55 and Older members: What did you think the year 2000 would look like?

If you had told me in 1967 that I would be teaching others how to work on cars I would have believed you and said cool.
If you told me those cars would have almost 30 computers in a high speed data network, with more computing power we used to go to the moon…
I would have asked you for a sample of what you were smoking.
I never expected anything close to the reality I live every day.

I had no expectation that we’d ever see the year 2000. I assumed we’d have blasted ourselves into oblivion before then.

I certainly expected flying cars. I didn’t expect colonies on the moon or Mars. Sputnik was an enormous shock. Computers such as the Univac I, occupied vast rooms, cost millions of 1955 dollars and had about 6K bytes (6 bit bytes) of memory. One room had nothing in it but a 1 farad capacitor (consisting of 2000 electrolytic capacitors of 500 microfarad each). This was presumably part of the power supply filter, although I never knew. Many of the circuits were in duplicate or even triplicate (if two of the three adders agreed, that was assumed to be correct). People with trays full of vacuum tubes circulated constantly to replace burnt out tubes. Yes, transistors were known, but not integrated circuits. The idea that I could be sitting in my living room and tapping this out on my laptop was inconceivable. Even to Asimov, the best he could imagine was a world computer with pay-for-use terminals in every neighborhood. Even in the far future, he had conceived of a kind of personal word processor, but not of a home computer.

I expected the middle class would grow and both prejudice and religion would decline. The idea of women’s lib never occurred to me and we all assumed that most women would stay home raising children. Most aircraft were prop-driven and I never assumed that most commercial flights would be on jets.

I never expected a nuclear holocaust, I don’t know why I didn’t. I expected that fission reactors would supply nearly all of our electricity, but they would be being replaced by fusion reactors. I had swallowed the claim that nuclear power would be “too cheap to meter”.

I’m 59 now, so I wasn’t much more than a toddler in the '50s and so spent very little time thinking about what 2000 might have been like. Probably the first I really thought about such things was when I first saw 2001. My main thought was that they seruioulsy understimated in what year we might have a moon base and manned excursions to the outer planets, but perhaps paradoxically, I thought we’d at least have attempted a manned flight to Mars by then.

I did spend a lot of time worrying about nuclear war and, I guess, thinking that it, and the general destruction of civilization, was the most likely outcome.

My mind wasn’t sophisticated enough to come up with anything relevant to say about future society.

If I thought about computers at all, it was only in the then-typical context of mainframe-type devices that could talk to you and take voice inputs. Certainly not as small, networked devices that everyone would use every day.

Flying cars? We’ve got flying cars; they’re called helicopters.

When I did come around to the idea that we might not wipe ourselves off the map, one thing I did believe was the notion put out about all the leisure time we’d have. Oh, and the paperless office. I no longer work in an office but I suspect paper still resides there.

Mostly, I expected us to not make it to 2000 - either global famine or nuclear war would wipe us out.

I expected more space travel. In my youth that was what scientific progess was - space.

I thought the whole medical system would be streamlined and run by robots and artificial intelligence. If you had told me in 1980 that hospitals and doctor’s offices would still be using paper files I would have laughed at you. Yet, step into any medical building and they are still filling out the same damned forms from 30-40 years ago and filing them in color codes hanging files. Some hospitals have recently figured out how to use this newfangled tele-phone thing to make appointments, so there has been some progress but over all, all the progress has been in new machinery and drugs.

I was born in 1954. When I thought about 2000, what I remember most is how unimaginable it seemed that I would one day be 46 years old. Throughout the 60s, I remember thinking that we would have a war with the USSR, and that we would have people living on the moon. I think I also believed that we would eliminate poverty and cancer.

I remember Sputnik and the birth of the space program. I always knew I’d live to see the first man walk on the moon, but I never anticipated seeing the last. That was a surprise.

Beautiful! You owe me a keyboard and I owe you a drink!

As a kid, I was most looking forward to jet-packs. I ran into my grammar school principal on the bus as an adult and she says I repeatedly claimed to be working on one (basically, I drew them a lot). I also thought we’d have an established presence on the moon and at least have visited the nearer planets by now.

However, I’ve always been cynical and held the opinion that humanity hasn’t really progressed much philosophically/socially and never will. We move forward technologically, but for the most part we’re the same superstitious, bigoted, violent, selfish primitives we always were. Those non-violent, intellect-based futures with the capes, boots, and leotards never rang true for me. The blobs in Wall-E are much more probable.

I thought if we didn’t have a permanent moon base, at least we’d be traveling to it regularly.

Hypersonic air travel would be a reality and we could get from N. America to Europe in about a half-hour.

Cancer would be cured.

Meals would come in little pills.

Every building would be powered by its own little nuclear reactor.

