What about the present would people of the past have found hard to believe?
As an antidote to the thread about the future...go back in time and tell someone something that they'd find hard to believe about the present...
'This may sound unbelievable, but...in the future, people will steal bits of current day pop songs, play them over and over in a loop and talk and rant angrily over them. Some of these songs will be tremendously successful and highly rated, even. This 'style' of pop music will hang around for years and years.'
Ummm Flight maybe?
I don't think you could even explain the internet to someone from 50 years ago.
How about "Everyone will walk around with a telephone in their pocket. But instead of calling each other, they'll type short messages to each other back and forth, and the message will be delivered instantly no matter where you are."
Seriously. Try and explain "texting" to people from the 60's.
One thing is that we don't smell as badly. I've frequently been told that if you went back in time the thing that would shock you the most is how badly people stank. Before indoor plumbing, it was very hard to bathe frequently in cities, and of course things like deodorant had not yet been invented.
My history professor used to say that if you lived in a city, though, you might not have even noticed the horrible stench of body odor on the of a city because the whole place would have stunk even worse of shit (human and horse).
You don't specify how far into the past, but I would say someone from George Washington's time and especially Queen Elizabeth I's time would be astounded at trains, automobiles, television and radio, telephones, microwaves (even someone from 1900 would be astounded at microwaves), air travel and modern warfare. Washing machines and electric dryers would be considered godsends and last but not least the computer and all that has come with it. Actually anything that runs on electricity today, aside from electric lights, would dazzle anyone from 1900. This list is mainly one of modern invention, although Leonardo da Vinci might not have been as incredulous as very interested how some of his ideas were finally put into practice.
My dad, who died two years ago at the age of 85, used to always talk about the comic book character, Dick Tracy, who wore a wrist watch with a TV screen/camera built in. Although it was great sci-fi at the time, he remembers thinking that it might actually happen in the future.
He loved smart phones in his last years.
child of the 70s
I agree with R2 about the Internet. Cameras and planes would have stunned the Romans, and vastly improved dental hygiene would have floored the Egyptians.
Interestingly enough, gay marriage - or adelphopoeisis, among many other older names - would have seemed much more natural to the ancients.
I was thinking more like 20-30 years into the past, since the "future" thread was 20-30 years into the future.
I'd go so far as to go back to the 50's.
But hey, that's just me.
I loved this "Tom the Dancing Bug" comic... Obama goes back to "Leave it to Beaver" and hilarity results:
It depends on how far back you go. Electricity and all its uses are only one aspect of modern life that would have been inconceivable to people 200 years ago. Electric lighting, television, film, cars, flight, a moon landing, a rover on Mars, satellites, computers, GPS, practically instantaneous communication across the globe, cheap and plentiful food, fat poor people, a half-black U.S. president, there is no end of things commonplace now that would have astonished an early 19th century time traveler.
Let's limit it to 50 years ago, to provide some focus.
As a child of the 1950s, I would say some Rip Van Winkle who fell asleep in 1955 and woke up today might have heard about a vague invention in the 1940s called a radar-range but might be interested to see them marketed later on as microwaves. But that aside, most of what we have now they had then in some form. I suppose the much greater ubiquity of "portable" cell phones would be found interesting as would the fact that the big bulky computers then would have been reduced down to the form of laptops or smart phones. The 1950s is too recent to get a large amount of WOW out of anyone "waking up" or coming back from that time--similar car and air travel, computers at least existed; I suppose the biggest wow might come from more of the cultural change in the last 50 years. Homosexual people then were much more the "love that doth not speak its name".
I think one thing that would stand it is that we have become a society that is controlled by marketers and that being older than 14 is considered a character flaw.
Verificatia of sizemeat
Virtually unheard of before the 90's
The people of the 1950's would find it hard to believe that atheism and agnosticism are now considered sensible alternatives to the idiocy of believing in a sky fairy.
I think you're categorically wrong, R11.
