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Entries in commission on the year 2000 (2)

Saturday
Feb132010

Enjoy Your Privacy; It'll Be Gone In A Few Years (1967)

The August 17, 1967 Salina Journal (Salina, KS) ran a headline that caught my eye: "Enjoy Your Privacy; It'll Be Gone In a Few Years."

Someone from the year 2010 might look at this headline and expect to read an article with rather prescient predictions of how a vast network of computers might allow for the sharing of personal data, causing "privacy" to virtually disappear. Remember that 1967 was the same year Philco-Ford depicted some pretty spot-on predictions about the future of personal computing in a film about the year 1999...

But after reading the article it's not entirely clear to me from where they expect this invasion of privacy to be coming. Is this a fear of camera surveillance brought about by technological progress? And if so, by whom? The government? Your neighbors?

The article is reprinted from the New York Times and quotes Harry Kalven, Jr., a professor of law at the University of Chicago:

[...] by the year 2000, "man's technical inventiveness may, in terms of privacy, have turned the whole community into the equivalent of an army barracks. It may be a final ironic commentary of how bad things have become by 2000 when someone will make a fortune merely by providing, on a monthly, weekly, daily, or even hourly basis a room of one's own."

You can read the entire article -- which also includes predictions about pocket telephones, home computers and artificial moons -- at Scribd.

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Friday
Feb062009

Family Life to be Altered Greatly by 21st Century (1968)


The January 2, 1968 Lima News (Lima, OH) ran the third in a series of articles based on research by the Commission on the Year 2000 of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The third in the series dealt with life, work and family issues humanity would face in the year 2000. As I've discussed before, major social issues are largely ignored in 20th century American futurism, so it's interesting when we stumble upon serious predictions about major social change by the year 2000.

A short excerpt appears below, but you can read the entire first page of the article here.

By the year 2000 Americans may travel by ballistic missile, swallow a pill for a meal and wear tights and helmets like people in science fiction comic strips. Or they may not. There's no way of telling, and perhaps it doesn't make much difference.

 

What matters is the quality of life: What will it be like to live in the year 2000? No one can draw the complete picture, but members of the Commission on the Year 2000 took glimpses from special points of view.

Will people be able to learn and remember what they need to know in the complex world of 2000? Not without help, predicts psychologist George A. Miller of Harvard University.

How will new biological techniques affect relations between the sexes? Perhaps by eliminating marriage and the family, suggested anthropologist Margaret Mead of New York's Museum of Natural History.

What will earning a living be like for Americans? Easier, Herman Kahn and Anthony J. Wiener of the Hudson Institute calculate. Maybe too easy.

Will there be any privacy left? Only if society takes steps to preserve it, warned law professor Harry Kalven Jr. of the University of Chicago.


Previously on Paleo-Future:
21st Century Eugenics (1967)
Future Shock - Babytorium (1972)
Instant Baby Machine (1930)
Civilized Adultery (1970)