Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Wave of the Future?

See edit below.
From a 1954 issue of Popular Mechanics:

a prediction of what a home computer would look like in 2004.

How funny is this? Would you even have a computer if you had to allot this much space to it?

I have always thought that scientist's predictions of what our lives may be like in the future through vastly improved technology are fun to read and ponder, but how many of them are as far off the mark as this one was?

Lastly: what do you think computers will look like in 2056?

Click to enlarge so you can read the caption under the picture.

I got an email this morning from Greg at http://hastyruminations.blogspot.com/ telling me that this photo is a hoax. You can read about it at:

http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/hoaxes/computer.asp

Thanks, Greg!

17 comments:

Shane said...

I especially like the steering wheel. Maybe that computer could navigate channels too eh?

amazing.

~michele sent me

Shane said...

Well, looks like i'm back. It's funny to think back to those Texas Insrument breakthrough calculators. My Dad use to work for Lockheed and I heard tales about those room sized computers. Geez, imagine the guys who got suckered into those long term equipment leases. Long term payments on obsolete items

srp said...

WHAT? With the Fortran language the computer will be easy to use? I took one computer course in college, the home computer was not yet out there so we had to use Fortran, if I remember correctly. We had to devise a simple program to do a calculation and we had those punch cards. I ended up with a stack of cards about four inches thick to program a computation that would have taken me about two minutes at most to do by hand.
They try so hard, but just don't make it.

PI said...

Belated congrats to Mr Kenju. What a cuddlesome baby he was. If computers looked anything like that I wouldn't touch it with the end of a gondolier's barge pole.

bornfool said...

Aw, Shane said what I was going to say. I love that it had a big steering wheel. Or maybe that is a valve because the computer is water cooled.

Carolyn said...

It looks like a control room in a submarine. For some reason it also reminds me of that Twilight Zone episode, "The Old Man In The Cave."

P.S. Happy B-day to Mr. Kenju :D

Lisa said...

Hoax or not, its still quite funny to think of. Especially that big old turn wheel. I can just imagine that in my tiny living room.

I think computers in 2056 will probably be implanted in our brain, and we just have to think to operate them.

Or not. Maybe the'll be just like they are now, only faster. I know I wouldn't want my screen any smaller. My eyes are already acting old.

Peter said...

What's so funny? that's pretty much like my steam driven computer looks like.

Chele In {dot} LA said...

that is what mine feels like it looks like...
ahah

November Rain said...

ewww I am so glad pcs dont look like that



here via Michele

poopie said...

Happy day after your b'day Mr. Kenju. I actually remember a few computers looking a whole lot like that back in the day. Hasn't been that long ago either!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

What do you suppose that big wheel is for? Maybe it opens the vault so you can get out enough money to pay the electric bill.

Tan Lucy Pez said...

Well, it's funny even if it's a hoax.

David ParsonsWV said...

The most impressive look at "future life from the past" was the GM Futurama exhibit at the 1939 New York World's Fair. This miniature version of the World of 1960 was way off. Oddly enough though the bridge designs used in the model world are now being used in all new bridges in the world. The Sunshine Skyway Bridge across Tampa Bay and the new megabridge in France use this new technique. As a child I always thought that by 2000 we would have colonies on Mars and no diseases or wars. Beam me up, Scotty!

sage said...

I wish I had a steering wheel on my laptop!

brendalove@gmail.com said...

You big sillies! Of course the steering wheel is for NAVIGATING THE INTERNET!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Kenju--thanks for the posting. Let's give credit for what they got "right"--that there would even be home computers. WIWAK (When I was a kid), there were no computers except mechanical ones (I'm guessing that most of your readers have never heard of mechanical computers?! They were analog, of course, and "modern" war planes flew with mechanical computers in their navigation systems, as I recall, into the 1970s, at least.) ENIAC and it's brethren/sistern came about in the 1950s.

Just after my husband and I left engineering school in 1958, ground was broken to build a computer building--to house a computer. With gas tube technology, cooling was a huge problem (none of our college buildings were air conditioned, of course)--the computers were not termed "egg cookers" for nothing. And, there were analog, there were digital, and there were hybrid computers that used gas tubes. Next step: in the existing computers, the newly-developed solid-state devices (transistors) were substituted for many of the gas tubes. (IBM designated such up-dated computers with an appended letter, which one, I no longer recall). This reduced the heat output and increased the reliability. Only later were computers produced that used no gas tubes.

I haven't done well projecting into the future on my own life, let alone projecting into the future for masses of people. I am constantly amazed at how well the prognosticators do! Again, thanks for the posting.
Cop Car