Because it’s Friday: Arthur C Clarke predicts the present

October 22, 2010

(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

On the BBC Horizon programme in 1964, Arthur C Clarke made some predictions about the future. He prefaced his predictions with the following caveat:

If, by some miracle, a prophet could describe the future exactly as it was going to take place, his predictions would sound so absurd, so farfetched, that everybody would laugh him to scorn.

So what absurd, farfetched, then-unbelievable technologies did Clarke predict in 1964 to be in existence in 2000?

  • The ability to contact our friends, anywhere on Earth, instantaneously.
  • Telecommuting, and working while travelling.
  • Telepresence (and even remote surgery).


Clarke predicted in 1964, when the internet barely existed, that these breakthroughs would be made possible by developments in communication. We still have cities and work travel, but it's fascinating how prophetic these predictions were, and how fantastic (in the literal sense of the word) they must have seemed 50 years ago.

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