How the Past Saw the Future

When it comes to technology, predicting the future is never easy. Whilst we know what many technologists are working on, ultimately the future is led by user adoption and the channels that it creates. As much as anything else, our vision is more a statement of where we are, at a given time and what our desires for the future. Ahead of my presentation on the future, at The Drum’s  Four Minute Warning event, here are some past visions of the future. Very few of these have come to pass.

A fascinating view came from 19th Century French artists, who thought we would have flying firemen and play underwater croquet: http://news.yahoo.com/photos/historic-visions-of-the-future-slideshow/postcards-from-the-future-photo-1347289263.html

In the 1920s the future was an urban one, as seen (largely)  by Fritz Lang:

 

The Jetsons, of course, was a future vision based on the optimism and rapid development of consumer technology in the 1950s and 60s:

 

Whilst The Jetsons was concerned with space, Japanese Manga Cartoon, Marine Boy saw  the future underwater (and we would breathe by chewing Oxygum):

 

Still  in the 50s, it was all about space travel and robots for Disney:

 

Whilst the 1960s predicted the change that the internet would bring,  somehow they failed to see the changing role of women, in this somewhat unenlighted piece:

 

BBC was less fantastical, but pretty accurate in their predictions, apart from being able choosing the sex and IQ of your child:

 

Apple’s view of the future is much more about their own ambitions, but pretty accurate as a result:

 

1990s Kids showing more insight than most commentators:

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