Congratulations. Finally we arrive at the future.
Nearly 100 years ago, a group of creative minds dared to imagine what life would be like in 2023. Some of their predictions fell far short, while others turned out to be eerily accurate.
Join us now as we look into that crystal ball of 1923.
Do not work too hard
How are you making the most of those four-hour workdays?
New York scientist Charles P. Steinmetz predicted that electrical energy would create a utopian society that would free humans from toil by 2023.
“At the present rate of world progress, the time will come when there will be no drudgery and hard work, and people will not work more than four hours a day,” he noted in 1923. “The rest of the time we will work if we can continue our inclination Natural".
Electricity would ease “the drudgery of this complex existence,” Steinmetz said, highlighting occupations such as working as a lathe in a factory, a linotype machine in a newspaper factory, a bench in a shoe store, a seat in a delivery car. , a typewriter in an office and a counter in a department store.
That's not to say people wouldn't keep busy.
"Leisure will be taken up with productive diversions that satisfy the individual's particular instincts," he said. “We will be more collectivist in the functioning of our essential productive life and more individualistic in the search for happiness and personal satisfaction. Leisure will stimulate educational interests in every conceivable direction.”
Also, thanks to advances in science, every city would be a "spotless city" with no trash in the streets or smoke in the sky, he said.
“That will be the job of electricity,” Steinmetz said.
Unfortunately, he couldn't see any of that. He died that year at age 58.
looking for a smartphone
English physicist, engineer, and inventor Archibald M. Low predicted breakthroughs during “the few seconds” that separated the people of 1923 from the people of 2023.
A typical London businessman, for example, would use a communication device to simplify work.
“A hundred years from now you will be able to talk comfortably on a phone that you can use in your car, at home or on your train,” Low said. “He's not going to hear a high-pitched voice saying 'What?' every few minutes.
"You'll probably be able to see the person you're talking to and, if you like, take notes that will be immediately read in a book miles away."
Doesn't it sound like a smartphone?
Some other low prophecies:
● "Public clocks and probably our clocks will be kept on wireless time and, by the same agency, wake us up any time we want."
● “All cars will be blocked and through a meter they will be able to collect their energy from government stations”.
● "An air service will take people from all over the world, not six miles from the city, but directly to the roof of a hotel in a street with a covered gallery."
● “The speed of subways will increase, while planes will be much faster than our efforts today will look like in the old phase”.
● “In a hundred years we will certainly have the Channel Tunnel because an island cannot live easily in the race of progress”.
New York City's population would rise to 100 million people by 2023 if early 20th-century trends continue, sociologist William F. Ogburn, professor of political economy at Columbia University, warned in 1923.
"Of course, it's inconceivable," he said.
At the time, more than 5.5 million lived in the city.
Living conditions would deteriorate and domestic problems would multiply if nothing was done about the "mobs", Ogburn said.
"In the United States, we really don't appreciate the fact that the population problem is upon us," he declared. “Everyone starts from the assumption that it is good business to have crowds in a hurry to continue in the exchange and commerce markets, in professions, in menial jobs.
“But the United States will have to abandon its idea of occupying more and more population. If not, he faces misery, poverty and indigence”.
New York City has grown, but not as much as Ogburn had hoped. Its current population is around 18.8 million.
Birth control advocate Margaret Sanger has envisioned happier lives and longer honeymoons in 2023.
"Birth control will have become part of health and hygiene education," he predicted. “Women especially will be willing to demand it. They will realize that it is a basis of freedom and intellectual development for them. Women cannot make real progress today while they are haunted by the fear of unwanted pregnancy."
Sanger said the result would be happier homes, greater mutual respect between husband and wife, and honeymoons that would last two to three years before children arrive.
"Four or five generations will develop new men and women with finer sensibilities, nobler feelings for one another, and a more dignified sense of responsibility toward the race," concluded Sanger.
fuel for thought
Future generations would no longer need to dig for coal.
“Long before anthracite runs out, necessity will have found a superior substitute somewhere in the atmosphere,” predicted editorialist Herbert Kaufman. "Man has no idea of the forces 15 meters above his head."
Drilling for oil would also become a thing of the past, as scientists developed chemical formulas for new fuels.
“The year 2023 will not see a rail, a locomotive, a motorized truck, a submarine cable, a telegraph line in use anywhere,” wrote Kaufman. "Traffic and communication are moving upwards and, when properly established, will draw needed energies from the power plants that the suns and planets have carried since the heavens stretched."
Not everything would be better. War would be more catastrophic than ever.
“Death faster than light, silent and stealthy as the shadow of a thought, will fly on the wings of radio to destroy nations in the space of a single breath,” wrote New York journalist George Edward Lyndon Jr. in 1923.
“The forces now hidden in the heart of nature will be unleashed by man, gathered in battle array and pitted against each other in a titanic struggle that will sweep all life on its way to oblivion like motes of dust before a whirlpool.” .
He quoted English physicist Archibald M. Low (that guy again), who predicted that the warring nations of 2023 would possess weapons like electrically charged water jets to kill all animal life; wireless control of tanks, planes, ships and submarines; giant transport planes of incredible speed; electrically controlled rockets that could destroy planes; radio "eyes" and "ears" to spy on enemies thousands of miles away; propaganda that would bring terror to rival nations via wireless receivers; and possibly mental telepathy over great distances.
