The December 27, 1950 Robesonian (Lumberton, NC) ran an Associated Press article titled, "How Experts Think We'll Live in 2000 A.D." The article covered the future of movies, commercial flight, space travel, medicine and women, among many other topics. Can you believe that by the year 2000 a woman may be president of the United States? Apparently not.
Some highlighted predictions of the piece appear below. A transcribed version of the article in its entirety can be found on my other blog, Older Than Me.
- Third dimensional color television will be so commonplace and so simplified at the dawn of the 21st century that a small device will project pictures on the living room wall so realistic they will seem to be alive. The room will automatically be filled with the aroma of the flower garden being shown on the screen.
- The woman of the year 2000 will be an outsize Diana, anthropologists and beauty experts predict. She will be more than six feet tall, wear a size 11 shoe, have shoulders like a wrestler and muscles like a truck driver. She will go in for all kinds of sports – probably will compete with men athletes in football, baseball, prizefighting and wrestling.
- Wireless transmission of electric power, long a dream of the engineer, will have come into being. There will be no more power lines to break in storms. A simple small antenna on the roof will pick up the current for lighting a house.
- The Third World War - barring such a miracle as has never yet occurred in relations between countries so greatly at odds - will grow out of Russia's exactly opposite attempts to unify the world by force.
- The telephone will be transformed from wire to radio and will be equipped with the visuality of television. Who’s on the other end of the line will seldom be a mystery. Every pedestrian will have his own walking telephone – an apparatus by a combination of the X-ray and television. Electronic appendectomies will be performed with an X-ray-TV camera, projection screen and electric “knives” – the latter actually being electrodes functioning without puncturing the skin.
- In 2000 we shall be able to fly around the world in a day. We shall be neighbors of everyone else on earth, to whom we wish to be neighborly.
- The nation's industrial and agricultural plant will be able to support 300 million persons 50 years from now - twice the present population. Land now unproductive will be made to yield. Science will steadily increase crop production per acre. Technological, industrial and economic advances will give the American people living standards eight times as high as now.
- Public health will improve, especially the knowledge of how air carries infections, like the common cold, from person to person. Before 2000, the air probably will be made as safe from disease-spreading as water and food were during the first half of this century.
- Space platforms, sent out from earth, will end mid-century’s “iron curtain” era by bringing the entire globe under constant surveillance.
- Combination automobile-planes will have been perfected.
- People will live in houses so automatic that push-buttons will be replaced by fingertip and even voice controls. Some people today can push a button to close a window – another to start coffee in the kitchen. Tomorrow such chores will be done by the warmth of your fingertip, as elevators are summoned now in some of the newest office buildings – or by a mere whisper in the intercom phone.
- Radio broadcasting will have disappeared, for no one will tune in a program that cannot be seen. Radio will long since have reverted to a strictly communications medium, using devices now unheard of and unthought of.
- Some movie theaters of A.D. 2000 may be dome-shaped, with ceiling and walls arching together like the sky. These surfaces would be the “screen.” Most action would still be in front of you, as now. But some could be overhead, some at the sides, and some even on the wall behind. A little girl steps into a street in the action before you – and you turn around and look behind you to see if an auto is coming.
- Through the extended use of better plants and animals, improved fertilizers, new growth regulators and more efficient machinery, it should be possible, leaders say, for farmers to produce future crop needs on much less land than today.
- Some see us drifting toward the all-powerful state, lulled by the sweet sound of “security.” Some see a need to curb our freedom lest it be used to shield those who plot against us. And some fear our freedom will be hard to save if a general war should come.
- So tell your children not to be surprised if the year 2000 finds 35 or even a 20-hour work week fixed by law.
The piece was written by the following specialists of The Associated Press: J.M. Roberts, Jr., foreign affairs; Howard W. Blakeslee, science; Sam Dawson, economics; Dorothy Roe, women; Alexander George, population; James J. Strebig, aviation; David G. Bareuther, construction; C.E. Butterfield, television; Gene Handsaker, movies; Ovid A. Martin, agriculture; Ed Creagh, politics; Norman Walker, labor; David Taylor Marke, education.