March 04, 2011

Not Quite There Yet...

For your perils-of-making-predictions file, from the then-CEO of our company, in 1955:
"If the vision of science prevails, the society of 1975 will be planned and engineered to provide a material abundance far beyond anything man has ever dreamed. There will be no wars, and no depressions. Weather and climate will be controlled on a global basis. You'll be on a thirty-six-hour week, maybe on a thirty-four-hour week. You'll either fly to work in your own personal helicopter, or ride to work in a pilotless, wireless trolley, or drive to work on a one-way street at a hundred miles an hour, in perfect safety; traffic will be electronically directed. You'll get your mail by guided missile, and you'll live in a house that uses electricity generated from atomic fuel. You'll have no fear of cancer, polio, tuberculosis, or any of the other currently common diseases. You can expect to live to be a hundred. In 1975 today's deserts will be lush, flourishing farmlands, irrigated by fresh water converted from salt water. We will have found a way to capture energy from the sun itself. We will probably be using it to melt the ice of Greenland and Antarctica, turning those barren wastes into fertile, productive areas."
He adds that what distinguishes man from the lower animals is man's "ability to control his own destiny," (lame definition imo) and fears that this will be lost because we will become servants to our machines.

Chesterton, as quoted in an earlier post, also fears man having too much control as a result of becoming too rich:
And the reason why the lives of the rich are at bottom so tame and uneventful is simply that they can choose the events. They are dull because they are omnipotent. They fail to feel adventures because they can make the adventures.
The old CEO equally wasn't thrilled about 1975 world:
It is not enough to build a world of no disease and little pain, of long life and physical comfort, of short working hours and big pay. Such a world would reduce the average man to the status of a vegetable - or, at best, that of a placid, satisfied infant. I personally don't look forward to a world where every man's a gurgling baby.

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