Every generation dreams of the wonders of the future. Sometimes they envision something wacky and impossible, other times their dreams of tomorrow actually come true. Here are some of the things that were dreamed up in the 60s and 70s that have come true today, or are in the process of becoming realities.
Way back in 1962 Arnold B. Barach wrote a book called 1975: And the Changes to Come. In this work Barach guessed at what the future would bring in just a short 12 years. Many of his ideas did not come to fruition as fast as he imagined; however, when it came to computerized learning he hit a homerun.
Barach imagined a world where computers would be cheap and abundant, and one particular use for these “computing machines” would be in the realm of education. He speculated that children would be able to all have their own machine to use in order to receive individualized lessons to maximize their learning potential.
These students of the future would complete multiple choice tests, and when they answered the questions wrong the computer would be prompted to bring up a review of the material in order to ensure they mastered the content. At the end of every day the computers would print out the students results and be handed to a teacher for review, so the progress of these young learners could be tracked and charted.
While the way schools are structured does not directly mirror this prediction, the abundance of smart classrooms, computer labs, and tablet assisted learning far exceeds Barach’s hopeful expectations. Additionally, on the computer there are countless free resources students are given access to for maximizing their learning, such as Khan Academy and the myriad tutorials on YouTube.
Another interesting device Barach dreamed of was a “Traveling Salesman.” This machine was thought to be a portable gadget that could display riveting sales presentations to potential clients in full color, and allow the customers the ability to make remote purchases.
True to his prediction, in 1975, IBM released the first commercial laptop. It only had a black and white resolution, but that early model paved the way for the powerful micro machines we all use today. Another aspect of this that has been fulfilled is in online shopping. Presently, we are all able to purchase almost anything online, and get it delivered to our doorstep in the short time frame of 2 days, or even a measly 2 hours.
Another popular prediction from this time period was changes in transportation such as self driving cars, and flying vehicles. While there does not seem to be much of a future for personal flying aircraft, self driving cars are soon to be a reality we will all have to learn to live with. Whether it be Uber, Google, or Tesla, these tech giants are all working on building an AI strong enough to confidently maneuver a road without the input of any lousy old human.
With many of these ideas fulfilled, it sure does seem that we really are living in the future dreamed in the 60s and 70s, and that leaves me hopefully to what tomorrow will bring for us today.