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Jules Verne and Predicting the Future

 

I just finished reading “In the Year 2889,” one of Jules Verne’s lesser-known works (actually co-written with his son, Michel). It’s short, but if you like old visions of the future, it’s great. Here is Verne’s prediction of a news podcast that could be listened to on first release or downloaded (though Verne doesn’t use that word) to a “phonograph” for later listening.

Instead of being printed, the Earth Chronicle is every morning spoken to subscribers, who, in interesting conversations with reporters, statesmen, and scientists, learn the news of the day. Furthermore, each subscriber owns a phonograph, and to this instrument he leaves the task of gathering the news whenever he happens not to be in a mood to listen directly himself. As for purchasers of single copies, they can at a very trifling cost learn all that is in the paper of the day at any of the innumerable phonographs set up nearly everywhere.

 And here’s Verne on the videophone; or as he called it, the phonotelephote.

The first thing Mr. Smith does is activate his phonotelephote, the wires of which communicate with his Paris mansion. The telephote! Here is another great triumph of modern science. The transmission of speech is an old story; the transmission of images by means of sensitive mirrors connected by wires is a thing but of yesterday. A valuable invention indeed; Mr. Smith this morning is full of blessings for the inventor, when by its aid he is able distinctly to see his wife despite her great distance.

Okay, it’s your turn. What technologies will be commonplace 1,000 years from now?

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Members have made 25 comments.

  1. Profile photo of Mel Foil Inactive
    Adam Freedman

    Okay, it’s your turn. What technologies will be commonplace 1,000 years from now? · · 1 minute ago

    Stone tools, warning grunts, and fire.

    • #1
    • May 27, 2012 at 8:03 am
  2. Profile photo of Misthiocracy Member
    Adam Freedman

    Okay, it’s your turn. What technologies will be commonplace 1,000 years from now?

    Have-a-hart(tm) non-lethal human traps.

    • #2
    • May 27, 2012 at 8:20 am
  3. Profile photo of Stu In Tokyo Member

    Replication, need a new “X” replicate one from the atoms up.

    Teleportation, between large centers and off planet for sure.

    Space Elevator, this is the high-speed highway out of our gravity well

    Limitless energy sources, a small power pack in a device would last several lifetimes.

    Mustangs, Ford comes out with a retro 2864 designed by a cloned Carroll Shelby 2000 Hp and gets 400 mpg.

    • #3
    • May 27, 2012 at 8:21 am
  4. Profile photo of randykat Inactive

    Sorry, but I can’t resist.

    In the year 2525If man is still aliveIf woman can surviveThey may find In the year 3535Ain’t gonna need to tell the truth, tell no liesEverything you think, do, and sayIs in the pill you took today In the year 4545Ain’t gonna need your teeth, won’t need your eyesYou won’t find a thing chewNobody’s gonna look at you In the year 5555Your arms are hanging limp at your sidesYour legs got not nothing to doSome machine is doing that for you In the year 6565Ain’t gonna need no husband, won’t need no wifeYou’ll pick your son, pick your daughter tooFrom the bottom of a long glass tube In the year 7510If God’s a-comin’ he ought to make it by thenMaybe he’ll look around himself and sayGuess it’s time for the Judgement day In the year 8510God is gonna shake his mighty headHe’ll either say I’m pleased where man has beenOr tear it down and start again
    • #4
    • May 27, 2012 at 8:46 am
  5. Profile photo of randykat Inactive
    In the year 9595I’m kinda wondering if man is gonna be aliveHe’s taken everything this old earth can giveAnd he ain’t put back nothing Now it’s been 10,000 yearsMan has cried a billion tearsFor what he never knewNow man’s reign is throughBut through the eternal nightThe twinkling of starlightSo very far awayMaybe it’s only yesterday
    • #5
    • May 27, 2012 at 8:47 am
  6. Profile photo of Severely Ltd. Member

    MindFlash/5/27/3012: MegaMedia giant Ricochet.com has just announced the release of a new history pill that may soon replace the multi-injection history series offered by their only serious media rival, Reason.com. This new SEP (Synapse-Embedded-Protein) supplement includes a detailed look at Leftists political theory and (no surprise here) Ricochet’s own rather prominent role in discrediting the movement in the early years of the previous millennium.

