Isaac Asimov, an American who lived in the 20th century, was one of the most prestigious scientific #Fiction writers that has ever lived. He is the author of “I, Robot”, “The Bicentennial Man”, “Foundation” and many other references of the scientific fiction world. Asimov is also responsible for the three laws of robotics, the guidance that let robots exist in a friendly relationship with humans in his books.
We’re not here to discuss about Asimov’s writings, but about what he had predicted for our world today. In the World’s Fair of 1964, in New York, he published an essay listing a number of technology improvements which he considered that would have been implemented by the year of 2014. He stated: “Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone." He was right on this one; Skype and FaceTime are services very popular, and they have low costs for using.
His second statement: "Much effort will be put into the designing of vehicles with 'robot-brains’. He was right again. There are plenty of projects to design automated cars and some of them are on the roads already. I guess they won’t take too long to be commercialized. Third: "Kitchen units will be devised that will prepare 'automeals', heating water and converting it to coffee." I want an automeal machine! Although, in fact, automated coffee machines already exist. Fourth: "As for television, wall screens will have replaced the ordinary set; but transparent cubes will be making their appearance in which three-dimensional viewing will be possible." About this one, he wasn’t very precise. We have three-dimensional viewing, but only with glasses and we still don’t have these “transparent cubes”. I think the future is not exactly here, but in the projection, like in a movie theater. Fifth: "Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence." If we analyze the type of robots Asimov was considering, human prototypes, he nailed this one. Industrial robots are very common already, but not humanoid ones.
Now the ones when he just went too far. Sixth: "Conversations with the Moon will be a trifle uncomfortable". Yeah, that went WAY too far. We can’t say if these conversations are uncomfortable because, well, they don’t exist. Maybe in the next 50 years. Seventh: It will be possible "for you to direct-dial any spot on earth, including the weather stations in Antarctica". Sometimes we can’t even make our mobile phones work in a subway station, so that remains a dream for a while. And the last one: "An experimental fusion-power plant or two will already exist." It does not exist yet, but fusion-power is still the idea of energy source for the future. There are researchers looking into this, but it’s going to take a while.
No doubt Asimov was a man far ahead of his time, but the predictions he has made which have come to be true, are very accurate. Perhaps in a few years we will begin rolling out prototypes of human functioning robots!