In 1964, Isaac Asimov considered what the world would look like in 2014, after attending the World’s Fair. Taking a very positive view of humanity he pondered how we would prosper and of course how we would explore space for our own benefit.
Now, we are all aware that very often science fiction becomes fiction and while technology advances with great speed, somehow what we imagine and what actually happens seem to be closely linked.
So what else did Asimov imagine might make up 2014? Well, there were to be no electrical cords, with appliances being powered by special batteries – which is pretty accurate if you consider things like tablets and iPads / iPhones and at least a million other things.
There would also be large solar power stations in operation in desert areas. Now, while we haven’t completely got there yet on this, we are slowly paving the way to it. Many houses now support their electricity with solar power and wind turbines are beginning to supply more and more energy to the world.
Some of the world will enjoy the gadgets, while a large portion will be deprived of them. This is sadly true too. Many leading manufacturing nations create some of the most amazing technological gadgets, yet the workers themselves cannot afford to have them. Equally, there are many third world countries who possess poorer (and older) version of the technology we take for granted.
There will be a lot of effort put into designing new vehicles with ‘robot-brains’ with vehicles that can be set for their destination without the need for a human driver. Now while this is a little off the truth as well, with sat navs and new hybrid cars, talk is afoot of cars that will not require a ‘human’ to be at the wheel driving them. In fact, the concept of this has been banging around for quite a while as it happens. Perhaps it just requires the right timing and the right inventor to create the magic and give us a car that doesn’t require quite as much effort to operate it by the humans that invented it.
The age old question of whether imagination fuels technology or technology fuels the imagination springs to mind, but in any case, it’s a pretty amazing thing. And equally amazing that Asimov predicated as much as he did.