I now live in a time which I used to read and hear about in the early 1980s in science fiction and other futurist works. Going from memory here is how the period of 1968 to 1984 saw our times (2000 to 2020), some of it contradictory because there was no single vision:
More or less right:
- Cars streamlined in appearance
- Space stations
- Mobile phones – even ones which can pinpoint where you are on a map
- The first black American president
- Twice as many people in the world
- A worldwide, public computer network
- Global warming
- Female American soldiers are common
- Space tourism and private space companies
Not way off:
- The top chess player in the world is a computer
- Western Europe is one country with one kind of money
- People can talk naturally to computers
- Japan as the most advanced nation
- Homophobia rare in rich countries
- Hovercars that drive themselves
- Manned space flight at least as far as Saturn
- Space colonies
- Underground trains that can cross America in 23 minutes
- Military forces in space
- Video phones in common use – with real-time translation!
- There will be twice as many people, meaning that most will be poor and hungry. Even rich countries will be falling apart as the Earth runs out of stuff like titanium and oil.
- The air is nearly unbreathable – so much so that New York is under a dome.
- Los Angeles levelled by the Big One
- Sky-high oil prices while scientists belatedly work on creating the hydrogen car
- Solar-powered everything
- Computer-controlled houses
- Computers have at least as much intelligence as humans
- Androids: a race of manlike robots who live in society
- Human clones
- Communism and apartheid have not fallen
- About 25 countries have nuclear weapons
- Whales have died out
- A new ice age coming
- AT&T still uses its 1964 logo
- Codpieces make a comeback
- Picking out the children one will have by sex, IQ, height, eye colour, etc
- Quebec is an independent nation. Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are American states.
- The death of fashion: People wear skintight, unisex, solid-coloured jumpsuits. They come in only one style.
- No beards. Many if not most women are bald.
- Tables, chairs, walls, etc, are smooth and featureless. No curtains. Rooms are lit with backlighting.
- Humans can talk to dolphins
- Weather control
- Underwater cities
- World government
- Because of computers most people work at home and live wherever they want.
- There are ten known planets.
Possible wild cards:
- Nuclear holocaust
- Alien visitation
- The Second Coming
In short: Robots, space colonies, a Malthusian end of days and good telephone service.
Some books and films I can remember reading or seeing back then about our times:
- 1950: “I, Robot” by Isaac Asimov
- 1962: “A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess
- 1968: “2001: A Space Odyssey”
- 1968: “Stand on Zanzibar” by John Brunner
- 1971: “The Population Bomb” by Paul R. Ehrlich
- 1972: “The Limits to Growth” by Donella H. Meadows
- 1975: “Tales of Known Space” by Larry Niven
- 1978: “Colony” by Ben Bova
- 1980: “Your Next Fifty Years” by Robert W. Prehoda
- 1982: “Blade Runner”
- 1982: “Megatrends” by John Naisbitt
- 1984: “The Fifth Generation” by Edward A. Feigenbaum
- 1984: “New Rules” by Daniel Yankelovich
- 1984: “The Third Wave” by Alvin Toffler