Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Retro-Futuristic Predictions and Me

Maybe it's because I've got a strong cynical streak about what the next however-many years hold for Earth and the species on it, or maybe it's because I'm an optimist at heart, or maybe it's because I have a Thing for nostalgia, but I always get excitedly dorky when I encounter the past's predictions for the future. The stuff the scientists and futurists came out with, specifically. My dorkiness over novels, TV, and movies are on a per-case basis.

For instance, when I came across the concept of Computopia on BoingBoing, I may have actually giggled. The whole idea sounds silly, but if you think about it, a lot of those predictions have actually happened, just not on the timescale the magazine said. For instance, automatic vacuum cleaners, videophones, teachers who are really images on a screen, and robotic surgeries* are all possible, even commonplace, today.

So imagine my glee when I discovered Paleo-Future earlier today. This is a blog devoted to all those old predictions. It arranges them by decade. It has illustrations. It has searchable topics. Seriously, I could get lost on there for hours. Some of the predictions are, like Computopia, both way off and bang on if you mess with arrival dates a little. Others are hilariously strange or brilliantly steampunk or almost gleefully scaremongering.

I know two things for sure now. I'm adding this to my feed reader along with How to Be a Retronaut, and I'm going to be using it for story fodder in the future. **

*Engadget, see also this TED video
** pun not entirely intended

1 comment:

Hannah said...

That's so cool! I've always been obsessed with the retro-futuristic, too (I think it comes from reading too much Heinlein as a child). I'm particularly into the predictions from the 1950's, where you have futuristic technology combined with the whole 50's culture. I want to write an "atompunk," alternate 50's novel sometime.