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Isaac Azimov’s 1964 Predictions about 2014...Now, how cool is that ?!?!?

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posted on Jan, 3 2014 @ 08:20 AM

The note I got from Isaac Azimov,
after writing him a letter at age nine
saying how much I like "I Robot" and
did he know how noses worked, as
none of my teachers could tell me.

posted on Jan, 3 2014 @ 08:58 AM
reply to post by mikegrouchy

How cool! So, how do noses work? Mine sits lazily in my face... lol

I remember Asimov regretting one aspect of his science fiction books, and that was because of small pockets of radiation he "predicted" in one of his sci-fi stories.
He didn't know how that could happen. lol
Then I read that the US protocol, when a plane transporting nuke bombs was to crash, was to eject and destroy the bomb so it would not be usable by anyone if found. But what about the radioactive stuff in it?...

posted on Jan, 3 2014 @ 10:41 AM
reply to post by mikegrouchy

That's hilarious.

I got a letter from him once, too, when I wrote to him and asked if he was the person to talk to about creating a role playing card game based on the Foundation series traders. He said "no" and basically told me to bugger off, politely, lol.

I also got a letter from Clifford Simak one time when I was a kid. I found out that he lived in the Twin Cities, looked him up in the phone book and wrote him a letter asking for advice about writing.

Very cool that they were that approachable and gave of their time to write back, back in the day, wish I would have kept the letters like you did.

posted on Jan, 3 2014 @ 11:32 AM
reply to post by SonoftheSun

Very nice, thanks!

I see Azimov is being conservative about his predictions yet very smart. By focusing on the convenience aspect and how man pushes nature away he's more accurate. Ray Bradbury commented frequently about our increasing reliance on technology and convenience. I think he'd also be more accurate.

I think many futurists are wrong because they're not conservative enough and also because even the best predictions can be flat wrong. Sometimes things will happen which we cannot predict just because they're stemming from something else we predicted but did not see fully. It's like trying to predict all the branches of a trees given only the trunk. General predictions are possible, not not exact.

Nobody really knows, but I do think GENERAL predictions have the best chance.

Here's a list of predictions from Arthur C Clarke, circa 1963:

edit on 3-1-2014 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 3 2014 @ 12:11 PM

It would be tedious to go through the original article and judge everything Asimov said, but this Buzzfed article has a built in bias. It says, "This is where he got it right." If you just read Buzzfeed, it sounds like he's batting 100%. But read the original article, which appears to have been sponsored by General Electric, to get a sense of what he got wrong as well as the lifting of context of what he really did say. Here's an example:

One thought that occurs to me is that men will continue to withdraw from nature in order to create an environment that will suit them better. By 2014, electroluminescent panels will be in common use. Ceilings and walls will glow softly, and in a variety of colors that will change at the touch of a push button.

Windows need be no more than an archaic touch, and even when present will be polarized to block out the harsh sunlight. The degree of opacity of the glass may even be made to alter automatically in accordance with the intensity of the light falling upon it.

This is shown as a “win” in the post. Sorry, but by and large what Asimov said has not happened. In the same vein he also said this:

There is an underground house at the fair which is a sign of the future. if its windows are not polarized, they can nevertheless alter the "scenery" by changes in lighting. Suburban houses underground, with easily controlled temperature, free from the vicissitudes of weather, with air cleaned and light controlled, should be fairly common.

Seriously? Bzzt. Another failure. He also said not only that appliances would have no electric cords (By and large they do), but also that they would be powered by "radioisotope" batteries, i.e.: Atomic power. This was actually counted as a "win," because someone found some appliances without cords. But in context, it is completely off-base. He guessed solar power farms correctly, but combined it with fusion power and vast solar arrays in space, neither of which have happened.

To Asimov moon colonies were a given by 2014 as well as underwater cities. He nailed laser beam communications, but suggested the lasers would be encased in plastic pipes. His cars traveled on compressed air leaving bridges obsolete, though said vehicles had robot brains, which is nearing the truth. He had moving sidewalks, too, but we've had those since the sixties and they are common in airports today. Down the city streets? Not so much. And there's no doubt he nailed the population issues.

