Clarke wrote of the meeting:
Needless to say, neither side converted the other, and we refused to abandon our diabolical schemes of interplanetary conquest. But a fine time was had by all, and when, some hours later, we emerged a little
unsteadily from the Eastgate, Dr. Lewis’s parting words were "I’m sure you are very wicked people but how dull it would be if everyone was good."
[Edit: Link to some details on Val Cleaver: http://www.bis-space.com/what-we-do/the-british-interplaneta...]
Edit to add - One more thing: in case anyone here doesn't already know, Clarke invented the concept of geostationary communications satellites in a 1945 article he wrote for Wireless World. http://lakdiva.org/clarke/1945ww/
In fact cabs are already cheaper than owning a car where parking space is very expensive, but robotic cabs will reach a whole new level of cheapness.
Cars and engines are going to get a lot smaller when you don't need to accommodate a driver or the need to speed. Think rickshaw size with a top speed of 35 mph.
Mopeds get 120 mpg. That's like 4 cents a mile. Door to door for a dollar a trip will be a reality and make mass transit AND the traditional automobile industry increasingly irrelevant.
Use the commute time to telecommute and shorten (or extend!) your in-office work day, or spend it pursuing solitary leisure activities and work a normal-length day at the office.
This would be awesome.
Unfortunately, fast-moving underground moving sidewalks sound like an incredible waste of energy.
Would be nice to expend only the energy required to move people and things and anything needed to take care of them (safety systems)
I still think technology is winning the resource depletion race, even if we ignore the fact that it's really starting to look like oil production isn't actually near the end of its road yet. And if we don't ignore that, the likelihood that gas (or more broadly "energy") will just be "too expensive" for people to want to jaunt about anytime in the next 20 years seems to be decreasing rather than increasing. A great deal of our current apparent shortages of various things are 100% self-imposed.
Buses in SF run totally with overhead wires. You see the drivers having to reconnect to them when they pop out.
Big cities are definitely bigger and denser, see the BBC special report on urbanisation: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/world/06/urbanisation/...
Looking back it looks obvious, but I wonder how many people at that time agreed with his vision of the future? That brings the question, how many "Arthur C. Clarke"s lives today that we are dismissing as lunatics?
However there may come a trend to move out of the cities sooner or later. For example even now a lot of people get tired of 'busy city life' and would like to move to the land and have some more space. If you can work remotely, why not.
I live in a relatively sparsely populated area. I often work remotely. When I do go into the office, I'm headed for another suburb. I'm about as removed from urban life as you can get, and still have a major hospital within 5 miles. I've not had to visit downtown Detroit since I worked their 11 years ago.
I much prefer the deer eating our hastas in the garden vs. drive-by shootings in the next neighborhood.
If Clark's prediction isn't true yet, I do see a time when it would be more typical.
If telecommuting does become the defacto mode of work, I expect people will live in a greater variety of places. For instance, I wouldn't mind living a few years in Europe and Asia.
Cities open more of what Steven Berlin Johnson calls "the adjacent possible" in Where Good Ideas Come From. As I said above, if you're interested in knowledge spillover effects promoted by cities, see Edward Glaeser's The Triumph of the City.
I know I wouldn't. I'd go crazy being alone all the time, and video chat is a piss-poor substitute for actually being in a room with somebody, whether it's a friend or a colleague. Besides, I like the fact that within 20 minutes' drive of my house there's hundreds of restaurants, hundreds of bars, dozens of theaters, thousands of shops, et cetera.
New York city.
Clarke was an amazing writer, and there is no question he had an eye for possible futures. I wish I could write half as well.
For the very big majority of people in 1964 the really big change was moving from rural environments to the slums of Mexico City, Kinshasa, Mumbai or other 3rd world big town.
The next prediction gets a bit more far-fetched, by suggesting bio-engineering chimpanzees as some form of slave labour.
Even when there is no financial reason, no technological reason, people are still, inherently, unfortunately wary about people working from "just anywhere"...
Not only does it contain lots of predictions like the ones in this video, but also fascinating analysis about the whole future-predicting business, including gems like this:
"Anything that is theoretically possible will be achieved in practice, no matter what the technical difficulties, if it is desired greatly enough."
I'll just go on the record here with flying cars, 300 year lifespans, portable holograms, human-embedded electronics that give superhuman sensory abilities, etc...
2. Government and corporate surveillance of the individual will be so common place that it will seem weird that people in the past went through most of their lives unobserved.
3. Corruption in American government will be beyond rampant, and no one will even bother to complain about it anymore. It will be almost like Indian society where individuals have to pay bribes for any government contact, except the bribery will still only be available to corporations and individuals rich enough to operate as corporations.
4. Access to health care/health insurance (they amount to the same thing here) will be worse than it is now, and we will still crow that ours is the best healthcare system in the world.
5. The reported unemployment numbers will be at or above 20%.
6. Public schools will have deteriorated so badly that only the poorest of families will educate their kids there. That group will however be more than 50% of kids.
7. The car culture will have disappeared. Most of us will use public transportation, which will cost about what it costs now to operate a car.
8. 2050 will be the Year of the Linux Desktop.
This is kind of like the futurist trump card--if it plays out, it will render predictions in many other fields (geopolitics, demographics, sociology and most kinds of technological advancement) null and void.
While Puerto Rico may become a state (for reasons having nothing to do with "natural resources and cheap labour") I can't see anything else happening.
There's no strong demand for secession or splitting of states, quite apart from the major legal problems with either of those scenarios. And as for external territories Puerto Rico is the only sizeable one left. (What else? Guam?)
I had never considered that English has genders for objects. Airplanes, ships, and cars can be feminine objects (by convention of calling them "she"), but I can't think of other (common) examples inanimate objects referred to by "she". My telephone is an "it", not a "she". Perhaps "she" only applies to anthropomorphic inanimate objects?