Kids of the 1980s Imagined the Year 2020 With Robot Butlers, Bubble-top Cities, and Nuclear War

Earlier this month we looked at predictions from kids at the turn of the 20th century. But what about more recently? Say, from the 1980s? Well, you’re in luck, because today we have predictions about the future from kids in 1984. And some of them are as dark and terrifying as you might guess for kids who were…

The Ancient Origins of Automation

The robots are coming for our jobs, artificial intelligence is ascendant, and invisible programs are taking over our lives. “Automation” is the word that comes up in each of those contexts and plenty more. It’s certainly one of the looming concepts of Our Times—a business imperative, an economic driver, a utopian…

These Were the Jobs of the Future, According to Experts in 1988

Making predictions is hard, we all know that. But there’s one field where prediction can be even more difficult than prognostication about the houses we’ll be living in and the cars we’ll drive—the kinds of jobs we’ll have. Experts are always trying to figure out where society is heading and trying to determine what…

Amazon Promised Drone Delivery in Five Years... Five Years Ago

On December 1, 2013, Americans watched a segment on 60 Minutes about Amazon’s plans to deliver packages by drone in just “four or five years.” Well, it’s officially been five years. And Amazon’s failure to make drone delivery a reality is a great reminder that PR promises from big tech companies are often not worth…

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