But the point here is that though Asimov deserved his genius label, his prognostications about the future weren't much better than 50/50 and doused with a sense of optimism, at least about technology, that has not proven true. Many of the things he "predicted" actually existed already in 1964, as has been pointed out earlier. Buzzfeed gives a false impression here that isn't realistic either by ignoring his misses and taking his sentences out of context to make them appear better than they actually were, and in that sense I think it does Asimov a disservice.

edit on 1/2/2014 by schuyler because: (no reason given)

ahh, but the things you are 'calling him out' on; actually exist. The windows that can change polarization and opaqueness, even automatically; I recall seeing that tech being displayed on a show (about expensive tech) at least 10-15+ years ago. There are people who are moving towards underground housing because of the energy efficiency; while we can definitely clean and condition the air and regulate lighting.

Don't just take my word for it ...

Electrochromic Windows

hmm, .gov talking pretty good about it and pretty much exactly what the guy states ...

or do a search for yourself if you aren't too lazy

Yahoo Search Underground Homes

While I'm not trying to make excuses for the guy; I don't think you are being quite fair in your dismissive attitude.

I mean, EL panels do exist; and I'm sure some rich people have it. I know I'd do it. I think today it'd be better to use LED tech, have you seen the LED lighted pools and waterfalls for the rich?

Men withdrawing more from nature ... that is a pretty easy guess right there, nothing wild.

Underground cities with 'light forced gardens' ... while underground cities is for threads dealing with conspiracy; hydroponics and completely artificial light gardens do exist, and thrive.

I'm not sure what he is getting at with the meals; sounds like robot/automated kitchen stuff; which makes sense because I've seen that theme in other 'future' stuff from around those times.

He is behind on robots though. They are getting quite advanced these days; I recall (Science Nova Now!?) robots helping elderly doing stuff around the house and reminding them to take their pills; no gardening though.

3D movies are a 'thing' now.

battery powered appliances abound; but thankfully not by the materials he proposed!

We are still trying to crack fusion; but solar farms are a reality. The space farming seems like it could be problem with environmentalists and the global warming debate :p

Sounds like monorail type travel; but it isn't too common; doesn't a few countries have maglev trains? Not buses though :p

I mean; the guy hits and misses; and personal interpretation is always a part of analyzing such things; throwing the guy a bone now and then. Describe something that doesn't exist yet and get it technically correct; well, might as well just invent it if you see it -that- clearly! lol

I think predictions like these need to be taken with a bit of fun; not quite so much cynicism. Even if it was a big GE advertisment!

posted on Jan, 3 2014 @ 12:40 PM
reply to post by AutumnWitch657

My phone is not on my wrist it's in my purse but still.

Does it ever ring ?

I'm just kidding.
edit on 3-1-2014 by randyvs because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 3 2014 @ 01:48 PM
reply to post by mikegrouchy

Very Very cool !!

Interesting to see that he took the time to answer back ! Nice !!

posted on Jan, 3 2014 @ 01:53 PM
So it's getting mixed reviews. So much the better !!! It would be boring if we all agreed that it's cool.

And I still think it is. Even if he's had some hits and misses, even if some of his visions were already invented, I still give him the credit for putting it out in front of others.

Can't help but wonder what could have been the percentage of the population knowing that videophones were prototyped in the twenties...back in 1964...

I surely could not tell you. I was 2 years old back then.

edit on 1 3 2014 by SonoftheSun because: grammar

posted on Jan, 3 2014 @ 02:32 PM
Asimov was pretty uncanny with his envisioning of the tech of not only today, but also the future beyond today.
He was a fantastic author.

The Last Question is such a stroke of genius and I firmly believe that eventually humans WILL find a way to mesh their essence, or consciousness, into a computer.
I am flabbergasted he could envision such a scenario at a time when computing was still in its infancy. Same with his robotics predictions...which he did get wrong, btw. Some robots today are extremely advanced. Especially the military hardware. I recently watched a video of a four legged weaponized robot that was able to keep its balance on ice by pumping its legs at blazing speed. It immediately recognized the slick surface and reacted accordingly. It was kinda scary actually.

posted on Jan, 3 2014 @ 04:58 PM
Since, we got to letters, etc. I did keep the letter, I got in reply from Robert A. Heinlein.

posted on Jan, 3 2014 @ 06:34 PM
Well, what do you expect from the guy? That was his job. He was paid to sit around and look at stuff and imagine what they would be like in the future and how they would be integrated into society, and then write about it.

