Back to the Future
January 31, 2008 6:54 AM   Subscribe

How experts think we'll live in the year 2000 [via Paleo-Future]
    WOMEN: For President!


The woman of the year 2000 will be an outsize Diana, anthropologists and beauty experts predict. She will be more than six feet tall, wear a size 11 shoe, have shoulders like a wrestler and muscles like a truck driver.

Chances are she will be doing a man’s job, and for this reason will dress to fit her role. Her hair will be cropped short, so as not to get in the way. She probably will wear the most functional clothes in the daytime, go frilly only after dark.

Slacks probably will be her usual workaday costume. These will be of synthetic fiber, treated to keep her warm in winter and cool in summer, admit the beneficial ultra-violet rays and keep out the burning ones. They will be light weight and equipped with pockets for food capsules, which she will eat instead of meat and potatoes.

Her proportions will be perfect, though Amazonian, because science will have perfected a balanced ration of vitamins, proteins and minerals that will produce the maximum bodily efficiency, the minimum of fat.

She will go in for all kinds of sports – probably will compete with men athletes in football, baseball, prizefighting and wrestling.

She’ll be in on all the high-level groups of finance, business and government.

She may even be president.


    POLITICS: Freedom Will Survive


How will this land of ours be governed in 50 years?

Much as today, perhaps – with two parties contending against each other and within themselves, with the people free to choose between them, with the winner pressured from all sides yet curbed and guided by a constitution little changed since George Washington’s day.

And yet it is easy to scare ourselves with other possibilities.

Some see us drifting toward the all-powerful state, lulled by the sweet sound of “security.” Some see a need to curb our freedom lest it be used to shield those who plot against us. And some fear our freedom will be hard to save if a general war should come.

What then?

A military dictatorship to restore the nation’s body, if not its soul from the ravages of atomic attack? Some sort of Fascism? Or, in the name of Socialism, some mild or strong control of what we do; directive here, big red “Thou-Shall-Not’s” there?

Some fear the worst. And yet:

We’ve feared the worst, while hoping for the best, ever since we have been a nation. We’ve come through wars and depression. And we’ve come through – free.

Today, almost alone among men, we have the strength – as we may need to prove – to hold the course we choose.
posted by hadjiboy (43 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
A few hits, a few misses. Great read!
posted by samsara at 6:58 AM on January 31, 2008


I enjoyed the hits more than the misses. Very insightful:

"Some see us drifting toward the all-powerful state, lulled by the sweet sound of “security.” Some see a need to curb our freedom lest it be used to shield those who plot against us. And some fear our freedom will be hard to save if a general war should come."
posted by uaudio at 7:02 AM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know what, 50 years from now? Screw all the crazy talk, I just want some afforable, cool looking furniture.

And crazy shoes. The future was always supposed to have cool, afforable furniture and crazy shoes.
posted by cashman at 7:03 AM on January 31, 2008 [3 favorites]


Space platforms, sent out from earth, will end mid-century’s “iron curtain” era by bringing the entire globe under constant surveillance.

He says this like it is a good thing.
posted by chillmost at 7:05 AM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


Cool. They predicted Imax! But all these guys promised me a flying car, and I'm. still. waiting. (Taps finger impatiently, then decides to spend time choosing between the black guy and the woman for president. Gosh. I guess I love the future after all.)
posted by nax at 7:10 AM on January 31, 2008


I like how the prediction that women will move into jobs typically held by men is bundled with "muscles like a truck driver"and "Amazonian proportions."

Was it just too hard to picture a girly girl doing working in finance where they will have to compete against this sort of Adonis build ?


As a side note my main political complaint against Hilary (excepting her lack of prize fighting prowess) is her continued consumption of meat and potatoes. Get with the times!
posted by oblio_one at 7:27 AM on January 31, 2008


I'm still waiting for my hoverboard.
posted by Dignan at 7:31 AM on January 31, 2008


I'm still waiting for shorter worker weeks.
posted by limon at 7:35 AM on January 31, 2008


I'm still waiting for smellovision.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 7:49 AM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


Every pedestrian will have his own walking telephone – an apparatus by a combination of the X-ray and television.

I'd count that as a pretty good hit, though I'm missing the X-ray function on my current cellphone.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:59 AM on January 31, 2008


uaudio: that's even a little creepy.
posted by desjardins at 8:00 AM on January 31, 2008


They predicted the Bush administration.
posted by mike3k at 8:02 AM on January 31, 2008


LABOR: A Short Work Week

There is every reason to believe that the steady growth of organized labor in the first half of 1950 will continue along the same trend in the second half of the century.

