Thoughts From a Time Gone by.

When looking at the thoughts of people from the 1930s, about what the future would be like, many themes seemed to stand out. One was that of robots and mechanization or automation. People believed that life would be much more productive in the future as well as fast-paced with many processes not needing humans anymore.  The future was to bring about drastic changes in the realm of technology. While pondering this train of thought, some concerns also seemed to arise. This is seen in the post “Will humanity annihilate itself.” With the advancements that was supposedly going to happen, there were people who worried about its implications. When people play with fire they are bound to get burned. They were afraid of robots or machines turning against their creators and they were afraid of the theoretical aftermath of radioactive mishaps.  All these things were reasonable concerns and some have panned out. For example, look at the mishap at Fukushima in Japan after the earthquake. Nuclear energy can have serious effects on our planet. Also the burning of fossil fuels at an exponential rate, as well as all the other pollutants entering the atmosphere and contributing to Global Warming. The fears that people had about the future are proving to be real concerns. We may well lead to our own annihilation.

On a more positive note, they seemed to believe that communication would make the world smaller. This thought was also very accurate in sense. They talked of the “Super Highway of Tomorrow,” as well as, “The real picturephone,” and the ” Radio-newspaper receiver for home use.” All of these are found in our world today, and without them I dare say we would be lost. Through the internet and various programs such as Skype and Oovoo the picture phone is as real as can be. You can both see and hear the person you are conversing with. This has formed much closer bonds with societies and countries. Imagine today it is possible to hold a meeting with clients in China instantaneously, as if they were in the same room as you. Our transport networks today span for thousand s of miles connecting various places. The super highways that were thought about in the 30’s are seen nearly everywhere today, making traveling to various places easy and direct.

It seems that the purpose of the future was to break barriers and reach further than was thought possible. The future, due to the rapid rate of innovation that occurred in the 30’s and beyond, should have been transformed into an extra terrestrial place. It should have been different. It was to be a place that people of the 30s would have discoverd and been awestruck by. It was the culture of invention and discovery during that time period that lead to the genesis all these thoughts.

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2 thoughts on “Thoughts From a Time Gone by.

  1. I think you’ve pointed out something that goes unappreciated, the idea of technology bringing the world closer together. It is something that has been taken for granted, events in Japan are so much easier to broadcast in real time. When major news used to happen on TV the newscasters would emphasize the live via satellite line, because it was a big deal. Now anyone can broadcast their local events, regardless of the significance, live via cell phone. It has made or lives better, more efficient, and funner, regardless if its a picture of a kitten, dog, or toddler.

  2. I too found that people of the 30s talked about robotics a lot. It seems as though they were intrigued by it but also weary. I see many of the same themes in today’s culture in the media. I wonder to what extent the next 80 years will bring complex robotics into our daily lives. It occurs to me that perhaps we as humans will never be able to fully give up control over our lives to the extent of allowing robotic people to inhabit our world along side us. Maybe just having invisible “robots” taking care of mundane tasks around us is enough.

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