I think they'd be shocked at how even familiar things have evolved.... the ubiquity of jet travel, cell phones, computers, the internet, HD TV and cable (300 stations?!? Really?!?)...
And even mundane things like how most moms don't cook at home, gay marriage, interracial marriage, a black President, the coarseness of prime-time TV and children,...
They'd be shocked by the prices of everything, the income disparity, that anyone would be considering dismantling the social safety net...
I think the crime rate would shock people, even as far back as 50 yrs ago. I see a huge difference just in my lifetime.
The lack of affordable healthcare in the U.S.
No one could have imagined we'd be paying to watch TV through something called 'cable TV'.
Even if a person doesn't pay to have cable YV, you would still need to buy a piece of electronic equipment called a converter, to enjoy TV.
A converter is more expensive than the old rabbit ear antennas!
People in the past will be shocked about the filth and venom here on DL and general rudeness towards strangers.
No they wouldn't R14.
At no time in the past have there been so many idiot religious people as today.
The data shows that the number of truly devout people is slowly declining, R20. They're just noisier today.
I think watching a movie like Avatar in 3D IMAX would be almost frightening in it's realism on the big screen. Especially without being able to see all the small advances in movies to get us to that point.
That "1984" came true, but instead of the government forcing surveillance on their people, it's the general public who have willingly offered up their whereabouts and personal information on social media sites, and convenient GPS tracking devices.
I wouldn't say "categorically" wrong r15, I think you paint too general and broad a picture. I suspect you were born well after 1970 and don't have as clear a sense of continuity. I am nearly 60 and if you had fully read and understood my post you would have understood that the cultural references you mentioned I also touched upon. You could be right about mobile phones, but weren't the predecessors of cell phones the walkie-talkies of World War II? And cable TV, although not the hundreds of stations you get now, did have its origins in the 1940s I think, mainly as a way for rural people to get better reception on their TVs in the 1950s. Ever hear of the "jet set" from the 1950s and 60s--it may have been limited more to the affluent, but it was well known. I suggest that you do a little research before you instantly call me "wrong". Re-read especially my last line in post 11.
Where is the other thread? It sounds more interesting.
[quote]I suspect you were born well after 1970 and don't have as clear a sense of continuity.
Nope. I'm 50.
[quote]but weren't the predecessors of cell phones the walkie-talkies of World War II?
Not even. They required line-of-site to operate. Being able to call someone pretty much anywhere in the world, and SEE THEIR FACE (on facetime or Skype) would shock them. I had walkie-talkies as a kid. I was still blown away by "mobile phones" when they appeared (as "car phones").
I don't think YOU are the one getting it. The average person of 1960 would be completely blown away by how things have changed, if they missed all the intervening small steps. And the internet... there was NOTHING like that then. And computers were huge things that took up rooms, not something everyone carried in their pocket. The concept of something as simple as imdb.com, where every "who was that..." question about TV and movies can be answered nearly instantly. Never mind by TALKING INTO YOUR POCKET COMPUTER/PHONE.
In the 60's, jet travel was very much "jet set"... I think they'd be shocked by the fact that everyone and anyone travels by jet today, and nobody dresses up. I don't travel by air nearly as much as most of the people I know, and I still do it a few times a year. Growing up, traveling by air was rare and special. Now it's like taking the fucking bus.
Another big area is music. From the world of LPs to the world of MP3s is a huge gap, and I'm not sure many people would be able to wrap their heads around it. Never mind instant streaming.
The fact that I can pull a device out of my pocket, and have it "listen" to a song that's playing, tell me who sang it, and with one touch, I can download it to my device and listen to it whenever I want? I think that would blow people away.
Imagine telling an average person from 1985 (actually even up to the early 1990s) about the internet.
Tell them that you'd soon be able to basically have all of the world's knowledge accessible on a small device you can fit in your pocket.