At my first job there was a woman, who was about my current age, and early in her work career it was common for people to have to work half a day (four hours) on Saturdays, in addition to the regular work week. I was sure that by now we would only be working four eight-hours days a week, with three day weekends.

as bob++ says, we were expecting bases on the moon, and more planetary exploration by people. This had been the thrust of not only science fiction, but lots of popularization of science since the 1950s – the Collier’s magazine Man Will Conquer Space Soon! series ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_Will_Conquer_Space_Soon! ) , the Disneyland Man in Space series ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_in_Space ). Heck, the Sunday night TV series 231st Century (with Walter Cronkite) sponsored by Union Carbide had the date in its title!. It was on that show that I first saw scenes from 2001: A Space Odyssey, which also promised us the planets by the 21st century. This was so much a part of our training that my wife, Pepper Mill, called the baby boomers the “Space Babies”. I was brought up on books and magazines – and not science fiction ones – that depicted our Future in Space. In was in my activity books and first readers and on our lunchboxes. The comic books and movies and science fiction literature reinforced it, but we had been told by respectable sources that this was what the future would be like.

Except, of course, that it wasn’t. When Apollo 17 left the moon in December of 1972, that was it for Man in Space, aside from earth orbit. Apollo-=Soyuz in 1975 seemed pretty weak after that. Skylab in 1973 was the US’s first space station – but it wasn’t the spinning balloon-animal-shape that Werner von Braun and all those shows had promised us, with its centrifugal artificial gravity, much less that double-barreled palatial construction from 2001. By 1982 we had the Space Shuttle (which, to give it credit, at least looks a lot like the Orion shuttle used to ferry Heywood Floyd up to the 2001 Space Station, if not quite as cool), which worked pretty well, but was only getting us up to orbit, along with SpaceLab, but it was clear that our missions in space were going to fall far short of what we’d been sold.
On the ground, it was expected that computers would become ubiquitous, but nobody really seemed to expect them to become as small as they did. We didn’t think that robots were going to be people-shaped by the 60s, but we sort of hoped that they’d become more like HAL, without the homicidal tendencies. HAL, you’ll recall, was a great big pile of circuits shoehorned into a big spaceship. Instead of HAL, we got Siri and HER.

Roads, according to fiction, the 1964 GM Futurama, and Ford’s World’s Fair dioramas, were supposed to feature sleek, streamlined, shiny-chrome cars on clean, garbageless expressways possibly made of plastic for easy repair. Chrysler featured a Turbine Car at the World’s Fair None of that happened. (As my father pointed out at the time, if you made the cars with shiny finishes, they’d blind the other drivers). Garbage is eternal, our roads are made of the same stuff it was then (and are, especially in Boston, filled with potholes still), turbine and Wankel cars aren’t practical, and some models are boxier than anything since the Model T.

We were supposed to have Aquaculture and Underwater dwellings by now.

Weather Control – the idea was that we could influence those enormous masses of air of different temperature and pressure by influencing a few key points that would tip weather systems into one of the few likely states that would evolve. But weather turned out to be a lot more complex than that – we discovered Chaos Theory and the Butterfly Effect.
Telephones shrunken down to pocket size, without wires, and teleconferencing have, amazingly, come to pass – although not quite as anyone back in the 1960s expected them to be.

As for other things, no one (outside of a few pieces of not-well-known speculative thinking and fiction) expected anything like the Internet and the way it so completely transformed human relations, politics, and commerce. Who would have predicted the decline in magazines and bookstores, the demise of Catalogs and Catalog store?

Politically, I don’t think anyone realistically excpected the Fall of Communism or the Rise of Militant Islam. Who thought that labor unions would decline so precipitously in influence, or the rise of outsourcing. The effects of automation were definitely seen and talked about, but if they influenced anyone to try to ameliorate the effects on workers, I didn’t hear about it.

I remember when I was a little kid in the 60s writing about the year 2000. The only thing I recall is writing how the speed limit (then 40mph) through the village where I lived would be 200mph. It’s now 30mph.

I was 50 when 2000 came around. Truly, I never thought much about it, I was just worried about making a living. I supposed I thought 2001 was a reasonable scenario (the background not the Jupiter part of the story), but I didn’t have anything invested emotionally in that outcome vs. something else.

I had no idea at all that personal computing would become big. Every development there has been a surprise to me, from networks, to the internet, to cell phones, to smart phones.

As a teen in the 60s, I couldn’t imagine 2000 - that would be the year I’d turn 46 - ANCIENT!!! :eek:

I expected more robots involved in our personal lives, but since I wasn’t into SF, I had no basis for any other speculation. I never would have imagined personal computers and smart phones and the internet. And if you’d told me about reality TV, I’d have laughed at you.

It just seemed so far away and I had to get thru high school.

Well, things would kinda fall apart after the all-out nuclear war in the 1960s. Which was grafted onto Reagan-era 80s without leaving a seam.

Personal computing power and advances in medical technology caught me by surprise with each new development. So much so that I stopped trying to imagine what things would be like that far in the future. Which is weird because technological developments and demographic changes are my favorite topics now – when I probably won’t see most of what I’m discussing.

I thought I’d graduate from university, get married, and have kids.

In 1975 I was convenced we would all be using the metric system. That’s pretty much all we used in college physics and I was so used to it by 1980 that it seemed nearly universal. SO, so much easier to use. These days, I can’t even remember some of the units because nobody uses them.