    • #6
    • May 27, 2012 at 8:50 am
  7. Profile photo of Aaron Miller Member
    Mel Foil
    Adam Freedman

    Okay, it’s your turn. What technologies will be commonplace 1,000 years from now?

    Stone tools, warning grunts, and fire.

    Agreed. But assuming otherwise…

    Aesthetic implants and prosthetics. Like teenagers today get tattoos and piercings, future teenagers will get tails, wings, scales, and Mr Gadget-style tools.

    Human beings will acquire new senses through sensory implants. Soldiers and many professionals will regularly acquire ocular implants which augment normal vision with infrared and other kinds of vision. Others will acquire electroreceptors or olfactory enhancements.

    Memories will be accessible by computers and stored on hard drives. They will be shared (and stolen) with mild side effects for some and severe side effects for others. The latter will occur due to inextricable traces of the source’s self conflicting with one’s own sense of self. Pseudo-theologies will arise to say human beings are destined to be psychologically united into a single organism via such technology.

    TVs and monitors will be replaced by display technologies which cover entire walls, floors and ceilings. Many buildings will substitute virtual scenery for windows. These displays will be interactive.

    Technologies in general will become more interactive and interdependent.

    • #7
    • May 27, 2012 at 9:40 am
  8. Profile photo of kesbar Inactive

    I had a thought about 2525 when I saw this post. randykat did not disappoint. hehehe.

    It’s always interesting seeing what future predictions say when they are as old as the one mentioned here. I remember this phonograph vision of the future being touted as his forecasting of FAX machines. Now, it sounds more like podcasts, but its still the same prediction. What is fascinating about this is the biases of the writer and the readers. At some point in the future, someone will bring up his book again and compare it to some other technology … perhaps electronic paper or inter-eye-video or something else we don’t even have a clue is coming.

    What I’m interested in is what doesn’t change. The core functionality need that is common between all people. The one here is the need to learn and share information about what is going on outside of the person’s immediate experience. These needs are roadmaps to products and services that have been created, are created and will be created in the future. I’m lucky enough to be working on one now.

    Have a great weekend and enjoy your phonographs.

    • #8
    • May 27, 2012 at 10:33 am
  9. Profile photo of Fricosis Guy Coolidge

    Some pol will promise us “hope and change” and we’ll fall for.it again.

    • #9
    • May 27, 2012 at 10:37 am
  10. Profile photo of John Walker Contributor

    My guess (which I’ve consistently held for the last 20 years) is there will be a bifurcation sometime in the next 100 to 150 years. On one path, human civilisation and technological progress continues to the point where we achieve atomic-precision mass-production of anything which can be made of atoms (molecular nanotechnology) and human-level artificial intelligence capable of designing subsequent generations of intelligent entities. If this happens, we’ll pass through the kind of singularity Ray Kurzweil has described, and just like a mathematical singularity, it is impossible for beings such as ourselves to forecast beyond that point. It’s like asking a yeast cell to imagine what motivated Beethoven to compose the Ninth Symphony.

    If we don’t make it to the singularity, I’ll concur with Mel Foil’s “Stone tools, warning grunts, and fire”. Well, maybe not the fire—that may be deemed insufficiently “green”.

    This is assuming we aren’t living in a simulation, which a number of nagging little discrepancies in physics lead me to conclude is as likely as not.

    • #10
    • May 27, 2012 at 10:57 am
  11. Profile photo of Fred Cole Member

    Yeah. I consider 1,000 years in the future too far to predict.

    • #11
    • May 27, 2012 at 11:37 am
  12. Profile photo of Mark Wilson Member
    Aaron Miller

    Aesthetic implants and prosthetics. Like teenagers today get tattoos and piercings, future teenagers will get tails, wings, scales, and Mr Gadget-style tools.

    That’s Inspector Gadget, to you, pal.

    To expand on your ocular implants, I think people will live with significantly augmented reality given to them by these visual implants along with direct retinal projection. Most things they see will be identified by a computer and then enhanced with virtual labels containing with all kinds of relevant information.

    For example, you walk down the street and each person you see will have a little label above him with information from his Facekindle account (as “kindle” will replace “book”). 

    Each restaurant you see will have a small list of menu highlights along with user reviews from something like Yelp.com. 

