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Living Room of the Future (1979)

This image appears in the 1979 book Future Cities: Homes and Living into the 21st Century and illustrates the living room of the (paleo)future.

This living room has many electronic gadgets which are either in use already or are being developed for people to buy in the 1980s.

1. Giant-size TV. Based on the designs already available, this one has a super-bright screen for daylight viewing and stereo sound system.

2. Electronic video movie camera, requires no film, just a spool of tape. Within ten years video cameras like this could be replaced by 3-D holographic recorders.

3. Flat screen TV. No longer a bulky box, TV has shrunk to a thickness of less than five centimetres. This one is used to order shopping via a computerised shopping centre a few kilometres away. The system takes orders and indicates if any items are not in stock.

4. Video disc player used for recording off the TV and for replaying favourite films.

5. Domestic robot rolls in with drinks. One robot, the Quasar, is already on sale in the USA. Reports indicate that it may be little more than a toy however, so it will be a few years before 'Star Wars' robots tramp through our homes.

6. Mail slot. By 1990, most mail will be sent in electronic form. Posting a letter will consist of placing it in front of a copier in your home or at the post office. The electronic read-out will be flashed up to a satellite, to be beamed to its destination. Like many other electronic ideas, the savings in time and energy could be enormous.

The picture [above] takes you into the living room of a house of the future. The basics will probably be similar - windows, furniture, carpet and TV. There will be one big change though - the number of electronic gadgets in use.

The same computer revolution which has resulted in calculators and digital watches could, through the 1980s and '90s, revolutionise people's living habits.

Television is changing from a box to stare at into a useful two-way tool. Electronic newspapers are already available - pushing the button on a handset lets you read 'pages' of news, weather, puzzles and quizzes.

TV-telephones should be a practical reality by the mid 1980s. Xerox copying over the telephone already exists. Combining the two could result in millions of office workers being able to work at home if they wish. There is little need to work in a central office if a computer can store records, copiers can send information from place to place and people can talk on TV-telephones.

Many people may prefer to carry on working in an office with others, but for those who are happy at home, the savings in travelling time would be useful. Even better would be the money saved on transport costs to and from work.

See also:
Future Cities: Homes and Living into the 21st Century (1979)
Closer Than We Think! Robot Housemaid (1959)
Closer Than We Think! Lunar Mailbag (1960)
Online Shopping (1967)
1999 A.D. (1967)
The Electronic Newspaper (1978)
Startling Changes in Housing in Year 2000 (Chicago Tribune, 1961)
Monsanto House of the Future (1957-1967)
Picturephone as the perpetual technology of the future
Frigidaire Kitchen of the Future (1957)

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Reader Comments (23)

wahl,cool,i like this blog,because i'm a robot,ha ha.i'll be back.

August 22, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLonelySinger
August 22, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterinnovation

Lots of good predictions there.

And, of course, because it is the Future, we will all wear jumpsuits with racing stripes.

August 22, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBritt

Apparently voyeurism is common in the future (#2), and soccer players of the future are stoned hippies (go to the full-size image and look at the TV screen).

August 22, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterWutzke

In the future, all soccer players will be white.

August 22, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Where is my robot waiter?

And why would one WANT to see the person they are speaking with on the phone? How could you make annoyed faces or roll your eyes?

August 22, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMissy

I like how they always say things like "...and you'll be able to work from home!".

Years ago, I had an MRI and they showed me how they could electronically send the image to a specialist to analyze the image remotely. I said how cool I thought it was and they said, "Yeah, cool, until they start sending them to India to be analyzed for a fraction of the cost."

August 22, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterartbot

In the real living room of 2007, the guy would wear old jeans and a wifebeater shirt, have empty beer cans, porn DVD's and the remains of a pizza stacked on his coffee table, and watch Texas Hold'm on his big screen wall TV.

August 22, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMark Plus

Pretty impressive predictions! I love the specificity of "flat screen tvs."

August 22, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Wow that article of the future living room wasn't far off the mark!!

Nice blog

would you like to exchange links?

August 22, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSteven

It's interesting that sending electronic mail involved scanning a hard copy letter!

But overall the author was surprisingly close to the mark.

Now excuse me, my drinks robot's just arrived with another martini.

August 22, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterGromit

Disco re-revisited

August 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDJ FunkyGrrL

great post! I love the concept home Microsoft came up with too!

check out my post and please leave comments!

August 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLoSt sOuL

Great! What a powerful imagination do you have? I won't be surprised when time comes wherein people would be able to transmute to other places due to the high technology we have right now?

hope you'll visit my blog. i'll be expecting a comment also okay.

August 23, 2007 | Unregistered Commenternixx07

This is a fantastic resource. I need to check back to your blog on a regular basis!

August 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDerikic

When I was in high school in the early 1970's the big career direction the guidance counsellors kept pushing was the recreation & leisure industry because they said in the future computers would be doing most of our work so that the 4-day work week would become a reality for everyone which means they'd all need to fill up all that spare time with leisure activities. HA! It boggles the mind how they never in a million years ever thought that computers would create/generate so much more work for us that we'd be working 80 hours a week. Thank god I ignored those guidance dudes.

August 23, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterurban pedestrian

They think we will live in a Epcot Center future

August 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I assume there's a flying car in the garage?

August 24, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRon

Wow, so strange. I've seen this picture before in the early or mid 90s in an elementary school textbook. I think it was a science textbook and it must have been talking about future technologies. The second I saw the picture I recognised it immediately. It seems so weird now that a school would be passing this off as something you could learn from!

September 7, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Dig the headphones on the one dude. They didn't predict earbuds.

But it appears that they also predicted gay marriage, so it's all good.

Drinks robot! Bring me another Gin and Betelgeuse!

November 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJoAnne

Really interesting article. As a long time Realtor in Charlotte, NC this stuff is amazing.

February 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterseedreamhome

I would love to have a wide screen like that!

February 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterseedreamhome

Pretty decent predictions overall, but we've bypassed certain things completely, while other things aren't there yet.

Online shopping is certainly significant, but they didn't realize that you wouldn't have to get the stuff from a "local store," you could just centralize the whole thing in one giant warehouse with a local store being totally unnecessary. But they did envision an "office" not being needed. Got those totally backwards.

E-mail is certainly huge, but scanning a hard copy? What, one you typed on your typewriter? Oh, I forgot, it's a typewriter that uses MIND CONTROL. Never mind the fact that computer e-mail is already being supplanted by cell phone texting to a large degree.

Video cameras have moved on from tape to solid state memory chips, and we don't need DVD recorders anymore, though we still have them. But the handwriting is on the wall: DVDs will become nearly obsolete and everything will be streamed from the cloud.

But we don't have robots! Okay, we have robotic vaccuum cleaners and lawnmowers, but hey, where's my drinks robot!

April 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterScott Mercer

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