Tomorrow's World
March 31, 2024 4:00 PM   Subscribe

From the BBC Archives: Schoolchildren in 1966 Predict Life in the Year 2000 [6:17]
"If something's gone wrong with their nuclear bombs, I may be sort of coming back from hunting in a cave." "I don't like the idea of sort of getting up and finding you've got a cabbage pill to eat for breakfast or something." "Computers are taking over now, computers and automation. And in the year 2000, there just won't be enough jobs to go around, and the only jobs there will be will be for people with high IQ who can work computers and such things, and other people are just not going to have jobs." "I don't think I'll still be on Earth. I think I'll be under the sea."
[transcript, via Tildes]

Other Y2K predictions from years past:

IDEAS for the YEAR 2000 [Blue Peter, 1974]
James Burke and the Blue Peter team announced the winners of the Year 2000 competition in which children sent in their ideas for the future. The team share their thoughts on a selection of innovative entries including a cloud machine, a recycling dishwasher and a submarine city.
School Kids Predict Life In 2000 [KNOT-TV, 1985]
At the time, the year 2000 was 15 years away - it might as well have been the far distant future for 2nd and 3rd graders at Perkett Elementary School in Minot. I asked them to draw pictures showing what life might be like in 2000 and wite a little about what they hope to be doing then.
1999 A.D. [Philco-Ford Corporation, 1967]
The appliance and radio manufacturer looked ahead to the turn of the 21st century to imagine what life would be like for a family in a home maintained by a central computer and powered by fuel cells.
Lost Futures: A 19th-Century Vision of the Year 2000
Some technologies are wonderfully prescient. Chicken eggs are incubated with machines. Tailoring is partially automated. Crowds assemble at the symphony for electronic music. The most accurate depictions are in the theaters of warfare and industrial agriculture — testament to the driving economic forces of technological development across the twentieth century: gatling guns affixed to automobiles, blimp-like battleships, fields cut with combine harvesters. As is so often the case, other predictions fall some way off the mark, failing to go far enough in thinking outside the confines of their current technological milieu (hence the ubiquity of propellers, a radium fireplace, not to mention the distinctly nineteenth-century dress). Still other predictions remain bizarre, mainly those that anticipated rapid nautical conquest: submarine divers trawling the sea’s surface for seagulls, underwater croquet, a whale bus (exactly as it sounds).
Earth 2100 [ABC, 2009]
Hosted by ABC journalist Bob Woodruff, the two-hour special explored what "a worst-case" future might look like if humans do not take action on current or impending problems that could threaten civilization. The problems addressed in the program include current climate change, overpopulation, and misuse of energy resources.
posted by Rhaomi (5 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I like that the BBC let the kids speak for themselves, even if every last one of them comes off like a sociopath.
posted by grumpybear69 at 4:29 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]

Great post, Rhaomi.

So much good stuff. It's important to remember just how vast and terrifying was the specter of atomic war in the middle and late 20th century.
posted by doctornemo at 5:31 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]

Thanks for the post, and for linking to the transcript. I like "Or I may be at the funeral of a computer".
posted by paduasoy at 12:01 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]

"I don't think I'll still be on Earth. I think I'll be under the sea."

Clearly a mix up between year two thousand and year three thousand.
posted by biffa at 2:13 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]

And people will be rationed the amount of things they can have, because if they had too many things, they'd just squash their houses and there just wouldn't be room for them.

Gosh, the British kids are ... look, I don't want to indulge in national stereotypes, but I will say they are remarkably clear-eyed and know not to expect the best.

I've heard it said that the best science fiction "isn't about predicting the car, it's about predicting the traffic jam." Just the other day I saw a Bushmiller Nancy strip where Fritzi imagines the possibilities and annoyances of video calls -- all of which more or less came true! And I've also seen a cartoon from 1919 accurately predicting the irritations of the mobile phone.
posted by Countess Elena at 10:58 AM on April 1 [7 favorites]

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