairs and cars, and degenerate into slug-like appendages."

By the year 3000? Haha no, evolution doesn't happen anywhere near that quickly! It can take 100,000 years or longer for noticeable changes to occur, and keep in mind that evolution is almost exclusively driven by the NEED or REASON to adapt/evolve. It doesn't just happen "because it has to", which is why some species of lizard/cockroach haven't budged an inch on the evolutionary scale. They reached some sort of "ideal" design a millions of years ago, a design which allowed them to survive just fine through the ages without needing to evolve further.

Maybe by the year 20,000 or 30,000 humans may have undergone a slight change in terms of weaker legs. I can definitely see something like that happening over a longer time scale, our heads are getting bigger in proportion to our bodies and arms/legs are getting weaker. On the plus side, our fingers have becoming a lot more dexterous.

As for my prediction, I'm fairly certain we're all going to nuke each other to death long before any natural disaster takes us out. It's just too damn likely.

If not that, then there's always zombies.

well they are not far off with the dresses the women are wearing i remember a skirt version of the tutu hips being around my wardrobe a couple of years ago
anyway i reckon that between now and 3013 floating cities will become a idea that can be considered without laughter what with all the polar icecaps melting and stuff
and maybe the whole 3D fad will have done another 50 cycles

Great now I feel like watching Idocracy or playing Blood Dragon now

Steven Bogos:
Another photo shows a classroom, featuring discipline robots that smack kids with a red ball on a stick when they make a mistake. Touch-screen computers are in use in the classroom (something that is now happening) and the teacher has been replaced with a slideshow.

Teacher been replaced with a slideshow? Reminds me of college where the professors just read to us power point slides some grad student had to make them.

DVS BSTrD:
In the year 3013, we will no longer be using Jesus's birth as a reference point.

Somehow I doubt we'll redefine so many years of history to appease atheists and people of other faith because now it's more of just how it's done. Imagine the amount of work and time it would take to convert digital data, and the confusion of future generations as they learn history? I imagine it would like people talking about the metric system when all you understand is the imperial system, possibly worse depending on how different it would be.

What would be the benefit of the trouble, really?

the best part is what appears to be a 1940s era iPad, hahahahah.

In the year 3013 We will be able to digitize ourselves into machines, games will be played as if we were in them and porn well become as close as it can get.

That or we become pure beings of energy.......... Then giant pillars of salt.

yeah I'll stop now before i start rambling about bending robots and mutant demons on mars.

BoogieManFL:

DVS BSTrD:
In the year 3013, we will no longer be using Jesus's birth as a reference point.

Somehow I doubt we'll redefine so many years of history to appease atheists and people of other faith because now it's more of just how it's done. Imagine the amount of work and time it would take to convert digital data, and the confusion of future generations as they learn history? I imagine it would like people talking about the metric system when all you understand is the imperial system, possibly worse depending on how different it would be.

What would be the benefit of the trouble, really?

Hopefully we'll be basing our history on a more tangible event, or humanity will have different mainstream religions by then.
Like Oprahism or Voodoo.

What is it with the jumpsuits?

I am pretty sure the article is wrong about these images being from the 1940's. Based on the images I would guess they are from the late 1950's or early 1960's. When people draw pictures of the future the technology of the day will influence how people envision the future. This is especially true when the a person is trying to envision a believable future. This leads to people taking cutting edge technology of the day and trying to extrapolate where it may go to in the future. Look at the phone in the one image and notice how similar to the old style push button phones. Push button phones like that only just started coming out in the early 1960's image The farther back you go from that point the more likely people would envisioned future phones as rotary phones like this ad from the 1940's depicting what a phone in the future may look like image

Next take a look at the class room with computers. In 1949 Popular mechanics magazine was just predicating that computers in the future may weigh as little as 1.5 tons. Computers also where not using those magnetic tape reels yet either. 1951 was the first time the magnetic tape was used to record computer data. Visually those computer styles look 1960's.

Than visually look how close it seems to match other visions of the future from the early 60's, like the Jetsons or Startrek. If these were actually from the 1940's than the predictions in these pictures turned out amazingly accurate predictions of 1960's technology and or what people in the 1960's would picture the future as.

the Showa-era is broken down into two parts pre and post 1945 so that could be where the mistake was made, depending on how the article was written (for example if the article originally said the pictures where done 20 years into the Showa-era for the state of Japan would be 1960 while counting 20 years from the begging of the Showa-era that would be 1946)

I would have done much better in school I think if there had been disiplin robots to beat me when I answered something wrong...

