I love the retrofuture. The year I was born, 1968, Mechanix Illustrated offered this prediction of life in the year 2008. I’m still waiting for my flying car, but some of the other predictions were remarkably accurate.
The single most important item in 2008 households is the computer.
These electronic brains govern everything from meal preparation and
waking up the household to assembling shopping lists and keeping track
of the bank balance. Sensors in kitchen appliances, climatizing units,
communicators, power supply and other household utilities warn the
computer when the item is likely to fail. A repairman will show up even
before any obvious breakdown occurs.
Computers also handle travel reservations, relay telephone messages,
keep track of birthdays and anniversaries, compute taxes and even
figure the monthly bills for electricity, water, telephone and other
utilities. Not every family has its private computer. Many families
reserve time on a city or regional computer to serve their needs. The
machine tallies up its own services and submits a bill, just as it does
with other utilities.
Money has all but disappeared. Employers deposit salary checks
directly into their employees’ accounts. Credit cards are used for
paying all bills. Each time you buy something, the card’s number is fed
into the store’s computer station. A master computer then deducts the
charge from your bank balance.
Computers not only keep track of money, they make spending it
easier. TV-telephone shopping is common. To shop, you simply press the
numbered code of a giant shopping center. You press another combination
to zero in on the department and the merchandise in which you are
interested. When you see what you want, you press a number that
signifies “buy,” and the household computer takes over, places the
order, notifies the store of the home address and subtracts the
purchase price from your bank balance. Much of the family shopping is
done this way. Instead of being jostled by crowds, shoppers
electronically browse through the merchandise of any number of stores.
People have more time for leisure activities in the year 2008. The
average work day is about four hours. But the extra time isn’t totally
free. The pace of technological advance is such that a certain amount
of a jobholder’s spare time is used in keeping up with the new
developments–on the average, about two hours of home study a day.