Man on Mars, anti gravitons, flying drones, long life and short working days. Which of the ideas about the future has become a reality.
On New Year’s Eve, Korrespondent.net decided to remember how scientists, writers, government organizations and futurologists described 2020 decades ago.
With a life expectancy of over 100 years.
The famous American inventor and futurologist Raymond Kurzweil in 1999 said that the life expectancy of a person will exceed one century, thanks to small computers built into watches and other accessories, which will monitor health, diagnosing acute or chronic conditions, and giving recommendations.
Such gadgets appeared – smart watches and fitness trackers – and by 2020 they became widespread. However, the average life expectancy in the world does not exceed 73 years.
Invisible computers everywhere.
Computers are built into walls, furniture, contact lenses and human bodies, Kurzweil wrote. He also predicted that the keyboard and wires would almost disappear from everyday use.
Now there are so-called smart houses, glasses projecting images directly onto the retina, but these technologies have not reached the expected peaks and spread.
Fantastic devices, which became routine in the 2010s.
Books will be forgotten.
Paper products, such as books and documents, will become rare. All information and document management will be available wirelessly, the futurologist thought.
Although book production is declining, it still generates significant revenues for manufacturers. The use of paper products in all spheres of work and life will also be preserved.
Kurzweil predicted that confidentiality would become a huge political and social problem. In part, he was right, the collection of personal data by social networks and other Internet giants had already led to trials and hours of hearings with the US Congress.
Eight billion people on the planet…
In 1994, the International Food Policy Research Institute projected that the world population would increase by 2.5 billion and reach eight billion by 2020.
According to the latest figures, about 7.7 billion people live on Earth. The next projection from scientists is ten billion by 2050.
The main scientific discoveries of the decade…
New largest economy in the world
Futurologists Peter Schwartz and Peter Leiden wrote an article in 1997 stating that by 2020 China’s economy would bypass the American one and become the largest in the world. New projections say that by 2030, America will also overtake India.
The appearance of such transport was predicted as early as the early 21st century. In the last century, people also imagined that already at the very beginning of the next millennium, cars would also fly.
But now we are not talking about the widespread use of truly autonomous vehicles, although dozens of companies are working on this technology. There are also several concepts of flying cars, but they are unlikely to enter the market in 2020.
An electronic assistant
Creator of Microsoft Corporation Bill Gates was close to the truth when in his book Business with the speed of thought, released in 1999, predicted the emergence of personal gadgets that will synchronize all devices at home or office.
Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and many other smart technologies now easily share data with other devices and respond to commands.
A new world crisis. What to expect in 2020
Depression will be one of the biggest diseases
In 1996, the Harvard School of Public Health and the World Health Organization predicted that by 2020, ischemic heart disease and clinical depression would be the two main causes of reduced life expectancy.
In part, that prediction is correct. Whereas at the end of the last century infectious diseases were the main cause of death, by 2020 cardiovascular diseases ranked first in statistics. The impact of depression and other mental disorders is difficult to monitor.
The man on Mars
In 1996, the U.S. government expected NASA to launch a variety of research missions to Mars and the Moon, and by 2018 a man will land on the Red Planet. Futurologists Schwarz and Leiden predicted the same thing.
At the moment, there are several projects to land man on Mars, though from a more global perspective…
Johnson will take Britain out of the EU.
In 1997, the British newspaper Independent wrote that Boris Johnson, then a 32-year-old editor, would join the government by 2020 and revise the UK-EU agreement to “treat the kingdom as if it were Europe, like Canada, and not like Texas, like the US”. This scenario began to be implemented back in 2016.
Anti-gravity belts will change wars.
Mathematician J. Brennan believed that by 2018 antigravity machines and jetpacks would be invented and would work for half an hour. The scientist said these devices would change the tactics of land wars. So, as you know, there are no technologies, and wars have become hybrid, including in cyberspace.
Nuclear power instead of hydrocarbons…
In 1968, Stanford University Professor Charles Scarlotte wrote that fossil fuels would be displaced by the energy produced by nuclear reactors.
In 2020, however, nuclear power accounts for less than 10 per cent of the total energy produced.
Working 26 hours a week.
Physicist Hermann Kahn and futurologist Anthony Weiner in 1968 believed that by 2020 the Americans would work 1,370 hours a year or 26 hours a week. Today, however, the average American works 35 hours a week.
5G, AI, e-bikes. Technological Trends 2020
Nationalism will weaken.
In the 1960s, Itil de Sola Poole, Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said that understanding the nature of human motives and quality communication would lead to weakening ethnic and national boundaries by 2018.
But populist nationalism has become a new driving force in the Western world.