    Subway stations will have a bubble showing the next couple trains in the timetable as well as system status. (You’ll be able to purchase a ticket by voice command or maybe by just thinking about it.)

    Of course, you’ll be able to use these implants to sit around all day and watch Youtube videos, if you want. On the weekends.

    • #12
    • May 28, 2012 at 1:23 am
  13. Profile photo of Percival Thatcher

    I don’t even know what’s for supper — and I’m making it.

    Aaron Miller

    Aesthetic implants and prosthetics. Like teenagers today get tattoos and piercings, future teenagers will get tails, wings, scales, and Mr Gadget-style tools.

    Ooooh! Swiss Army Finger™!

    • #13
    • May 28, 2012 at 2:10 am
  14. Profile photo of Ajax von Kaiserpenguin Inactive

     I’m supposed to have one of these within the next couple of years or so…

    mr-fusion.jpg

    • #14
    • May 28, 2012 at 2:53 am
  15. Profile photo of Indaba Member
    Mel Foil
    Adam Freedman

    Okay, it’s your turn. What technologies will be commonplace 1,000 years from now? · · 1 minute ago

    Stone tools, warning grunts, and fire. · 7 hours ago

    Zambian joke – what was there before fire? Answer: electricity.

    1,000 years from now, we will be mining asteroids for energy and the current government will be warning of coming energy crunch and need to downsize space ships and stop space travel.

    • #15
    • May 28, 2012 at 3:28 am
  16. Profile photo of Guy Incognito Inactive
    John Walker: If this happens, we’ll pass through the kind of singularity Ray Kurzweil has described, and just like a mathematical singularity, it is impossible for beings such as ourselves to forecast beyond that point. It’s like asking a yeast cell to imagine what motivated Beethoven to compose the Ninth Symphony.

    I don’t support the singularity theory. True AI is not a matter of scale, but design. Seems to me that artificial sentience will be based on ours, which means that once we can create it, we can also improve it. At that point humans and AIs will go into an intellectual arms race (note, not necessarily a competitive one).

    I also agree with Fred Cole: no idea what to expect. Would an Englishman from the year 1012 have predicted any modern technological inventions?

    • #16
    • May 28, 2012 at 4:00 am
  17. Profile photo of Cutlass Inactive
    Mark Wilson
    Aaron Miller

    Aesthetic implants and prosthetics. Like teenagers today get tattoos and piercings, future teenagers will get tails, wings, scales, and Mr Gadget-style tools.

    That’sInspectorGadget, to you, pal.

    That’s right, Inspector Gadget worked VERY HARD for that title!

    • #17
    • May 28, 2012 at 6:45 am
  18. Profile photo of Aaron Miller Member

    Forgive me. I knew better.

    • #18
    • May 28, 2012 at 7:08 am
  19. Profile photo of AndyInIndy Inactive

    Facekindle? Actually Facebook and Barnes & Noble will merge and come out with the Facenook. Probably in the next few years.

    • #19
    • May 28, 2012 at 7:28 am
  20. Profile photo of Schrodinger's Cat Inactive

    We will all be downloads into a virtual reality. Just an app in a computer.

    Hmmm, maybe that’s all we are now?

    • #20
    • May 28, 2012 at 7:33 am
  21. Profile photo of Mark Wilson Member
    Cutlass
    Mark Wilson
    Aaron Miller

    Aesthetic implants and prosthetics. Like teenagers today get tattoos and piercings, future teenagers will get tails, wings, scales, and Mr Gadget-style tools.

    That’sInspectorGadget, to you, pal.

    That’s right, Inspector Gadget worked VERY HARD for that title! · 21 hours ago

    That is GREAT!! Thanks for sharing the link.

    • #21
    • May 29, 2012 at 4:14 am
  22. Profile photo of Dean Murphy Member

    I’m hoping for technology/human interfaces to evolve further. I have a functioning optic nerve that connects to a non-functioning eye; I would like to make use of that optic nerve for a computer display inside my head; and flash memory to augment my wet memory.

    • #22
    • May 30, 2012 at 11:57 am
  23. Profile photo of Dick from Brooklyn Reagan

    I have a more dystopian view of the future. Less Jules Verne in 2889 and more Snake Pliskind in Escape from New York so….giant containers of sweet and carbonated beverages!

    • #23
    • June 6, 2012 at 6:32 am