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Robocars of the future from 1958 and Google Tech Talk


You may have seen it already but it's amusing to watch this encoding of a 1958 Disney show on the highway of the future:

This highway features a mixture of human driven cars, robocars and PRT style robocars on private guideways. Much of it is typical of ancient predictions of the future, with an expectation of remarkably cheap and strong materials and portable atomic power, but some of it is on the mark (like urban sprawl.) The roles of mom and dad don't change in 50 years. It is always humbling to go back into the past and see how futurists have got it wrong, and wonder where you are going wrong in your own predictions. (I've learned you should never predict dates for things because while you might have a sense about how long it would take to develop the technology, you can't as easily predict how markets and governments will react.)

However, I will be prognosticating again next week, giving my Robocar talk in the Google "Tech Talk" series at Google HQ in Mountain View on Dec 14 at 11am. While not generally open to the public, I can bring in guests if they all come in at around 10:30am. Contact me if this is of interest. They will put the talk up on Google Video when done. Of course, if you are a Googler, I hope to see you there.

It's amusing to note that many of the vision seen in the movie "Minority Report" are found in this Disney video from much earlier.


Fred Pohl entitled his autobiography "The Way the Future Was".

Wait, the rest is to come.

I believe prediction is not prediction but actually authoring.
Everything we think up and share with the world eventually gets done - because we thought it up.
For example say Im the worlds leading authority on war, and I say "I know my business and I can tell you all that coutry a will invade country b and defeat them".
Now country a gets all heady and starts to think about owning country b, and since the worlds leading authority on war declared that they will win they eventually they give it a go.
And country b encourage country a by starting to build their defences, but in doing so they have already admited to themselves that they agree with the prediction and cant win, so when the battle goes down their disheartedness causes them to lose.
Say I predict that country b will win.
Country a must act to save face otherwise they admit that country b are stronger than them and in doing so some their economic wealth can be - or now is being - taken by country b by standover tactics.
Country b eagery await coutry a's attack believing that soon they will own country a.
Say Im not the worlds leading authority but just average Jo going around speading the rumor.
Same circumstances, just takes much longer to spread.

Any other kind of prediction is just gestimation based on history and experience.

This is just my surmise so if it doesnt seem right, well Im pretty sure I dont know everything.

Great video, glad I watched it.

Eugene Kerner.

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