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Entries in war (30)

Sunday
Nov292009

Pets of the Year 2000 As Living Robots (1974)

Most people of the 20th century imagined humanoid robots as the domestic servants of the future. But one curious article from the March 1, 1974 Record-Eagle (Traverse City, MI) described the year 2000 as a world of cyborg Fidos awaiting your next command; be it closing the window, or bombing an insurgent hideout. 

LONDON (UPI) -- The programming of family pets to perform various tasks and various deeds, good or evil as required, may be fairly common practice by the year 2000, according to an American psychologist.

Dr. Boris Levinson of Touro College in New York, a specialist on relationships between people and animals, said that by the end of the century pets controlled by brain electrodes may become commonplace. Recent experiments make this a strong probability, he said.

"it does not lie in the realm of science fiction," Dr. Levinson told a symposium organized by the British Small Animals' Veterinary Association. "In a sense the electrodes will make the animals become living robots. They will be able to open doors, close windows, adjust beds and even call for help."

He said pets could even be used for warfare and for espionage and if the knowledge of genetic engineering involved fell into the hands of insurgent groups they could be employed in bombings and in plane hijackings. Criminals might use them in the commission of theft, robbery and even murder.

But he said most pets would play a highly beneficial role in society -- "a very important safety valve in a sick society" -- as specially trained companions to invalids, old people, childless couples and even astronauts.

Dr. Levinson's remarks brought quick reactions in this nation of animal lovers. A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and other animal lovers described "exploitation" of pets as reprehensible. 

Dr. Levinson pointed out that dogs had been used as living bombs in the Russo-German fighting in World War II an he was stating the possibilities.

"We can already implant minute electrodes into animals' brains to make them placid, angry or to stop them attacking," he said. "It is only a matter of time before electrodes can be implanted into every part of the brain to make them do whatever we wish."

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Monday
Sep282009

When Wars Are Fought With Robot Soldiers (1935)

The idea that robot soldiers would inevitably replace human troops pops up repeatedly in newspapers of the 1930s. The emergence of humanoid robots, however primitive, lent themselves to people thinking about the human toll of the first World War and how it might be avoided in future wars.

This article from the July 28, 1935 San Antonio Light (San Antonio, TX) features illustrations from artist Erik Nitsche depicting robots with machine guns for heads, robot scouts with movie camera faces, a twenty-five tube robot military band, and even a robot hospital for the repair of robot soldiers. An excerpt appears below.

Erik Nitsche, a distinguished European artist, has looked into the future of a century from now and has made a series of remarkable prophetic pictures of a war fought solely with robot soldiers. The majority of them were drawn exclusively for The American Weekly and appear on this page.

Instead of the human machine gunners, crouched in their emplacements, waiting for the mangling shell to end them, there is a steel encased mechanism. The most important organ to the machine gunner, without which his hands would be useless, are his eyes. Nitsche's robot machine gunner's head is the gun itself. His eyes are in the heads of those who by television and radio direct his fire. he crawls forward, his human masters miles away, striving to direct the deadly stream into the mechanical vitals of the enemy's robots.

Patrol work was desperately dangerous in the last war. But a flying robot, equipped with motion picture and sound recording machines, could dart and hover over the enemy with no danger to human life -- and bring back vastly more accurate observations. When a human soldier gets a bullet in his heart, or in his liver or has himself partly blown to pieces, that is the end of that soldier. Not so with the robot. A new heart can be put in him as easily, almost, as changing a tire. Doctors were notoriously insufficient in the World War, and they found their tasks unpleasantly dangerous in the future, Mr. Nitsche thinks war robot doctors will attend to the injuries of robot soldiers. There will also be hospitals where all the equipment will be mechanical, reeking no more of blood and antiseptics but of machine oil.