Labor developed to where it is today from practically nothing at the beginning of the 20th century. It’s still in the process of growth. The various elements and cliques making up the American economy – labor is just one of them – are learning more and more that the national security and well-being requires them to remain strong and work together.

So as labor comes closer to reaching maturity it is likely to win greater acceptance from other elements of American life. This in itself would tend to eliminate some of the great labor-management struggles and create a smoother-working American team.

From every indication labor is in politics to stay, probably playing an expanding role as the years progress. By the end of the century labor may have its own party, as is the case in several European countries.

It’s a good bet, too, that by the end of the century many government plans now avoided as forms of socialism will be accepted as commonplace. Who in 1900 thought that by mid-century there would be government-regulated pensions and a work week limited to 40 hours? A minimum wage, child labor curbs and unemployment compensation?

So tell your children not to be surprised if the year 2000 finds 35 or even a 20-hour work week fixed by law.
And sometimes, they were spectacularly wrong.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 8:09 AM on January 31, 2008



So tell your children not to be surprised if the year 2000 finds 35 or even a 20-hour work week fixed by law.


Obviously, they never predicted the amount of time wasted at work on the internet.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:17 AM on January 31, 2008


"The woman of the year 2000 will be an outsize Diana, anthropologists and beauty experts predict. She will be more than six feet tall, wear a size 11 shoe, have shoulders like a wrestler and muscles like a truck driver."

Hey, leave my wife out of this!
posted by Pollomacho at 8:36 AM on January 31, 2008


In the future, man will discover a way to edit long pieces of text down to shorter pieces of text (Norbert Wiener's FPP transformation) so that they are convenient for viewing on a so-called 'Meta-Filter' electrical news paper.
posted by pracowity at 8:36 AM on January 31, 2008 [4 favorites]


At least they got the clothes (weird metallic jumpsuits with insignia) right. And the fact that we eat stuff out of tubes mostly.

I don't know that the article says anything about these topics, but that's the way I roll, personally.
posted by Mister_A at 8:54 AM on January 31, 2008


I like how they have flying cars, but no building over 50 stories, cause you know, that's just ridiculous.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 8:54 AM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


Actually, it sort of sounds like Nostradamus wrote this. Just vague enough to not be wrong.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 8:57 AM on January 31, 2008


"The woman of the year 2000 will be an outsize Diana, anthropologists and beauty experts predict. She will be more than six feet tall, wear a size 11 shoe, have shoulders like a wrestler and muscles like a truck driver."

Until I spotted the '1950' I was thinking of completely the wrong Diana.
posted by vbfg at 8:58 AM on January 31, 2008


My Hover-Board JetPac Combo Happy Cluster came last week!
You guys don't have your JetPacs yet?
WTF?
posted by Dizzy at 9:05 AM on January 31, 2008


Article fails to anticipate the modern fart joke, gets it right on the iPhone. I give it a +1.
posted by Mcable at 9:08 AM on January 31, 2008



"Some see us drifting toward the all-powerful state, lulled by the sweet sound of “security.” Some see a need to curb our freedom lest it be used to shield those who plot against us. And some fear our freedom will be hard to save if a general war should come."


If this sort of thing interests you I highly recommend reading Alexis de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America". He predicted the rise in American authoritarianism in the 1830's. I couldn't find the .pdf, but I know the book is in the public domain.
posted by JimmyJames at 9:10 AM on January 31, 2008


Compared to others of these we've seen in the Blue, this one was suprisingly on target:

- "the 20th century as the era of blood and money"
- new living standards
- slowed population growth
- (closer to) equality of women and men
- education
- communications
- longer life span

It seems to me they did this by making conservative extrapolations of contemporary trends, as opposed to asking "what is the most ridiculous thing possible"

As for the third world war, thank God it was Kennedey and Kruschev in 1962 and not Nixon and Stalin.
posted by noble_rot at 9:14 AM on January 31, 2008


Wow. They really nailed the wireless telephone thing. Pretty cool article! Thanks.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:18 AM on January 31, 2008


"Greater emphasis will be placed upon science and mathematics as a means of understanding and living in an increasingly technological society."

