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BBC Broadcast in 1989 Predicted How The World Would be Like in 2020. Here's How Accurate it Was

From using any wall in your house as a power source to switches turning on and off sensing the presence of a person, technology has made a lot of these predictions turn to reality.
PUBLISHED JUN 2, 2024
Cover Image Source: YouTube | BBC Archive
Cover Image Source: YouTube | BBC Archive

Looking back at science fiction movies from the '70s and '80s, one could see extreme portrayals of the times that we live in, with some envisioning cities with flying cars, while others imagining a dystopian society in a wasteland. We are in 2024 now, but the future envisioned by experts is still a distant dream. Back in 1989, a BBC show gave the viewers a glimpse into a future surrounded by technology and the video has resurfaced yet again to stun the modern generation too.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | ThisIsEngineering
Representative Image Source: Pexels | ThisIsEngineering

The BBC show titled "Tomorrow's World: 2020" gave the viewers a look into the future, showing them how modern technology will live up to their futuristic predictions. It demonstrated to the viewers through several clips how futuristic homes will have vanishing windows and people will be able to play music through voice commands. "People will want all the benefits of modern technology but without all the cluttered and complex gadgetry that we have today,” the presenter said. "A simple command gives you music, perhaps piped in from a sound library."

Image Source: Close-up shot of the Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker with clock and Alexa on a night stand in Lafayette, California, January 22, 2021. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)
Image Source: Close-up shot of the Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker with clock and Alexa on a night stand in Lafayette, California, January 22, 2021. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Another prediction shared how lights will be connected to motion sensors and will turn on and off sensing the presence of a person in the room.

As of 2024, voice-commanded operations of various digital devices in the house are made possible with Google Home, Alexa, and many more AI supports. Smart homes are also allowing people to control the lights and other devices in their homes with a tap on their smartphones. The window blinds can also be programmed to open and close on its their every morning and night.

According to Euronews, Tamar Kasriel, futurist and founder of strategic agency Futureal is pleasantly surprised by the accuracy of the predictions. “I think actually there is an awful lot which they got right!” she told the outlet. “Around a quarter of UK households have a voice-controlled digital assistant, and the majority of smartphone owners have at least tried out using voice rather than typing. Motion-sensing lights are becoming more and more popular and this is not only driven by convenience but environmental concerns around energy use are now important too."

Image Source: Apple CEO Tim Cook and Senior Vice President of Retail and People Deirdre O'Brien were at the opening of the Apple store on Fifth Avenue as the company begins its sale of the Vision Pro headset, the company's first new product in seven years. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
Image Source: Apple CEO Tim Cook and Senior Vice President of Retail and People Deirdre O'Brien were at the opening of the Apple store on Fifth Avenue as the company begins its sale of the Vision Pro headset, the company's first new product in seven years. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

A lot of their predictions might have been spot on but are still far from turning into reality. One futurist predicted that the walls of our houses in the future would be digitally powered where we can attach any electronic devices without power sockets and use them, but that still remains a far-fetched idea. They also shared how futuristic walls could easily be transformed from opaque to transparent, giving the residents of a house the choice to let in the desired amount of sunlight. “So a simple command could turn a window into a wall – and you could decorate it how you want. It could be a television or a computer screen," one futurist said in the BBC segment. 



 

Along with that, the automatic heating system to conserve energy seemed like a good idea in 1989 but heating systems in 2024 still need to be manually regulated with switches. However, the show hits the nail on the head with one particular prediction about how there will be "enormous pressure on people to cut down on fossil fuel by 2020." “The best way to think about the future is to focus on not just what future technology will be able to deliver, but also to consider human needs, what people want, how they might use things,” Kasriel explains, adding how anything is possible but technology needs to make sense to people and it should be taken up by anyone other than the most technophile pioneers.



 

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