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DIY Media of the Future (1981)

What we now call user-generated content was predicted in the 1981 book Tomorrow's Home by Neil Ardley. I dare say that this is the most accurate prediction we've looked at in 2009 (provided we ignore that robot arm, offering up delicious Christmas treats before it slaughters the entire family in a bloody rampage). Enjoy!

The caption:

Christmas in the future is an exciting occasion. Here the children have been given a home music and video system that links into the home computer. They are eagerly trying it out. The eldest boy is using the video camera to record pictures of the family, which are showing on the computer viewscreen. However, someone else is playing with the computer controls and changing the images for fun. At the same time, another child is working at the music synthesizer, creating some music to go with the crazy pictures.

Main text:

Have you ever wanted to conduct a huge orchestra, or direct a film? Very few people now get to do these thrilling jobs. However, the techniques of microelectronics are beginning to invade music and the visual arts, making possible all kinds of new and mazing ways of creating music and images. As computers develop, these techniques will begin to enter the home. You'll have the glorious sounds of vast orchestras and the excitement of the movies at your fingertips.

Your orchestra will not be a real one, but an electronic one with sounds created by a synthesizer. On command, the synthesizer's computer will play the music with any sounds you want. Singing is easy too. You can speak the words into the computer, and out will come choirs using your words or maybe even the voice of a famous singer of your choice.

You can make a film electronically too, by using video cameras and recorders. You can record family events, holidays, the world of nature, and even make your own video films with actors.

However, the home computer video system of the future will enable you to make these shows into spectacular entertainments. The computer will be able to take the images you record and assemble and treat them in all kinds of ways to produce a whole range of special effects of your very own. And you will also be able to use the computer to produce unusual moving designs and patterns, rather like making video cartoons or electronic paintings that move. Then you can put your video shows together with your own electronic music, and create the most stunning experiences -- perhaps even a totally new art form of the future!


Previously on Paleo-Future:


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Reader Comments (10)

Wow, that's presence of forethought alright.

December 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJack Self

perhaps a bit below the actual technology of today

December 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDoc

wow this is really dead-on.

as a side-note, that entire series by Neil Ardley is great with really good illustrations, u should do more posts from those books!

December 25, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjason

Funny to see quite a few things correctly predicted my PC is (sorta) capable of today. Even funnier that the robot (which I think could just be an arbitrary inclusion of the artist) is probably purely technically possible, but will not find its way in general use due to its cost and reliability.

December 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLiam

Holy cow, this is about the most spot-on prediction I've seen on this site.

What I'd like to know is what in the world is that glowing spherical thing in the corner of the room? It looks like something IKEA would dream up.

December 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLucario

The video camera looks huge.

Also, Servalan's stopped by to snack on a NutriGrain bar. Sorry, Avon's not here!

December 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMatt McIrvin

NutriGrain? I was thinking of Soylent Green!

January 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTimeFlies

OMG! Are three of the family members wearing Snuggies???

January 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbryanvela

I definitely want those spherical lamps.

August 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterspinetingler

I love that the text describes autotune.

April 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDoug

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