Predicting the Future
“for boys and girls who would like to know the future: you can’t”
So begins the introduction to this charming and remarkably prescient book of “forecasts” about everything from new sources of power to war and peace to innovative communication systems. Some of the predictions are amazingly accurate, including the building of a tunnel under the English Channel, the use of radiation as medical therapy, and wind as an energy source. Others, like the advantages of entire populations sunbathing and game-playing in the nude may take a while to catch on!
The author is particularly ingenious regarding new methods of communication, including pneumatic tubes for distributing mail across the country and telegraph typewriters in every home for transmitting handwriting. “With further progress in wireless we may have tiny instruments, little bigger than a watch, with which we can call up a friend in any part of the earth, and talk with him in complete privacy on our own special beam and wave-length. Regarding books, the author suggests the invention of audio books, “but it hardly seems likely that we shall replace books entirely by reels of sound-ribbon, as the books are so very convenient to use.” This book is also remarkable for the way in which it is made. A special binding allows a stiff celluloid cover to act as both protection as well as illustration, while thinner leaves of celluloid with black and white images printed on them provide an almost 3-D effect.