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Chronomedia 1950
Predictions from 1950

Waldemar Kaempffert

What will the world be like in AD2000? You can read the answers in your home, in the streets, in the trains and cars that carry you to your work, in the bargain basement of every department store. You don't realise what is happening because it is a piecemeal process. ...
        Of course the Dobson's [a typical 2000 family] have a television. But it is connected with the phones as well as with the radio receiver so that when Joe and a friend in a distant city talk on the phone they also see each other. Business have television conferences; each man is surrounded by half a dozen screens on which he sees those taking part. Documents are held up for examination; samples of goods are displayed. Jane does much of her shopping by television. Department stores obligingly hold up for her inspection bolts of fabric or show her new styles of clothing. ...
        Jet and rocket-propelled mail planes made it so hard for telegraph companies to compete with the postal service that dormant facsimile transmission systems had to be revived. It takes no more than a minute to transmit and receive in facsimile a five-page letter on paper of the usual business size. Cost? Five cents. In Tottenville the clerks in telegraph offices no longer print out intelligible words. Everything is transmitted by phototelegraphy exactly as it is written—illegible spelling, blots, smudges and all.
• article in Popular Mechanics, USA

Interestingly, in a lengthy article, these are virtually the only predictions that are even in the ballpark. For instance, in 'The Orwell Helicopter Corporation' factory (every family has its own helicopter parked on the roof!), a form of robotics has been introduced—driven by punched tape. Vladimir Zworykin is jointly credited with John von Neumann with invention of an 'electronic machine' (the word 'computer' is not used) to handle all the calculations needed to forecast the weather.

J Arthur Rank
Head of Rank Organisation

It is definitely not my view that television will harm cinema. American experience is that, after the novelty period, it has helped other entertainments.
• November 1950; quoted in Geoffrey MacNab: J Arthur Rank and the British Film Industry

J W Ridgeway
Chairman, Radio Industry Council, UK

It is inevitable that television will become the primary service and sound radio the secondary one.
• October 1950]


Chronomedia 1950

Page updated 7 April 2008
© David Fisher