Yesterday's Tomorrow

Here are two old videos that predict the future. Paul Otlet (1868-1944) was the founding father of information science. His major work included the development of new ways to collect, organize, and classify information. He’s the guy who came up with the standard 3×5 catalog cards that we used to use in libraries before online catalogs were available. This video describes his Traité de documentation, in which he fairly accurately describes the World Wide Web more than fifty years before it was developed:

[flashvideo filename=files/videos/otlet.flv /]

Thanks to Alec Couros for pointing this one out.

Thirty years later, the visionaries were still hard at work. This is a 1967 video produced by Philco-Ford that predicts technological developments for the year 1999. It predicts online shopping, email, online financial transactions, webcams, and laser printers. Interestingly, though, no changes are predicted in societal roles. The man is the breadwinner and bill payer; the woman takes care of the kids, does the shopping, and manages the household.

[flashvideo filename=files/videos/year1999.flv /]

Debbie found this one on Snopes and pointed it out.

So what are we predicting now? How is the world going to be different in another half century? Is is even possible to create an educational system that prepares our children for the world they’re going to build?


Author: John Schinker

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