Describe to them all of things you could do from that small device. From making a phone call, to taking a high quality photo, to filming a video, to making restaurant reservations after viewing the menu and getting instructions on how to arrive.... whew. For starters.
People in the US got television in their homes in the late 194Os.... but television had existed in the 1930s and was experimented with in the 1920's. So people were prepared for the advent of TV. But no one, except a select group of computer geeks, saw the internet coming.
Below is the cast of the Today Show trying to explain the internet to their viewers in 1994.
This is HILARIOUS:
I think a number of you are either inaccurately remembering just how long some things have been around, or forgetting the fact that it was the FIRST half of the 20th century that brought truly revolutionary technological change, not the second half. I mean, please: most homes in the year 1900 didn't have electricity or running water! From there we went to widespread, nearly ubiquitous expansion of both in the U.S., not to mention cars / suburbs / highways, commercial air flight, cinema (evolving within that 50 years from black-and-white silent films to full-color 70mm), a fucking atomic BOMB that leveled two Japanese cities, ended a world war on its own, and by 1950 had rewritten the global map into being controlled by two comparatively new "superpowers," the United States and the Soviet Union. After all THAT the only thing afterwards that, I suspect, *truly* marveled the American mind was making it to the moon before the end of the '60s.
A few other comments: OP, rap music has been around for 30 years, as has sampling other people's music and "talking" over it (and btw you sound positively geriatric describing it as such). Cable TV was somewhat common 35 years ago (I'm 41 and we first got it at home when I was about 7), and by that point everyone was familiar with the concept of a computer even if no one yet used them themselves, at home or work (unless you were a scientist or worked at IBM). Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" opened people's eyes to a number of future possibilities that eventually happened, including "video calls" and extended space travel beyond mere trips to the moon and back, including construction of space stations. (That said, I agree with R2 that few people back in the '60s would have understood texting. OTOH few people now *in* their '60s understand it, either.) Commercial jet travel culminated back in the '50s, and the 747 was originally launched in the '60s, so it's not like flying to distant lands on planes was that difficult a concept to grasp (though yes, early long-distance plane travel was limited to the wealthy, though the same could be said about early car ownership).
Personally, I think it'd be much more interesting to compare people within a 100-year stretch -- either 1850-1950 or 1900-2000 -- to a 50-year one.
I live in subsidized housing; a few of us disabled; the majority elderly, and a LOT of them - the ones 80+ at least - don't "get" the concept of the Internet NOW.
[quote]it's the general public who have willingly offered up their whereabouts and personal information on social media sites, and convenient GPS tracking devices.
Mary, *please*. No one "offers up" their location via GPS; that info is known only to cell-phone providers unless a specific warrant is offered, and no, the police can't get around these regulations by simply invoking the Patriot Act. Also, most of the time this isn't even a terribly effective tool for tracking criminals or terrorists, since the smart ones use burner phones that they swap out every couple of days, making them nearly impossible to track.
[quote]Imagine telling an average person from 1985 (actually even up to the early 1990s) about the internet. Tell them that you'd soon be able to basically have all of the world's knowledge accessible on a small device you can fit in your pocket.
You would tell the 1985 person that teletype machines have not only been shrunk to pocket sized, but they are attached to portable telephones and tiny televisions, all which operate over the airwaves with a teeny tiny battery.
Sorry, R30... while I understand the point you're trying to make, I just don't agree with it. I think there has been every bit as much change in the last 50 years as the first 50. It's just harder to recognize because you lived through it.
I also think it's more interesting to talk about someone waking up from 50-60 years ago today, than someone from 100-200 years ago... simply because those people would have absolutely no frame of reference for some of this stuff.
[quote]Mary, *please*. No one "offers up" their location via GPS; that info is known only to cell-phone providers unless a specific warrant is offered, and no, the police can't get around these regulations by simply invoking the Patriot Act.
R33 is an idiot who apparently doesn't pay attention at all to reality, and who has also never heard of FourSquare.