JSF01:
snip

You're probably right, and 1961 would also help in the sense that it would be "50 years into the future".

well the robots reflect their culture if anything. even now teachers are given nore freedom than parents when it comes to physically punishing children, so back then envisioning something liek this may have seemt right.

In the year 3013, we'll all be wearing jumpsuits and we live in space. We'll run into another space faring intelligence, but our long, violent history makes every skirmish we had with them laughably one-sided, and slowly but surely, humanity is scattering across the stars, aided by our robotic brothers and sisters.

And since we are humans, we take our eco system with us. New Earths are being born, and for some reason the dominant life form in the galaxy is the humble brown rat, who came with us wherever we went.

At the very least they predicted the fashion sense the '70s would have.

I think the human race will be long dead by then, if we haven't managed to colonize other planets. Also, why is it 1940 - 2011, which is less than a hundred years, but then it's suddenly 2011 - 3013, which is more than a thousand??

No chins in the future? I guess no one could have predicted Bruce Campbell.....

Interesting article. Looking at the photos they remind me of posters you'd find in Fallout series.

Yea...something tells me we are well beyond what they thought we would be at in 2011.

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image

image

Sure we don't have flying cars everywhere but to be honest people have already created flying cars http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/aviation/diy-flying/top-10-attempts-to-build-a-flying-car?click=pp#slide-7 but they just aren't feasible, but they exist. I don't think anyone ever expected something like the internet to have been created that is one of those pieces of tech that I don't think we really saw coming. I think in 3013 if technology continues to innovate without some massive cataclysmic event halting progress, we will probably have the ability to manipulate matter at the subatomic level and literally transcend any idea of "human" or "technology" all together.

I wonder if people in the 1940s predicted The Jersey Shore, The Only Way Is Essex and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo in the future? And by that I mean I wonder if people in the 1940s predicted the complete breakdown and collapse of society?

Hmmm, by the year 3013 the huddled survivors of humanity will be hunting each other for food through the mostly nature-reclaimed ruins of our cities and towns.

I say this because I feel the current left-wing sentiments will continue to dominate and retain a luddite stalemate where technology advances at a crawl for fear of too-rapid social change and being unfair to the lower classes ("The Digital Divide"), space travel will continue to be an anathema as people and politicians see it as a waste when there are "problems to be solved down here on earth" refusing to accept it as a solution. Growing populations will increase resource depletion of everything from wood to metal to food, clean water, and fossil fuels, until we wind up with so little in the way of resources that space travel and that avenue of salvation for more resources becomes impossible. The booming population and short sighted people will lead to humans literally hunting down and consuming every animal on the planet (a starving person will eat an animal in desperation as opposed to waiting for it to breed a herd). With no resources to hold things together societies will eventually collapse, decaying over the space of a few centuries as the privileged who also become the civilized in a very real sense retreat to smaller and smaller enclaves to escape the barbarian hordes before eventually being overrun. By 3013 I pretty much expect earth to be a resource depleted space rock where human barbarians will continue to degenerate for the next several billion years until the sun explodes, putting us all out of our collective misery.

See, the thing is that right now our population expands as a whole, while the planet is unable to produce the resources needed for the people that are here now. The environmentalists are pretty much right about that bit at least. Even if we solve some problems like overcoming the need for fossil fuels, things like wood and metal are in much higher demand than the planet can sustain, we're already strip mining the planet to death trying to find enough metals, and clear cutting forests faster than they can restore itself, and as more people are born, and the impoverished demand higher standards of living globally, simply producing the resources to build houses and such is becoming a serious problem. Things like recycling just don't cut it on this level given population growth.

For humanity to survive we pretty much need a drastic population reduction, like 8 out of every 10 people on earth right now to die and things to remain pretty much at that level. We also need a single world government/culture that everyone belongs to which can coordinate things, and ensure that all of our efforts can remain focused on progress, rather than duplication. Once we have that we will be in a position to move onwards into space, colonize other planets, and in the short term do things like mine asteroids for minerals to deal with the shortages here on earth. Not to mention that a single world government means we won't have to worry about blowing the living crap out of each other over who gets what resources coming down from space, and bombing each other's colonies over living rights, etc...

While I do see some steps in this direction, and people slowing coming together through the spread of ideas, it seems like most of the civilized world is unwilling to "pull the trigger" when it comes to warfare when it's necessary, not really getting that all other issues aside, anything that gets rid of vast quantities of people right now is good for humanity as a whole.