Pretty bleak prospect, huh?
We can do it!
New York restaurateur Alice Foote McDougal, who owns a coffee company, believed that women would run most of the world's businesses by 2023.
According to his calculations, the percentage of women entrepreneurs has increased from 14.7% to 21% since 1880, while that of men has fallen from 5% to 10% in this period.
“I do not pretend to predict what men will do. Someone has to do the housework I guess and if women are hired differently then men will have to do it.
"Probably by that time, however, inventors will have alleviated human monotony to such an extent that it will be easy enough for men."
building for the future
Architect Cass Gilbert, designer of the 792-foot Woolworth Building in Manhattan, predicted that future buildings would be shorter.
“In general, I believe that the buildings of the future, except in the most congested parts of large cities, can be less tall than those of today,” he wrote. “We can, by virtue of certain laws, have cities with towers or terraces and landscaped roofs.
“In large population centers, land values will probably have advanced a lot, so landlords will be inclined to build higher in order to get more tenants on the land, but with the growth of this condition will come regulatory laws. generally. The interest of the community and the more scientific planning of our cities will allow a less intensive and massive use”.
However, if the Bolsheviks took control of the country, he feared for the future.
“[It is] not unlikely that architecture will cease to exist 100 years from now and there will be no houses to live in,” wrote Cast. "Certainly no new."
Age is just a number
You are as old as you feel.
“By 2023, the average human lifespan could increase to 100 years,” theorized longevity expert Dr. Eugene Lyman Fisk. "In individual cases, it can be increased to 150, maybe 200 years."
Thanks to advances in medical science and sanitation, he noted, average life expectancy has already increased by 18 years in the previous two decades.
"It is possible that science will lead to an even greater increase in life expectancy over the next century, as well as putting life on a much higher plane," Fisk wrote.
“The age of youth may last up to thirty years, and a man's capacity for work may be maintained until seventy or eighty. The physical appearance of human beings can also change to some extent.
“I'm not saying all of this will happen by 2023. I'm saying it's possible.”
this is entertainment
Hollywood film director D.W. Griffith imagined that the big publishing industry in 100 years would be film publishing, not printing.
“Film libraries will be as common as private libraries, even more so,” he wrote.
Sound pictures would have been perfected and perhaps forgotten by then, he noted, because "the world will become a picture trained so that words are not as important as they are now".
All movies would be in natural color, but the future was bleak for what scientists later called television.
"I don't see the possibility of live-action instant streaming to the screen 100 years from now," Griffith wrote. "There must be a medium in which dramatic coherence can be developed and the improved result firmly established before the screen occupies the audience's attention."
politics as usual
Future Secretary of State Cordell Hull, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, expected great things from the US government.
“The principles of democracy being eternal, they will necessarily exist a hundred years from now, and the achievements of government, through the application of these principles to changing conditions, will logically be greater than they have been in the last 100 years.
“That there will be two political parties then as now seems almost inevitable if progress continues. It is hardly conceivable that human nature could change enough in a century for everyone to think alike. In that case, there would also be danger of inertia, and inertia would lead to decay."
Sir Arthur Kent, an anthropologist from England, predicted that women would have shaved heads and men would have long hair by 2023.
“The barbaric origin of most styles is shown in the female aversion to showing the forehead, an instinctive urge to appear frowning, in the 4,000-year-old theory of Caucasian women that men disliked intellectual women,” he explained.
It might take another century to figure out what he meant.
let's drink to this
William H. Anderson, superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League of New York, predicted that within 100 years, the general public would long ago accept the fact that alcohol is an "irritating and addictive narcotic poison".
"The use of the drink will be completely unknown, except among the madmen, the idiots, the vicious and the depraved, whose classes will have been largely eliminated from the race in America", proclaimed Anderson.
Zingers de 1923
● “The year 2023, scientists say, will see all men with loose curly hair and all women with shaved heads. We should worry; we won't be here. — The Buffalo Courier in New York
● “Someone dreamed the other night that they were living in the year 2023, and people were on strike because they only made $125 a day while the price of eggs had gone up to $10 a dozen.” —The Caledonian-Record in St. Johnsbury, Vermont
● “By the year 2023, it is said that women will be at the head of all businesses in the country. But there won't be any business to run until then, judging by the way they're burning gasoline in 1923." —The Columbus Daily Advocate in Kansas
● They were digging in the year 2023.
“What a wealth of goods this ruler possessed,” declared one scientist.
"What was your name?" asked another.
“The inscription says 'Tencentstore'.” - The Louisville Courier-Journal in Kentucky
● “What's the use of predicting what the world will be like in 100 years? It will be the same old world, the same old sun, the same old human nature and roughly the same proportion of eccentrics, troublemakers, radicals and conservatives.” —The Racine Journal Times in Wisconsin
Mark J. Price can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More:The future is now: 100-year predictions to 2022
Local history:The satirical group Veterans of Future Wars angered real veterans in the mid-1930s.
This article was originally published in the Akron Beacon Journal:100 year forecasts over 2023