2010: Living in the Future

For those who haven't seen it yet - this is great. Someone has scanned in a children's book from the early 70s called "2010: Living in the Future" and it's well worth a look.

It's a bit of a kids' "Things to Come", a guidebook to living in 2010 written simply because "It is fun to guess what it may be like". Some of the ideas are eerily prescient, e.g. overpopulation, the prevalence of screen-based interfaces - and he even sort of anticipates the ubiquity of the internet. Elsewhere it's a bit more wack (free public transport? no more pollution?!).

The more I think about this, the more interesting it gets. I realised we're not talking about a predictive power spanning multiple generations here - this chap's still alive, and the future utopias imagined by young people of the 1970s are the very ideas that have shaped the world we live in today, because these people were the architects of the aesthetic that the late 20th Century would develop.

So, almost by definition, the 1970s imagined future is the one that 1970s and 80s were destined to achieve. In other words - maybe there are time limits on our imagined futures; maybe many of our predictions will inevitably be realised within our lifetimes because we can't help but imagine things that seem possible, and if we can both imagine and make, then we will make. In a way it's no wonder that everything has turned out to be either dome shaped or covered in buttons. The social stuff, however, is perhaps trickier to predict, and although we haven't quite fancied the idea of videophones, we certainly do now find ourselves with a mass public databank rather similar to what the author here ambitiously outlines for his homes and libraries of 2010.

But have a flick through yourself - it's remarkably inventive and in a way very thought-provoking, a cartoon wormhole opening up under our feet and linking us to the recent past and it to us. It's also full of charming illustrations of people in jumpsuits talking to each other on their 'vision phones', and the comments on each page are almost as entertaining as the book! It starts here. And if you want to join a campaign to track down the author Geoffrey Hoyle, why, there's one on Facebook.

~Leila

Posted: January 16th, 2010 | 2 Comments »


2 Comments on “2010: Living in the Future”

  1. 1 Dave G said at 8:41 pm on January 18th, 2010:

    I thought this might be this one, but it’s another one… (I also have an Usbourne “guide to tape recorders” somewhere that remains largely relevant to today’s podcasting generation)

    http://magicalnihilism.com/2009/10/04/thanks-for-all-the-future-cities-of-the-past-david-jefferis/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/wiless/sets/72157604422314019/

  2. 2 leila said at 8:34 am on January 19th, 2010:

    Ooh thanks Dave that’s lovely, like the song “It’s gonna be the future soon…/when we’re living in our solar dome on a platform in space”.

    Jumpsuits again.

    Bring your tape recorder book next time!

    Btw I’ve fixed the picture now so it need no longer be a mystery.


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