This is a very dark post, and I get that, I've said a lot of this before. I know many people will want to disagree with me, but realistically speaking this is just how things are. We know more about sociology and such than we did in the 1940s and modern communication technology lets us see the big picture with resources and the environment and such. People are inherently peaceful and don't want to deal with big issues like what I'm talking about, and just be left alone, letting the big issues take care of themselves, and really that's more or less killing us right now. As things stand now if the current trends continue we're pretty much dead. We need to seriously start getting off the planet in a scant few years (even Stephen Hawking seems to agree with this) if we have any hope at all, and truthfully I don't see even the most basic steps towards that being made. Your typical person thinks space exploration is a complete waste of time, money, and resources that could be spend staving off the effects of earthbound problems for the short term... not wanting to endure the discomfort of solving those problems in the long term. As I said your typical person will murder a cow for food right now when they are hungry, rather than holding out for a herd, enduring the discomfort and perhaps even starving to death so others can eat.... and that's going to be the end of us.

3013.... the barbaric remnants of a doomed humanity fight each other endlessly in a billions-year long cycle in which we will entirely forget what could potentially have been.

JSF01:
Snip

You are quite possibly right. The source article only had "Showa era" - I was unable to find an exact date. I had assumed it was pre-ww2 showa era going by the art style (it is very similar to a lot of WW2 propaganda posters)

Hazy992:
I wonder if people in the 1940s predicted The Jersey Shore, The Only Way Is Essex and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo in the future? And by that I mean I wonder if people in the 1940s predicted the complete breakdown and collapse of society?

Well actually the whole idea of dystopian futures was old hat even by the 1940s. HP Lovecraft and some of the authors who collaborated with him on weird tales were big on science fiction where everything turned out badly in the end or the bleak attitude that we were all doomed to the point of likely having no future. I believe one version of "Doc Savage" defined him as being "The Man Of Bronze from a future so horrible he travelled back in time to prevent it from ever occurring" a counterpoint to versions of the character that typically had him simply being trained to the peak of physical and mental perfection on a remote island or whatever. Allegedly this version of the character was the inspiration for both "Bishop" and "Cable" in the 1990s X-men comics which is why I remember it. :)

That said, even Lovecraft was unable to envision anything as horrifying as modern reality TV. :)

I'll also say that now that I'm thinking in the right mode, modern television seems pretty much like Fu Manchu's predictions about the west coming true.... should we ever have stopped him? (Looks At Chinese and Japanese Cinema... recoiling in horror from a lot of Japanese strangeness in particular) ... no... no... we were doomed either way. >:)

Coreless:
Yea...something tells me we are well beyond what they thought we would be at in 2011.

image

image

image

Sure we don't have flying cars everywhere but to be honest people have already created flying cars http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/aviation/diy-flying/top-10-attempts-to-build-a-flying-car?click=pp#slide-7 but they just aren't feasible, but they exist. I don't think anyone ever expected something like the internet to have been created that is one of those pieces of tech that I don't think we really saw coming. I think in 3013 if technology continues to innovate without some massive cataclysmic event halting progress, we will probably have the ability to manipulate matter at the subatomic level and literally transcend any idea of "human" or "technology" all together.

Well, as I said in my response, I do not think humanity will survive long enough to make it to 3013 unless the world radically changes over the next few years, including some rather horrifying developments. Simple resource depletion and overpopulation growth will kill us off. Even Steven Hawking made this prediction about humanity being doomed if we don't get off the planet and take space exploration seriously in the very near future.

That said, science fiction has always influenced science-fact, some dreamer comes up with the idea and that tends to wind up inspiring people to find ways to make it real. Along the way other things are frequently discovered. An example of this would be laser technology, some guy, probably a century or more ago, was probably melting ants with a magnifying glass and figured "just imagine if we had guns that could do that to a person" and wrote stories about "laser guns". They captured the imagination. Despite there being far more efficient ways to kill, scientists have been gradually plugging away at making lasers smaller, more powerful, and more lethal. Along the way other uses for lasers have been discovered including surgery, holograms, information encoding, decoding and transmission, and similar things. This is also incidently why people who seem to think an alien race that masters space flight is going to be more advanced in all areas that one that doesn't have it... scientific discovery tends to be haphazard at best, and in the beginning comes from ideas and imagination. Someone who was never intrigued by focused beams of light would never have developed the things we could do with lasers. Likewise space flight and things like that could come about as a side effect of pursuing some vision that never really captured our imagination.

