Saturday, April 12, 2014 7:05 am
A look at predictions of the 1964 World's Fair
What they had right:
— "Picturephone": Bell System introduced this innovation, which allowed people to see whom they were calling. It didn't go over well at the time, but it's a concept that's an everyday part of our lives now in apps such as Skype and Facetime.
— Personal use of the computer: Several pavilions had exhibits set up where visitors could ask computers for information and get responses in seconds.
— Robotics: Walt Disney's "It's a Small World" exhibit introduced robotic animation in which characters sing, speak and make lifelike gestures such as smiles and blinks. It's still in use in theme parks and movies today.
— Ford Mustang: The two-seater sports car with its long hood and short rear deck was officially unveiled at the World's Fair and immediately became popular. It has remained in production ever since.
— Touch-tone phones: Originally introduced at the Seattle World's Fair in 1962, this was still the first time many visitors were exposed to this technology.
What they had wrong:
— Colonies on the moon, underwater and in Antarctica: The "Futurama 2" ride from General Motors, which featured images of people living in places where they clearly, uh, don't.
— Paved-over rainforests: Another image from "Futurama 2" featured a machine that used a laser to cut through the rainforests and left behind paved roads.
— Jet packs: There were demonstrations of jet pack power at the fair, with men wearing them and zooming around the grounds. Sadly, they remain a mode of transport found mainly in science fiction.