This thread reminds me of being a kiddie from England in the 70s and coming to the USA. It was like travelling to the future.
One Christmas(1977) we stayed at a sort of vast shopping mall in Houston. There were cinemas with multiple screens! Ice skating rinks, glass elevators...we'd never seen anything like it! There was one, yes ONE dreary shopping mall in the whole of England then!
Even push button 'phones that played a song when you dialled a number! Late night bookshops and record shops. Multiple TV channels that went on all night. McDonalds & Burger King! Dozens of pop radio channels...playing songs we hadn't heard yet.
Skyscrapers in New York, great avenues of them. When it was foggy you couldn't see the top. Bloomingdales! Taxis RACING down the avenues.
Now we have most of that stuff here, but then, it seemed like the future and indeed it was.
[quote] Below is the cast of the Today Show trying to explain the internet to their viewers in 1994.
I just watched that, and even though it's a media show, I was struck by how less "media" it was than current TV shows - pre-hype-saturation, pre-twitter, pre-facebook; people were more natural and genuine.
I think people would be shocked by the ubiquity of mass-embraced superficiality. I know I am, and I live in the present.
The lack of affordable quality healthcare. In the late 1950's, my sister had a heart condition. Dad's insurance covered 3 shifts of nurses, 24 hours a day, in our home, plus open heart surgery. At one point she spent a summer in some type of convalescent home, because she was "tired" and the doctor thought she wasn't resting enough. That would be impossible today. Also, in the old days women who gave birth stayed in the hospital for weeks, even though they were routine births. Spending time recuperating in the hospital is gone - the second you can walk, or be wheeled out, you're thrown out.
In addition to what you were saying R38, I think the people of the past would be shocked if they ever saw Cronkite stop his broadcast to read a tweet of some idiotic frau saying "Wow! This story is craaazy! People need to treat each other better" as almost all newscasters do nowadays.
Frankly, I'm still shocked to see that.
R39, I doubt that letting women lay around for weeks after giving birth did them any favors.
And I rather think your sister's heart condition would be better treated nowadays than it was in the '50s.
[quote]Below is the cast of the Today Show trying to explain the internet to their viewers in 1994.
How about when Diana died in 1997 and all the news shows took time to explain "Paparazzi."
R42, Considering you could "lay around in the hospital for weeks" without picking up MRSA,a staph infection or bedbugs, it was still better care, state of the art for that day. And my sister's heart condition could have been taken care of very easily today.
At that time, it was major, life threatening surgery, and they put it off as long as they could, because they thought she would die after it. Few survived. She had it at a university hospital with a world famous heart doctor. He had a two year waiting list.
Abe Lincoln would be astounded to learn that an automobile line would be named after him.
But first you'd have to explain to him what an automobile was.
I remember when Doonesbury did this with a Vietnam War POW who had been imprisoned for seven years.
Not everyone would be surprised. When I was 11 I went to the Seattle worlds Fair in 1962. It was "The World of Tomorrow." I learned of picture phones and every house having a computer. Star Trek was on in 1966 with warp drive, communicators and medical scanners. Before that was Buck Rogers. I think I have been waiting for much of this technology all my life. I often wonder what has taken so long and why hasn't it been easier to use. So having been programmed to expect what has transpired technologically and also experiencing it incrementally, I believe that most people have made the adjustment fairly well.
On the other hand I think people would be shocked that with access to higher education available to almost all, Americans are are amazingly ignorant.
And more about that Today Show clip:
Couric and Gumble are smart people. They were working in the media....in the center of the universe, New York.
And yet not even they had a grasp on what the internet was. And this is 1994.
So imagine the average person at home watching that. It probably sounded like a bunch of meaningless jumbo.
1994 is not ancient history. And yet today the internet, basically unknown not even 20 years ago, is now an integral part of nearly everyone's life.
That Eisenhower would be considered a radical leftist. And, by today's standards, legitimately so.