At any rate it's no mistake than when you look back at yesterday's science fiction you see people today making it happen, and in many cases it's intentionally designed to look like the inspiration, or named after it. Devices today that look a lot like ones from the past aren't just coincidental, along the way the guys making the stuff probably started with those ideas. Almost guaranteed if humanity survives to develop space travel we're probably going to see a lot of space ships that look a lot like ones from popular science fiction for that reason as well.

Otherwise, I had the same thoughts when looking at that picture, including the flying cars. To be honest the problem with flying cars isn't that they aren't practical, but that there is no way to police or control them. Most places have laws about flight for this reason. Popular Mechanics ran articles decades ago about making your own Gyrocopter, and it's just gotten easier since then, the reason why everyone isn't flying around is that legally speaking laws existing to prevent people from doing it and requiring pilot's licenses and such (which are made tricky/expensive to get and qualify for intentionally) for some pretty stupid things exist for this reason. The basic argument is that if someone is flying around, how do the police safely ground him if they are misbehaving? What happens if some drunken guy crashes his flying car into someone else's house? Is it trespassing if someone flies a gyrocopter over someone else's yard? Jet Packs and such also exist (they used one to promote Robocop 3 many years ago, and you can rent them at certain tourist places) but again are tightly controlled for the same reason, even in their relatively crude shape, the authorities couldn't maintain order with everyone zipping around 50' above street level.

I guess it goes to the same "isn't practical" place that you mentioned now that I think about it... but in short I agree, we pretty much have everything there, or better, including the potential for the flying cars. While that picture shows a flying car what it doesn't show is a viable three dimensional traffic system everyone could use (which couldn't be conveyed in a picture like that to be honest), which is really the important thing, and more of a social/societal construct than a technological one.

The discipline bot aside, I wonder if their school system would be more or less advanced than computers in classrooms now... or how it would compare to the classes some universities apparently taught through services like "Second Life".

In 3013:
- The flying car will be perfected, but the only people allowed to use them will be highly trained emergency response personnel.
- Advances in medicine will result in a cure for viral infections (like this damn cold I have right now).
- Projects to terraform the moon have been met with mixed results, but are improving, thanks in part to the recent development of a localised artificial gravity drive.
- The metric system is now universally adopted, and everyone drives on the same side of the road.
- With available land for building almost all taken, skyscrapers are much more common, including the use of 'vertical farms' situated within cities.
- While there have been great leaps in environmentally friendly power and energy efficiency, we didn't escape global warming unscathed- extreme weather events are much more common, and the seasons have become a lot more loosely defined, the changes in atmospheric pressures result in much more erratic weather patterns.
- Holy texts have swung back to being perceived as parable rather than thought of as fact. This has given rise to an era of great religious acceptance as well as the emergence of new religions based upon known-to-be-fictitious prophets.
- Disney currently owns 73% of the world's popular culture.

DVS BSTrD:

BoogieManFL:

DVS BSTrD:
In the year 3013, we will no longer be using Jesus's birth as a reference point.

Somehow I doubt we'll redefine so many years of history to appease atheists and people of other faith because now it's more of just how it's done. Imagine the amount of work and time it would take to convert digital data, and the confusion of future generations as they learn history? I imagine it would like people talking about the metric system when all you understand is the imperial system, possibly worse depending on how different it would be.

What would be the benefit of the trouble, really?

Hopefully we'll be basing our history on a more tangible event, or humanity will have different mainstream religions by then.
Like Oprahism or Voodoo.

It'd probably be best to wait for some other world-altering event of historical significance that we can reference instead, be it a mankind-smashing plague, first contact or the development of true artificial sentience.

Steven Bogos:

JSF01:
Snip

You are quite possibly right. The source article only had "Showa era" - I was unable to find an exact date. I had assumed it was pre-ww2 showa era going by the art style (it is very similar to a lot of WW2 propaganda posters)

diffidently not pre WWII, besides the technology on display in the pictures being very similar to the 50's and 60's technology, for the Japanese the war started in 1937 (with minor fighting going back to 1931). I would expect anything published between 1940(and probably even farther back than that) and 1945 showing what people would expect the future to look like, would have at least a little bit of the Japanese nationalism and/or propaganda on display. You don't even see a single flag in any of those pictures even in the background. As for the art style that was a pretty common art style used in magazines for a long time.
image
This one is from the 1960's
image
and this one is from the 90's
I believe that art style was due to the limitations of mass printing colored images originally though it stuck around for longer just because that was the artists style who had been hired originally.

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