Part of being an actuary is looking into the future. Here are predictions I made in high school circa 1978 — 35 years ago.
My teacher gave me 18/20 and wrote: “An excellently thoughtful, quite concentrated analysis. One weakness lies in the very brief, jerky paragraphs. Good work.”
If you’re a historian, you might want to read the original created with something called a manual typewriter. Below, I’ve made very minor changes and resisted the temptation to add commentary to highlight places I was right.
Calculations Of The FutureNow is the future to those of the past.
The future, like tomorrow, will never really come. We, in a sense, are living in the future. Fifty years ago rockets capable of flying to the moon were thought to be things that the future would bring. Now they are things of the past.
In the future most things will be much more mechanical than they are now. Machines will be taking the edge out of the hard things in life. Life will seem much easier than it is now.
Appliances will be able to automatically, for example, make coffee and keep it hot. The appliances will even start at the set time.
Advertising billboards may be luminous as to save energy.
Aerocars working on the principle of the hydrofoil will give very smooth rides. One problem though, that is being encountered with experimental aerotrains is that the trains can be moved with only one finger when they are on, even though they weigh several tons.
Buildings may be built underground.
Contact lenses will be in more use than spectacles.
Cars will have built-in computers capable of checking is anything is wrong with the car, diagnosing the problem if there is one, suggesting the best manner to go from Point A to Point B after taking traffic patterns into consideration, and the computers will even be able to drive the car automatically.
The main sources of energy will be solar cells and uranium. New sources of energy may even be brought in from other planets.
Engines will be smaller but more powerful.
Fridges will be able to thaw out food in special compartments.
Furniture may be inflated with air instead of being stuffed.
Guns will be silent, smaller and more effective. Bullets will also be smaller and more effective.
Medicines will be able to combat diseases better than before. Cures may be found for such diseases as Cancer but even as these diseases will be cured, new diseases will occur.
Microphones may be the size of a penny.
Newspapers may be microfilmed. Every house would have a microfilm projector then so that the newspaper could be read. Sections that the reader wants copied would be automatically copied either by photostating, Xeroxing, or by some other method. The name would have to be changed from "newspaper" to something like "micronews", but the name is not really important.
Pens may contain enough ink to make a continuous four or five kilometer line.
Records of television shows will be sold. The buyer will just have to put the record on a special record player that is connected to a television set. The picture image and sounds will come on the television set. The viewer will then be able to watch his favourite shows at his leisure.
Radios will be smaller and more powerful. Now people need earphones for radios but soon radios may be the size of earphones.
Stoves will be able to automatically adjust and keep the food at the desired temperature. For example, you may went your soup kept just below a boil. The stove will be able to do it.
People will be able to travel more easily to the moon, Mars, and other planets when settlements are started on those places.
Typewriters may have digital letters with newspapers possibly included.
Watches will be of the type that have LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes).
All types of transportation will carry more people, use less energy, and go faster.
On the new telephones you will be able to see the person to whom you are talking.
Televisions will be wall sized. They might even be 8m x 6m x 3cm.
Tools will be stronger and lighter.
There will be a three or four-day work week.
People will not have individual single family homes any longer. There will just not be enough room for them. There will not even be enough room for semi-detached homes. If there are any single family homes then their cost will be astronomical. The kind of housing of the future will be apartment buildings. People will be forced to other planets due to the lack of room on Earth.
Locks will be like, to an extent, the locks that are used on most lockers, except the locks of the future will have a panel with digital numbers on it. The person will just have to push the right numbers in the right order to unlock the door. This will be a more fool-proof way to prevent locks from being opened by burglars.
There will be more vegetarians for the simple reason that there will not be enough room to raise the animals. Animals may, however, be raised on other planets and brought back in bulk on gigantic animal rockets. It will make the meat very costly.
Instead of fingerprints for identification there will be photographs of hands instead. These photographs will show very much detail. The photographs will be fed into computers. When someone has to be identified then all the person has to do is put his hand on the computer. The computer will check for ten thousand points of agreement.
Since the future can be tomorrow, next year, a decade from now, or even a century from now, the time the inventions are marketed, if they are marketed, will vary. Some of the things such as the wall-sized televisions, according to Toshiba, may be on the market in only a year or two while others will take years to be practical. Some things will last for years but others may not have any future at all.
As I have stated earlier, the inventions will SEEM to make life a little easier than it is by present day standards. If some things become easier, others will become equally harder. The inventions will make EARTH life easier, but when we go to other planets our technology may be useless and we may have to start from scratch.
If 100 years ago man knew of all the things that we have today, then then he would envy us. In those days television was unheard of. Maybe that is for the better. If man knew of television, then men would lose many working hours watching it. To get back to the point, man would want to be here to enjoy all our luxuries. If he learned that we pay for all of our luxuries by having problems such as insufficient natural resources, strikes, pollution, high rate of inflation, economic uncertainties, layoffs and a host of other problems, then man would stick to his more secure life of one hundred years ago.
We are in a similar condition. To us the life of the future may seem more promising than that of the present. If the future is better than the present only one thing can tell. The FUTURE itself.
- Dude, where’s my flying car (and jetpack and robot armies) (Popular Science, Dec 2008)
- 7 amazing images of the future from 1947 (Popular Science, May 2013)
- Why are we flooded with bad weather forecasts?
- How musicians and advisors evolved
- Stop blaming your parents
- Life lessons from a 50 year old
- Inflation and installing summer tires
- Stagnant family incomes
- Calculations of the future (PDF scan of the original article)
direct download | Internet Archive page | iTunes
PS What do you (or did you) predict for the future?