A futurist prediction that came true

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16 Responses to “A futurist prediction that came true”

  1. Dr. Jeff says:

    I am happily still blown away by just about everything in life. My kids make fun of me for constantly being amazed that one can just pick up a little cell phone and talk to anyone, or for remarking how cool it is that we can send big winged tin cans full of people  across the country with ease.

    Microwaves are definitely on the list of amazing stuff.

  2. Geoduck says:

    My favorite example of this is Murray Leinster’s 1946 story “A Logic Named Joe”, which essentially predicts the Internet, complete with YouTube and porn potential.

  3. GordonM says:

    That’s actually quite a remarkable prediction, even if it glosses over the details (couple of things in there that don’t have anything to do with microwave). But if you translate “their own frequency” as  their own website / email / etc.. it has all come true. Amazing.

  4. Cocomaan says:

    My dad is an electrical engineering professor, and will love this. Thanks for posting.

  5. Graysmith says:

    Funny, I was thinking about this just the other day, of how amazing it really is to have this little machine that you put something into and shortly thereafter as if by invisible magic you have a hot meal or beverage. I can only imagine it must’ve seemed like pure witchcraft when the first home-use microwave ovens were released in 1967, especially considering how crude technology in general was back then.

    • Their feldspars says:

      1964. World’s Fair. Greyhound pavilion. The future!

    • paulj says:

      Back in the early 1970′s my mother’s aunt from the old country saw one and refused to have anything to do with it. Since it couldn’t heat food by any means that she was familiar with, it was obviously the work of the devil.

  6. Mark Dow says:

    Another fantastic set of related predictions from that era (1945) is Vannevar Bush’s “As We May Think” essay.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/As_We_May_Think
    In some ways the essay drove the predictions: for example Douglas Engelbart, a radio engineer and then internet pioneer, was influenced by the ideas.

  7. Palomino says:

    1953, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

  8. MythicalMe says:

    While I am impressed with some of the predictions, most of them, by 1947 were easily possible. Microwave energy was already being harnessed and radar was developed in WWII. Frankly, I think the predictions made by Jules Verne were much more impressive.

    Ray Bradbury, and to a certain extent, Isaac Asimov were also good at future predictions.

  9. GyroMagician says:

    Nice find.

    Some days, I’m still blown away by automatic doors. I mean, a door that knows I’m standing there, and realizes I want to come in, and opens all by itself. Amazing. On those days, mobile phones and the internet just explode my head.

    In reply to MythicalMe: Yes, the pieces were mostly available, but it takes some imagination (and luck) to put them together into something that will actually happen. There is a big gap between building a microwave source/receiver, and everybody in the country carrying a mobile phone in their pocket, linked by some kind of packet network to share data between them.

  10. sisyphus321 says:

    Technically …

    Optical fiber pretty much killed microwave voice backhaul in the 1980s. Some of the spectrum that was used for private microwave voice and voice-bandwidth transmission around 2 GHz was re-allocated for cellular use (ok, ‘PCS’, but basically the same thing) in the early 1990s. There are a lot of efforts to reallocate microwave frequencies for short-range cellular or wifi-like uses.

    The SciAm article is really about the amount of bandwidth that becomes available when the signal bandwidth is a fraction of a very high underlying carrier frequency. Of course, the ‘carrier frequency’ of an optical signal is much higher than a microwave radio signal, so the bandwidth expansion with fiber is much higher than radio.

  11. bolamig says:

    It sure feels like he anticipated the internet, even if he couldn’t quite put it into words.

  12. seyo says:

    All that, AND, unquestionably the best and fastest way to cook a sweet potato!

  13. teapot says:

    Complete abolition of static interference from electrical devices and from other stations

    Someone forgot to tell this to my wireless FM headphones.

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