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 ...
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!