I wouldn't have found youtube hard to believe, say, 20 years ago, but I would have thought the idea of it was amazingly cool and indeed, since it happened I can't leave it alone. Until youtube, I wasn't particularly enthralled with the internet.
Reading the responses on this is interesting, the internet was common by the time I was in kindergarten and I had my first laptop by around 3rd grade or so, so I don't find it that impressive.
Today people think Polio is a rapper.
You survive heart attacks.
The burger you eat for lunch is HUGE.
It's cheaper for poor people to eat at restaurants.
We don't litter.
Plastic tits are given as sweet sixteen presents.
You can make more via 'creative destruction' than you can starting your own manufacturing plant.
We like the Vietnamese.
Couric and Gumbel are epic morons. Your point still stands, R48, but those two are barely sentient.
R51 shares my experience, although I'm somewhat older - I was in high school at the tail end of the 90's, and the Internet had no novelty for us teens.
[quote]Mary, *please*. No one "offers up" their location via GPS; that info is known only to cell-phone providers unless a specific warrant is offered, and no, the police can't get around these regulations by simply invoking the Patriot Act
I think the poster to whom you're replying was referring to features of Twitter, Google+ and other social networks that include your exact location every time you post from your phone or tablet. I'm constantly forgetting to turn location off when I tweet from home (I don't really care if anyone knows where I tweet from unless I'm at home.)
[quote]Couric and Gumble are smart people. They were working in the media....in the center of the universe, New York. And yet not even they had a grasp on what the internet was. And this is 1994.
R48, I think you're overstating things more than a bit. The Internet, as we know it, DID NOT EXIST until 1994. That's the year that Netscape 1.0, the first widely used graphical Internet browser, was released. (Technically, its predecessor program Mosaic was introduced the year before, by the NCSA, but Netscape was the first commercial Web browser.) There was no reason for Gumble or Couric to have specialized knowledge of this technology. At the time most people who were "online" were not on the Internet per se, but rather within the walled confines of America Online or CompuServe, both of which had been around, if we're being further technical, since the '80s. Everything after Netscape's beta launch happened in rather startlingly quick succession.
Btw as someone who actually *worked* in media in 1994, I can tell you that TV and print media people were always the LAST people to come around to understanding the Internet and its potential, possibly because they wanted to remain in denial that the technology presented the beginning of the end of both forms of media (particularly print). Computers were typical in newsrooms by then, but a lot of them were industry-specific ATEX machines (dating back to the early '80s) that were designed only for the purposes of writing and compositing articles. Outside of the nation's biggest periodicals, even e-mail, let alone the Web browser, was unusual until the late '90s; at one newspaper job I had the only way I could get online was to bring my personal laptop to work and plug it in to a phone jack!
R55 fails to understand the distinction between the Internet and the World Wide Web. Anyone who was a student at a university in the 80s or early 90s was familiar with the Internet, specifically email, bulletin boards and FTP.
It's the *web* that didn't exist in commercial form until 1994.
[quote]I think the poster to whom you're replying was referring to features of Twitter, Google+ and other social networks that include your exact location every time you post from your phone or tablet.
I understand that, but at the same time the number of people who actively tweet or bother to check-in using Foursquare, as the asshole at R36 suggested, is minuscule compared to the size of the population as a whole. Also, you can't just pop onto foursquare.com, punch in someone's name and immediately see where in the country (or world!) they are; you can only see their location if they *know* you and are listed as your "friend" on their Foursquare app.
Women would probably be really disappointed to find that not only are they still trying to get equality with men in many areas but they are still the world over looked at as property and sex objects.
I used Prodigy at home for Internet access back in 1989. The commercial web didn't exist until
AOL started offering it in 1994.
[[quote]email, bulletin boards and FTP
And Usenet! The day AOL started offering commercial access to Usenet to the general public was the day the music died.
[quote]A few other comments: OP, rap music has been around for 30 years, as has sampling other people's music and "talking" over it (and btw you sound positively geriatric describing it as such).