He wasn't the only one then, and there are plenty more of these guys around right now. So I guess I'm not all that impressed.

posted on Jan, 4 2014 @ 12:00 AM

reply to post by mikegrouchy

How cool! So, how do noses work? Mine sits lazily in my face... lol

They didn't really know back then,
and I followed the research until it was figured out.

At the top of your nasal passages behind your nose, there is a patch of special neurons about the size of a postage stamp. These neurons are unique in that they are out in the open where they can come into contact with the air. They have hair-like projections called cilia that increase their surface area. An odor molecule binds to these cilia to trigger the neuron and cause you to perceive a smell. / noses

A small particle of vapor literally closes a tiny gap in one's nervous system,
and the distortion of the current that passes over it is interpreted by the
brain as smell.

If someone cuts a fart,
the vapor that we smell
means that some particles
of that fart, are quite literally
part of our nervous system at that moment.

The same is true of flowers and such.


posted on Jan, 4 2014 @ 12:06 AM

reply to post by mikegrouchy

Very Very cool !!

Interesting to see that he took the time to answer back ! Nice !!

Azimov must have been very well organized,
to be able to parse all of his mail, and still
have a moment to respond to some no name
kid with off-topic questions, like me.

The man was a Mensch.

Mike Grouchy

posted on Jan, 4 2014 @ 03:00 AM
i was at the NY worlds fair in 64'.

pretty much all the stuff he mentioned, they had there.

maybe not all the tv dinners. lol! i'd kill for a hungry man, here.

i remember plastic injection tech.

not degrading him, just that tech was in the proto-type, back then.

and i want my flying car, also.

posted on Jan, 4 2014 @ 06:48 AM
reply to post by Blue Shift

Well, what do you expect from the guy? That was his job. He was paid to sit around and look at stuff and imagine what they would be like in the future and how they would be integrated into society, and then write about it.

While I appreciate your point of view, I don't see it that way. I think writing was his passion. He lived for writing. Money came in because he had talent doing so.

I remember reading some of his books at a very early age and some of the stuff he wrote was way over my head. Immense imagination with a mixture of well based knowledge.

A great author in any case. I agree with you that there were others, as good as him, if not better.

posted on Jan, 4 2014 @ 12:10 PM
Here's an article that more or less supports my contention above that Asimov's predictions weren't all that good and taken out of context. Here ya go.

posted on Jan, 5 2014 @ 11:44 AM
reply to post by adjensen

Cool. Totally off topic
I lived in the same town as Mario Puzo (author of The Godfther) and Capt.Kangaroo. Well Mario was one town over but close enough. John Gottis son lived one street over from me.
Babylon NY.
None of those guys predicted anything though. Perhaps Capt. Kangaroo might have predicted that bunny would hit him with a ping pong ball but....

posted on Jan, 5 2014 @ 11:49 AM
1953 was the first frozen meal. In 1964 he predicted what?

The phone and television were both in use in 1964. Combining the 2 is not prophetic.

posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 08:42 AM
For all you smarty pants who think Asimov's predictions were easy. Let's look at the predictions of an equally bright Science Fiction writer from just a few years previous.

This is what Robert Heinlein said in his 1961 Worldcon speech:

Of all the possible futures ahead of us for the rest of the century most of them encompass the destruction of the United States of America as the political entity we know and with the death of at least fifty to sixty million of her citizens.

To be fair, he did foresee the possibility that ...

... if we wait long enough and avoid war, the Russian people themselves ... will rise up, throw off their oppressors -- and save us the headaches.

However, he suggested this was as unlikely as "flying saucers landing on the White House lawn".

Heinlein did disown the comments in this speech about a decade later. But he still said them. Showing making predictions is a mug's game. And also showing Asimov should be given more credit than some in this thread are giving him.

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