Geek Out

What We Thought The Year 2001 Would Look Like Back In 1967

The godfather of news, Walter Cronkite, had a regular show on CBS called The 21st Century that showed off technology of the future. One episode that aired on March 12, 1967 showed off what a home would look like in 2001: 3D TV, videophones, some gigantic machine that sounds a lot like Twitter, robot servants and more.

Smithsonian Mag got a hold of the episode that predicted what the home of 2001 would look like and included a few short clips of Cronkite showing off the “futuristic” living room, office and kitchen. Other than being better designed than most homes now, Cronkite and crew came pretty close to what we’re seeing today (albeit 12 years later).

The living room focused on having a console that can control all the fixture in the home and the home office had a instant news service console and another console for video conferencing. Stuff like that isn’t as unwieldy as we imagined it back then because everything can be just done with one computer.

We haven’t reached the predictions for the futuristic kitchen yet though. Cronkite said:

Meals in this kitchen of the future are programmed. The menu is given to the automatic chef via typewriter or punched computer cards. The proper prepackaged ingredients are conveyed from the storage area and moved into this microwave oven where they are cooked in seconds. When the meal is done the food comes out here. When the meal is ready, instead of reaching for a stack of plates I just punch a button and the right amount of cups and saucers are moulded on the spot.

Either way, I love how predictions for the future are always limited by our concepts for the present. Back in 1967, we could imagine different tasks being controlled by one console but we couldn’t imagine multiple consoles being controlled by one computer (or smartphone or tablet). It makes you wonder what the limitations of today’s technology does to our imagination of the future. [Smithsonian Mag, Consumerist]


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