& you sound a complete moron trying to give it weight. You're too old to be such a music moron. If tone deaf twits like you, didn't embrace and validate it so much, maybe it would have disappeared long ago...when even you were young.
R56, you're being fucking ridiculous, not to mention trying to argue via semantics. I've been online since the mid-'80s, thanks, and was using e-mail, Usenet and BBSs long before the graphical Web existed. My point was that, for mainstream America today, the "Internet" and "World Wide Web" (or, really, just "Web," since no one bothers to spell it out anymore) are synonymous, even if technically speaking DARPA created the former in 1969.
That white people would still be ranting crazily about "Negro music," be it blues, jazz rock or rap.
R55, R62...cool it! Your posts are too long winded and aggressive. We're just bantering, not trying to change the world.
You're bashing into everybody about what is just a silly premise.
I'm sure you're a nice guy, but you need to lighten your touch.
Our long life span that is incredibly healthy. Enormity and variety of our food supply.
What we know of the universe, chemistry and biology.
Honestly, someone from the 50's would be shocked by the number of women in positions of power, both in government and in corporate America.
In spite of the fact that most of us probably thing women are grossly under-represented in both (and we're right), women were basically actresses, secretaries, and waitresses (when not 'home-makers') in the 50's. That they are on the Supreme Court, acting as CEOs, in the Senate, in Governors mansions, ... I think a lot of people from the 50's would find that shocking.
The casual misogyny of the 50's was pretty pervasive.
...not to mention female news anchors, female astronauts, ... and that women have run as Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates (though they haven't yet won).
I think that is at least as shocking as us having a black President.
[quote]In the 60's, jet travel was very much "jet set"... I think they'd be shocked by the fact that everyone and anyone travels by jet today, and nobody dresses up.
Actually people of the 60s would be shocked to learn that we no longer have commercial supersonic air travel, and that after making a few trips to the moon we basically called it a day and stayed home ever since.
They'd also be shocked to hear that bedbugs are one again a problem in hotels and homes.
In some areas we actually regressed.
Good points, R68.
I do think that people from the turn of the century might be pretty disappointed that we don't have flying cars, that jet-packs are novelties only used for things like showing off at the Olympic opening ceremonies, and that our manned space program only made it out of low earth orbit briefly, and then (as of now) has ceased to exist.
r15, r27, the following is an exerpt from a website called "Lifestyle Lounge":
Interesting Information On Background & Origin Of Mobile Phone
Before the advent of mobile phone, radio telephony technology was in use. The first-class passenger trains, between Berlin and Hamburg, made great use of the technology in 1926. Radio telephone was also used in passenger airplanes and for the purpose of air traffic security. German tanks, during the Second World War, made use of radio telephony at a large scale. At that time, people were especially trained to use the equipment.
Two-way radios served as the predecessor of the present day cellular phones. Before the advent of handheld cell phones, two-ways radios, known as mobile rigs, were installed in vehicles like taxicabs, ambulances and police cruisers, that too permanently. Since mobile radios were not connected to the telephone network, people could not dial them from their home phones. However, this technology gained immense popularity among mobile radio users.
Later version of mobile radio phones came to be known as "bag phones", which came with integrated cigarette lighter plug. Installed in a vehicle permanently, they were used either as mobiles or as portable two-way radios. Later on, in the beginning of 1940s, Motorola Company came with a new development in the field of mobile phones - a backpacked two-way radio, called "Walkie Talkie". It was a large and bulky handheld two-way radio, as big as a man's forearm. Known as battery operated "Handie-Talkie", it found a use in the US military.
Please note the last line, as you seem to often forget to read. As I said before, you ought to do a little research before you accuse others of being "wrong", even "categorically" so, or "not GETTING it". Since you were inaccurate about walkie talkies being predecessors of the later mobile or cell phone I think that being the case, all the rest of your posting can be called into question. You sound like a person who is nervously anxious about being proven incorrect, especially by one who actually researches and tries to back up what is being claimed. There is an old saying that goes, "if you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit"--in your case, you are very short on the former and overlong on the latter. You seem to have alot of growing up to do, even at age 50 as you claim.
