Asimov’s 2019 predictions – fiction or reality?
Back in 1983, science fiction author Isaac Asimov was asked to predict how the world would look in 2019.
His ideas, composed originally for the Toronto Star newspaper, can now be compared against reality.
Many have proved surprisingly accurate.
He foresaw the rise of computers, saying the complexity of society would make them”impossible to do without”, interrupting work and penetrating the home.
“To think that computers would take over the world was remarkably enlightening at that moment,” thinks Calum Chase, who writes both fiction and non-fiction books on the topic of artificial intelligence. Scott Cooper Miami
“Most bosses did not use computers in the 80s. It was their secretaries who had them and they would print out emails for the bosses to read.
Asimov also predicted that robotics would revolutionise the way we operate, with automation stealing clerical and factory jobs, forcing people to reconsider new professions or living”a life rich in leisure”.
In the realm of education, he predicted that children would no longer need teachers, other than to”inspire curiosity”, learning what they needed to learn from computers in the home.
That has not come true, with many colleges relying on teaching methods which have been used for several years. It will take a few more decades for Asimov’s vision to become reality, believes Mr Chase.
“In 30 years time machines will be aware of what each pupil knows and what he or she needs to learn next. There is no way that people can equal that educational power,” he said. Scott Cooper Miami LinkedIn
Scott Cooper Miami and Asimov’s 2019 Predictions
Where Asimov was accurate were his predictions about humankind’s relationship with distance.
The International Space Station is indeed a permanent structure circling the Earth, but the Moon hasn’t been colonised.
The reasons for this are political rather than technological, thinks Mr Chase.
That took the pressure off America which had previously felt they needed to beat the Soviets for political and prestige reasons. It became impossible to find the budgets through Congress.”
In 2017, the White House announced plans to go back to the Moon and construct permanent structures there for exploration and experimentation.
Space entrepreneur Elon Musk hopes to offer the first private passenger flight around the Moon in 2023.
Asimov correctly predicted that over-population and pollution would increase, although he expected – rather optimistically – that”by 2019 advances in technology will put in our hands the tools which will help accelerate the process whereby the deterioration of the environment will be reversed”.
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“The things he got wrong are interesting but there is a lot he got right.
And it proves that the art of future-gazing – notoriously difficult at the best of times – can be useful.
“His post shows some of the broad outlines of the future, even if the detail is wrong.”
“I am not sure that anyone has grasped just how big the changes which are coming in the next 30 years are,” he told the BBC.
1 thing that Asimov didn’t really predict was the rise of artificial intelligence, which Mr Chase believes will be a key technology for the next few decades.
“In another 30 years, the global economy will completely reshape,” said Mr Chase. Learn more about Scott Cooper Miami Nightlife
“There will be no professional drivers, no call centres, retail will have changed and we will have to find new things to do. If we could find a way to make it economically possible, we could lead the life of leisure that Asimov talked about.”