We're looking back at predictions for future civilisation

November 6th, 2017

Written by Katy Winship

If you’re in regular contact with your account manager it’s likely that you’ll be aware that we’re a little bit obsessed with time at the minute. Our joint infatuation has meant that in the last few weeks I’ve reading all about predictions for the future and learning about what we thought (and think) the past would look like.So why not join me in looking back (and to the future) at past predictions and discuss how far we have come?

We’d fly everywhere

Look back as recent as the fifties and predictions for our landscape in 2017 were that we would all be flying individuals, forget just flying in cars. Visions of the future envisaged us having our personal wings or even rocket packs.
This image of the future in 2000, 100 years prior in 1900, by German chocolatiers Hildebrand, show that it was thought that we would have our own personal flying devices. Other images from Hildebrand show these flying devices with some sort of water-ski, allowing the user to ‘"take a stroll on water".

Obviously, as we are yet to be with wings 17 years later, this failed to came to fruition by 2000. However, “flying cars” could be a reality sooner than you think! The Dubai Road and Transportation Authority (RTA) are now conducting flight tests on drone-like prototypes named “Ehang 184” and the “Volocopter” (proposed "air taxis") which will transport the wealthy enough to afford it from place to place in minutes.

We’d all live on the moon

In the 1960’s the space race was on and we were a world obsessed with space travel. People were convinced that by as soon as 2020 we’d be all living on the moon and life would be as peachy and technological as an episode of the Jetsons.

Commercial space travel, never mind us living in outer space still remains a pipe-dream for the every man. But at least now you don’t have to be an astronaut to go into space. Slightly out of reach for the average Joe, a seat on the Virgin Galactic- the world’s first commercial space line and membership of the Future Astronaut community will cost you $250,000. Fingers crossed in a few years there'll be a Virgin flight sale...

We’d be Genderless

Look back to the 1980’s and androgynous fashion was huge but it seems to have wavered ever since. Gender-less fashion was considered to be the way of the future in the 1970’s.

Fashion for the 70’s Rudi Gernreich Predictions from Jan 1, 1970 Life Magazine

The first issue of the 1970 Life Magazine featured designer Rudi Gernreich’s vision for clothes of the future. He decided that “the clothes of the future will have to be functional” and that this approach “will allow us to take our minds off how we look and concentrate on really important matters”.

There are lots of theories on how gender will become obsolete which I recommend you check out- a quick Google of the term “Postgenderism” could easily wile away a few hours of a lazy afternoon. Arguments that gender stereotyping can be as damaging for men as it is for women might see the popularity of “gender-less” rise in future. It’s already making waves in the fashion industry- just check out designer Rad Hourani’s latest fashion range for the office.

Hourani believes that the world should be free of gender labels thus achieving a less troublesome society that encourages people to be limitless. Makes sense to me!

…And women would be giants

Were you to research the term "retro sci-fi" you’d more than likely come across the “attack of the 50ft woman” and laugh at the ludicrous idea of such a giant lady causing havoc. However, back in the fifties news reports from the Associated Press claimed that future women of the year 2000 would be “more than six feet tall, wear a size 11 shoe, have shoulders like a wrestler and muscles like a truck driver.”

It’s easy to see why they would think that and actually, isn’t that laughable when you look at figures from 1957 that say that women were an average height of 5'2” which, compared to now is tiny as currently the average UK woman measures 5'5". So actually we are growing at the rate of an inch every two decades. The same is said for men; as figures from 1967 indicate that the average man has grown 2.5 inches from 5'7.5" to 5'10" in 2017.

Jobs will be lost due to automation

Robots and the future go together hand in hand so we couldn’t ignore this prediction and the scary reality of how advances in technology have led to the rise of the machine.

When we think about how things looked a mere ten years ago there were no such things as self-scanning checkouts, no robots on assembly lines, no passport scanners in airports, no drone deliveries, no driver-less cars and the more extreme unmentionable of machines that have a disturbing demand- the, ahem, sex robots...

In fact a prediction by Bill Gates in May this year says that over the next 20 years warehouses and factories will replace all their workers with automated robots.

Perhaps the next steps for the future aren’t so different from those fifties predictions, maybe advances in technology will result in us having household robots that do our chores? Perhaps eventually everything will become automated and done for us? We can only hope that we won’t be living in a dystopian horror universe as obese and technology dependent beings such as those depicted in animated film Wall-E (above).