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Saturday
Jul252009

Nuclear-Powered Aircraft (1960)

The Winter, 1960 edition of Air Progress magazine featured two nuclear-powered aircaft on its cover. Much like the nuclear-powered car, which was a popular idea among forward-thinking automobile designers of the 1950s, this idea never really took off. (Get it? Took off! TOOK OFF! Nevermind.)


Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Saturday
Jul042009

Letters by 4th Graders to the Year 2000 (1976)

The July 4, 1976 Grand Prairie Daily News (Grand Prairie, TX) published letters written by 4th graders, addressed to people of the year 2000. Just as the newspaper did, I've left the spelling and grammatical errors. Because if we've learned anything at the Paleo-Future blog, it's that kids are stupid.

We'll begin by looking at letters by young Laurie Smith, Yolanda Tejeda, and R.C. Brown. These kids really hit all the major futurism topics of the 20th century: robot maids, moving sidewalks, flying cars, meal pills, push button everything, education through television, socialism, and candy. Lots of candy.

 

Dear Janice,

In the year 2000 I think that cars can fly in the air as fast as they want to without using gas. You can get whatever you want, including candy. Houses will be way up in the sky. You can have robots to do the housework for the mothers. Instead of walking, the the sidewalks will move for you.

Your friend,

Laurie Smith

 

Dear John,

In the year 2000 I think thay kids will be taught at home on their T.V. The army will be using lazor guns. Cars will be like spaceships and the strreetlights will be on long tall poles. Another means of transportation will be push buttons. Select where you want to go, push a button, step through a door, and you'll be where you wanted to be.

Food will be in tablet form, put on water on the tablet and your food will be on your plate.

Sincerely yours,

R.C. Brown

 

Dear Laurie,

I think in the year 2000 the earth will be much more polluted than it is.

I also think that we will have no more school, and cars can go as fast as they want without getting a ticket.

The government will pay every person as much as they want without them having to work. I also think we will be out of energy for stores or anything that uses fuel in the year 2000.

Sincerely,

Yolanda Tejeda

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Monday
Jun292009

The Domination of Space (1950s)

The History Channel documentary Sputnik Mania uses footage from the films Space and National Security and Challenge of Outer Space to tell the story of the United States' ambitions to dominate space. Wernher von Braun and General John Medaris are seen in this clip from the film speaking out publicly about their desire for the militarization of space, fearing that if they do not act quickly the Soviets would do it first.

 

During an interview Major General Bernard Shriever proclaims, "The day will come when perhaps our major battles will be space battles instead of air battles. I certainly couldn't predict exactly when that will be, but I'm sure it will come in the future."

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Tuesday
May122009

Aerial War of the Not-Distant Future (1900)

This illustration of an "aerial battle of the not-distant future" appeared in the November 20, 1900 Duluth Evening Herald (Duluth, MN). As with most of my posts involving newspapers from Minnesota, this image was found in the microfilm library of the Minnesota History Center. A special thank you to the MNHS for keeping their facilities top-notch.

NOW THE THRILLING AERIAL COMBAT. American inventors stimulated by success of the Zeppelin balloon. Airships fighting craft of the future.

Count Zeppelin, the great German balloon-builder, is responsible for a wave of aeronautic enthusiams spreading rapidly over the United States. Our artist has drawn a stirring picture of an aerial battle of the not-distant future.

Previously on Paleo-Future:

Tuesday
Jul292008

Space and National Security (1963)



The 1963 U.S. Air Force film Space and National Security envisioned futuristic wars conducted in space. The clip above is taken from the fascinating NOVA episode, Astrospies. Many thanks to Matt Chapman of Homestarrunner.com for bringing this clip to our attention.

 

As Matt points out, the "non-animation animation" is similar in style to many of the 1950s Disneyland TV episodes like Mars and Beyond, and Man and the Moon, as well as non-Disney films like Rhapsody of Steel.


See also:
Air Force Predictions for 2063 (1963)
2063 A.D. Book (1963)
Mars and Beyond (1957)
Man and the Moon (1955)
Rhapsody of Steel (1959)