Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Futurecast from the futurepast
I enjoy looking at the future through the imaginations of people during a long-ago past. Just because it hasn’t turned out exactly as it did in the ad doesn’t mean some form of it won’t happen at some point. My favorite example of a prediction that came true in a form totally un-imagined at the time, is the picture-phone. For years we were promised we’d be able to see the person we were talking to on the telephone. The “examples” of this technology (2001: A Space Odyssey is a good one) showed a standard telephone with a video screen. That never really took off with consumers. But the Internet and cell phones did, and they make that sort of communication possible. When the Bell Telephone people imagined it many years ago they built on what technology already existed.
So it is with these finned behemoths motoring, driverless, on down some nearly empty freeway of the future. The artist built on what was known at the time. At the time the Interstate Highway System was still in the planning stages, with construction nearly a decade in the future.
A dirty fact not mentioned in this ad, which also predicts “twice as much electricity . . . in 1967,” is that most electric plants are fueled by coal. Yes, the prediction of more electricity has come true, but we have paid a very high price for it.