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Entries in computers (50)


Computer Criminals of the Future (1981)

The 1981 book School, Work and Play (World of Tomorrow) features this beautiful two-page spread. Apparently, thanks to computers, there's no crime in the future outside of the computerized variety. The "computer criminal" pictured really doesn't appear to be running very fast. Maybe they're playing a game of freeze-tag. Or maybe that policeman's gun has special settings the author didn't tell us about. I like to believe the former, but that's just me.

Computers will make the world of tomorrow a much safe place. They will do away with cash, so that you need no longer fear being attacked for your money. In addition, you need not worry that your home will be burgled or your car stolen. The computers in your home and car will guard them, allowing only yourself to enter or someone with your permission.

However, there is one kind of crime which may exist in the future - computer crime. Instead of mugging people in the streets or robbing houses, tomorrow's criminal may try to steal money from banks and other organizations using a computer. The computer criminal works from home, using his own computer to gain access to the memories of the computers used by the banks and companies. The criminal tries to interfere with the computers in order to get them to transfer money to his computer without the bank or company knowing that it has been robbed.

Computer crime like this in fact exists already. However, it is very difficult to carry out a successful robbery by computer. Many computers have secret codes to prevent anyone but their owners from operating them. As computers are used more and more, it is likely that computer crime will become increasingly difficult to carry out.

Nevertheless, a computer criminal may succeed now and then and the detectives of the future will have to be highly skilled computer operators. There will probably be police computer-fraud squads, specially trained to deal with computer crime. Here you can see a squad arriving at the home of a computer criminal and arresting him as he makes a dash for it. He is clutching a computer cassette that contains details of his computer crimes, and the police will need this as evidence to prove that he is guilty.

Previously on Paleo-Future:



The Electronic Home (circa 1988)

Ameritech's (late 1980s) concept video The Electronic Home envisions the futuristic world of HDTV and videophone, as well as internet-like services that allow you to make restaurant reservations (at a cartoonishly stereotypical Italian restaurant), shop for kimonos (because your shirt is made of giant playing cards), or buy a house (with your Atari joystick).


This rather primitive, closed-network system is not unlike the one we saw in the 1993 AT&T concept video, Connections. While I wasn't able to find a specific date for this video, it does use footage from the 1987 GTE concept video Classroom of the Future, so we'll call it "circa 1988" until we learn otherwise.


I'm not an expert on telecommunications law or history, so I can't give the necessary background information to understand Ameritech's motives in this video. But it's pretty clear this video was intended to influence people in power to let Ameritech (now AT&T Midwest) establish a communications network it didn't feel it was able to provide at the time. In other words, look it up and get back to me. I'm talking to you, media-tech nerds!

Previously on Paleo-Future:
Connections: AT&T's Vision of the Future (1993)
GTE's Classroom of the Future (1987)
Motorola's 2000 A.D. (1990)
Pacific Bell Concept Video (1991)
Flowers by Alice (1992)
Apple's Knowledge Navigator (1987)
Apple's Grey Flannel Navigator (1988)
Vision (Clip 1, 1993)
Vision (Clip 2, 1993)
Vision (Clip 3, 1993)
Starfire (1994)


Computers: Get Used to Them! (1982)

I would argue that the most funny, edgy and entertaining writing in the U.S. does not come from The Onion, but from high school newspapers. Granted, the humor coming from the Hormonal Fourth Estate may be largely unintentional, but it can be hilarious nonetheless.

As editor of the "Reviews" section of my high school newspaper I was notoriously bad at my job. I rarely attended class and edited my stories with the same attention to detail Don Draper gives his wife. My lack of diligence even got the "f-bomb" inadvertently published in my high school paper.

It is with this same high standard that I present a piece by Kevin Jensen. His story appeared in the November 26, 1982 edition of his high school newspaper, the Oelwein Husky Register.

Titled, "Computers, Get Used to Them!" the article says that computers are on their way but we have nothing to fear (as long as we have sledgehammers). The opening line starts by insulting the reader and just keeps getting better. The entire piece appears below.

