Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Progress to Counter Catastrophe Theory? (1975)

The November 24, 1975 Middlesboro Daily News (Middlesboro, Kentucky) ran an editorial countering the "catastrophe theory" predictions made by the Club of Rome. Per usual, neither party got everything right. Excerpts appear below, along with the piece in its entirety.

In health care, for example, a cure for cancer will be found by 1995 and will be generally available in the early 21st Century.

Closer to the present, it's felt that within two years doctors should be able to detect most genetic defects before birth and be able to prevent them by the 1990s.

In transportation, an all plastic car, except for engine and drive train, will be common by 1990. So will the electric car. The service-free, accident-proof automobile is expected to be in widespread use by the year 2000.

Ditto for automated urban transit, after becoming technologically possible in 1985 and economically feasible 10 years later.

Also by 1995, aerospace experts predict an economic alternative to petroleum fuel and full use of it by 2010.

See also:
The Futurists of 1966 Looking Toward A.D. 2000
Health Care in 1994 (1973)
Headlines of the Near Future (1972)
Closer Than We Think! Monoline Express (1961)
The Population Bomb: Scenario 1 (1970)
The Population Bomb: Scenario 2 (1970)
The Population Bomb: Scenario 3 (1970)
Future Without Football (Daily Review, 1976)
Going Backward into 2000 (1966)


Anonymous said...

Daft punters! Doesn't anyone ever take into account market forces, ie. the evil oil and drug industries?

Mr. Cavin said...

My favorite line from the image of the full article:

... another host of trends expected to improve the quality of lie in the 21st Century.

Now that's what I call a prediction!

Dave said...

I think these predictions were made in the shadow of the 1970's oil shocks. It was pretty much taken as fact that oil was on the brink of running out.
If oil had run out as they said, then yep, we'd probably be driving around in electric cars.
As it turned out, there was no pressing need to shift to a new auto technology.

Anonymous said...

Oil is always ready to run out, but nobody ever does anything about it. Like mass producing fuel efficient/electric cars. So what does that tell you? Yes, oil is not anywhere near running out. Now, the polar ice caps might be another story.

Anonymous said...

Got one partially right: here in Vancouver, Canada we got an automated rail system (mix of elevated & underground) in the mid 80s. Was it economically feasible at that point? Who knows what that means when government money is involved, but it probably was. The control system always used relatively standard PC servers I think, and could probably run on a cell phone today.

The train control systems are made by a division of Alcatel, one with an office here in Vancouver where they do at least some of the development. They've since installed similar systems in the far east, London, and Las Vegas. Ah, wikipedia says teh system is called SelTrac and has a page dedicated to it.