Arthur C. Clarke Predicted What Our Lives Would Be Like…In 1976
Arthur C. Clarke’s collaboration with Stanley Kubrick in the 1960s culminated in one of the most visually-stunning, mind-blowing experiences in all of cinema, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Ultimately, the film existed less as a prediction of the technological future than as a sweeping exploration of humanity’s origins and destiny. Very little about intelligent beings, it turns out, changes over time.
Clarke did, however, attend an AT&T-MIT conference in 1976 about the future of communications, where he was remarkably accurate about how friends would interact and share information in the future.
When prompted by an interviewer about the ideal communications device, Clarke responded:
“Well, it would be a high-definition TV screen, and a typewriter keyboard, and through this you can exchange any type of information, send messages to your friends. They can wait and when they get up they can see what messages have come in the night. You can call in through this any information you want: airline flights, price of things at the supermarket, books you’ve always wanted to read, news you’ve selected. You’ll tell the machine, ‘I’m interested in such-and-such thing, sports, politics’ and so forth, and the machine will hunt the main central library and bring all this information to you selectively.”
Is it exactly a smartphone or laptop? Not exactly, but it’s as close as anyone came pre-1980 to predicting what we have today.