A Century of Retro-Futurism Reviewed

I love retro-futurism – who doesn’t?

Here’s a random selection of some of my favourite past predictions of the future over the 20th century … and what we got instead.

 

We were promised space holidays:

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We’re almost there with Virgin Galactic:

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We were promised zip-line zeppelins:

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We got passenger drones (only for the super-rich, but less flammabily exciting, which is a good thing):

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We were promised these sexy radio-helmets:

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We got Beats by Dre. I think we win.

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What we were promised roving retail, on demand:

 

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What we got: Moby (so the future really came through for us on this one):

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Self driving cars:

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Coming right up (you could do worse than the Rolls Royce):

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We were promised portable personal air-conditioners:

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We got this. Nice try, future. Nice try.

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We were promised perfectly scientific perfect match-making:

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We got Tinder:

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We were promised hot meals on demand…

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and…

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We got Uber Eats: Meh. I’m holding out for the magic microwave.

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We were promised “pop out TV”:

Pop-out-TV-programs-invention-Dec_21_1958

We got Pokemon Go (but in all seriousness, VR is pretty amazing these days):

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We were promised Babble Fish:

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What we got: Travis the real-time travel translator (not bad):

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We were promised virtual school:

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We got the Internet and Khan Academy – we’re really doing all right:

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We were promised robot-slaves:

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We got robot-nannies in the form of iPal and co (we should be ashamed of ourselves):

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We were promise robot factories:

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We got them (Walmart’s giant robot-run vending machine is my favourite but robot warehouses of all kinds are everywhere today):

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We were promised Sea City 2000:

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We’re getting (hopefully SOON) Peter Thiel’s Sea Steading islands (take my money):

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We were promised couch potato heaven:

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We got all that and more (and a lot more portably packaged too):

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We were promised smart farms:

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We got them, drones and all:

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We were promised living room bathrooms:

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We got Ikea’s micro “apartment of the future” – which is arguably even worse:

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We were promised whale buses:

future-whale-bus

What we got: nothing even close to a whale bus. Sorry about that.

 

But all in all? The current version of the future is pretty amazing. We have come so far over the last century, far, far further than most people could even imagine. I for one can’t wait to find out what the next 100 years will bring us.

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