Yeah? Tell that to Mike Huckabee.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 9:20 AM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


Movement of people from farms to town, migration from the center of the country to the border states, particularly the Pacific coast and the South, and the movement of city dwellers to the suburbs. These trends will be further stimulated by industrial production needed for the new, long-range defense program and by farm mechanization.
That's pretty close.
posted by octothorpe at 9:28 AM on January 31, 2008


My size 11 shoes have never felt more... futuristic.
posted by Gucky at 9:40 AM on January 31, 2008


She may even be president.

It's funny how they presented that point, like it was the most shocking and far-fetched part of the prediction.

It's also interesting how that whole part about women seems to imply that the Perfect Woman of the Future will look, act, dress, and prizefight (!) exactly like a man. Too perfect. "You got your misogyny in my feminism!" "You got your feminism in my misogyny!"
posted by Sys Rq at 9:56 AM on January 31, 2008 [3 favorites]


So is this Amazonian Woman blonde with blue eyes?
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 10:02 AM on January 31, 2008


The first man-made star will be circling around the earth by the year 2000. This star's light will be like that of the moon, reflected sunshine. It will be visible before sunrise and after sunset. It will circle 400 to 500 miles away from earth, or possibly farther. ... The first ship is unlikely to be manned. But it may get power enough from the sun's heat to drive electronic equipment indefinitely.

Fascinating how, despite the fact that futurists and sci-fi writers from the 40's and 50's were always predicting flying cars and cheap atomic power, they tended to overestimate how long it would take to develop spaceflight. What this article predicted would happen within 50 years, actually took less than 7. (I'm reminded of Heinlein's first novel, For Us, The Living, in which the utopian society of 2086 still hadn't landed on the moon.)

Medicine by the year 2000 will have advanced the length of life of women to an expectation of nearly 80 and of men to over 75...

Dead on (so to speak).

Hope is very good for restricting cancer's attack before 50 more years, but not for eradicating it. For it now appears that cancer is not a single disease, but takes many forms. ... Polio will probably be stopped well before 2000.

These are pretty accurate as well, although polio hasn't quite been eradicated worldwide.
posted by teraflop at 10:22 AM on January 31, 2008


A scientist thought that women's average height would grow more than 8 inches in one or two generations? That is the weirdest part to me.

OK, break's over. Back to prizefightin' in pants. Really, really long pants.
posted by lampoil at 10:36 AM on January 31, 2008


So tell your children not to be surprised if the year 2000 finds 35 or even a 20-hour work week fixed by law.

And sometimes, they were spectacularly wrong.


Obviously they were predicting that the United States would turn into France.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:43 AM on January 31, 2008


In 2000 we shall be able to fly around the world in a day. We shall be neighbors of everyone else on earth, to whom we wish to be neighborly.

Oy.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:30 AM on January 31, 2008


Ditto on the flying cars. Totally bought a smile to my face.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:14 PM on January 31, 2008


'Space Platforms'? Are they the crazy future shoes?
posted by pompomtom at 2:58 PM on January 31, 2008


Combination automobile-planes will have been perfected.

Not quite.

Wasn't there an incident the other day, in which the driver-pilot crashed into a tree, shortly after takeoff from the airstrip? If the machine had been perfect, the computerised auto-navigator would surely have warned him about the obstacle.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:26 PM on January 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


'Space Platforms'? Are they the crazy future shoes?

First you've got your Earth Shoes, see, then there's the Moon Boots...
posted by Sys Rq at 3:58 PM on January 31, 2008


The future, Conan?
posted by ZachsMind at 4:16 PM on January 31, 2008


'Space Platforms'? Are they the crazy future shoes?

only if they've got those jetsons-style rings around the ankles...
posted by russm at 5:44 PM on January 31, 2008


Wasn't there an incident the other day, in which the driver-pilot crashed into a tree, shortly after takeoff from the airstrip? If the machine had been perfect, the computerised auto-navigator would surely have warned him about the obstacle.

This one?

The five teenagers in the car flew 200 feet off an airport runway, then hit a tree, splitting the car in half.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:46 PM on January 31, 2008


That's the one.

I, for one, will not be buying one of BMW's combination automobile-planes, that's for sure.

I'd probably go with a Mitsubishi instead. They've got a much better track record, despite their machines' tendency to explode into great balls of flame upon impact.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:01 PM on January 31, 2008


I enjoyed the hits more than the misses. Very insightful:

"Some see us drifting toward the all-powerful state, lulled by the sweet sound of “security.” Some see a need to curb our freedom lest it be used to shield those who plot against us. And some fear our freedom will be hard to save if a general war should come."


It's probably worth noting that this is exactly what was going in the 1950s.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:33 AM on February 1, 2008


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