Unless you're totally ignorant, you have probably noticed that computers are the talk of the early 1980's.


If you're a typical American, you are probably also growing tired of hearing how these computers will be running your life in the near future.

You may even have a slight fear of computers. No, I don't mean you wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat screaming, "Don't hurt me, computers!" But I think we all have a slight fear or uneasy feeling over things we are unfamiliar with.

Contrary to what you may have heard, your hands will not fall of when you touch the keyboard of a computer.

I was a little apprehensive when I walked into a computer programming class for the first time this year. All I knew about computers, prior to class, was they had computed my class schedule the last two years.

As I began to become more familiar with computer language and how to write computer programs, my uneasiness went away and I found working with computers enjoyable.

If you are considering taking a computer class (whether you are an adult or a student), I think you'd enjoy it. You may struggle a little at first learning the language and proper usage of statements, but with some persistence on your part, your mind will start picking up the techniques naturally.

You will probably also discover in your early stages of computer study that the computer can be a friend at times or a foe at other times, because of your inexperience.

For example, in computer programming class, when a program you have sweated over and worked on ruthlessly for a considerable length of time is run on the computer screen just as you planned, you might give the computer a nice pat on the top and then proceed to print out "your pride and joy."

On the other hand, when a different program assignment does not run on the computer screen as planned and the screen is showing you what seems like an infinite number of incorrect statements in your program you wish like heck you had a "nice" sledgehammer to make the computer see things your way.

Whether you like or dislike computers or are or aren't interested in them, you had better get used to hearing about them in the media. The experts predict that computers are going to be with us a long time and will be as commonplace in the home as the telephone by the year 2000.

Read More:
Computer Games of the Future (1981)
Computers in the Home by Year 2000 (1978)
Living Room of the Future (1979)
Computersville is almost here (1970)



Apple Computer in 1997 (1987)

This video from 1987 imagines the Apple Computer company of the year 1997, (tongue planted firmly in cheek). I can't decide if the iPsychiatrist or the R2D2-style hologram is my favorite Apple innovation through 1997.

See also:
Apple's Grey Flannel Navigator (1988)
Apple's Knowledge Navigator (1987)
Project 2000 - Apple Computer (1988)


Cornucopia (1993)

According to the company Empruve, this futuristic multimedia device from 1993, "will become as much an integral part of our lives as the telephone, the television, the typewriter and the book." The photo and its caption (below) were found in the book Understanding Hypermedia.

According to the developer costs for Empruve's Cornucopia were between $4,000 and $5,000.

Advanced multimedia systems will become as much an integral part of our lives as the telephone, the television, the typewriter and the book. "Cornucopia" demonstrates how ergonomic a multimedia system can be. The system uses DVI technology and a CDROM drive, and combines an A4 paper white screen and a colour screen (for stills and motion video) with a new control device called a "tadpole."

See also:
Starfire (1994)
GTE's Classroom of the Future (1987)
Motorola's 2000 A.D. (1990)
Pacific Bell Concept Video (1991)
Connections: AT&T's Vision of the Future (1993)
Flowers by Alice (1992)
Apple's Knowledge Navigator (1987)
Apple's Grey Flannel Navigator (1988)



Auto-Tutor (1964)

This "auto-tutor" from the 1964 World's Fair is very similar in concept to the "homework machine" we looked at from 1981. The photo above can be found in the Official Souvenir Book of the 1964 New York World's Fair.

The Autotutor, a U.S. Industries teaching machine, is tried out by visitors to the Hall of Education. It can even teach workers to use other automated machines.

See also:
Homework in the Future (1981)
The Answer Machine (1964)
Learning in 1999 A.D. (1967)
Connections: AT&T's Vision of the Future (Part 7, 1993)
The Road Ahead: Future Classroom (1995)
Closer Than We Think! (1958-1963)



"Broadband" by Australia Telecom (1992)