[quote]The casual misogyny of the 50's was pretty pervasive.
So was the casual misogyny of the 70s.
Cheryl's pussy will STILL stink.
AOL came about in the 80s, and it was not based on USENET. It existed in parallel to USENET, and, for a number of years, had nothing at all to do with the internet. Its predecessor, Compuserve, had nothing to do with the internet; neither did Compuserve's predecessor, Micronet. Prodigy had nothing to do with the internet (unless it survived into the mid-90s, when all online services had to hook to the internet.)
The internet was around for a long time, but it wasn't until Mosaic came along in the early 90s that it started to pique the interest of people who were not computer nerds. As a computer nerd who saw this unfold, Mosaic introduced the internet to sales and marketing in the software industry who found in it an extremely user-friendly source of pornography.
The internet is important, but TV was the cultural game-changer.
[quote]I don't think you could even explain the internet to someone from 50 years ago.
People who worked in computer-related maths and sciences knew it was coming, even then. I had one of those World Book Children's Encyclopedia companion series forty years ago whose content was slightly dated even then. It had a Technology of the Future section. There were a couple of pages describing a home computer in the form of a flat TV screen connected to a typewriter keyboard. The article showed how merely typing a question into the machine would result in printed answers, pictures, print-outs, and even songs. It was explained that the home device would be connected to a gigantic central store of info. The idea preceded the technology by decades.
Amplified music and voice would astound in 1900?
[quote]The commercial web didn't exist until AOL started offering it in 1994.
On this subject, WEHT AOL? One day almost everyone who had internet in their home used it as their provider, then it seemingly disappeared overnight. Not saying I miss it or anything, but why such a sudden, sharp dwindle in popularity? Just seems a little strange.
The number of female politicians and CEOs. Men sharing housework and child raising duties. A black president.
That grown ass men now strive to maintain a pre-pubescent appearance by shaving off all secondary sex characteristics.
Going back in time to the 70s and showing everyone a picture of what Michael Jackson would look like by the end of his life.
Possibly the same with Cher.
r76 -- I remember back in the mid 2000s getting an AOL CD at least twice a week for at least two years or so until they stopped.
I think they'd be shocked to find out that we buy bottled water.
Look at this clip from 1946!...push the thing to 3:05 and listen to what he predicts will be the future of newspapers 'long before 2046'.
So, people in the turn of the century had this fantasy that in the year 2000, meals would be little pills. You see it all over cartoons and shows through mid-century as well.
I think they'd be shocked that instead of shrinking down to pills, our portion sizes have ballooned up to three or four times what they were used to.
Seriously, at a local fast-food joint, a "medium" drink is 24oz. Large is 32oz.
Even as late as the 70's, a large was 16oz.
[quote]People who worked in computer-related maths and sciences knew it was coming, even then.
First off, it's "math" not "maths" (the latter just sounds retarded)
Second, this is utterly irrelevant. We're talking about an average joe. Not some highly technical teeny-tiny minority of an elite educated niche.
R70, your long-winded bloviating does nothing to change my opinion of you or your post. You're still categorically wrong.
People in the 80's were freakin' amazed by cell phones when they first saw them. I don't give a damn if some technician in some elite research group or niche occupation might have had SOME familiarity with SOME form of predecessor. It's completely irrelevant to the point.
If you took an average joe from sixty years ago and plopped them into today, they'd be pretty shocked about the ubiquity, power, and even existence of cell phones.
I stand by everything I said. And you're being a pedantic bore as well as being wrong.
The first time I ever heard about AOL was at the end of every Ricki Lake episode. I remember having NO IDEA what she was talking about! I didn't know anyone at the time who had it (it wasn't until '96 that my best friend got it, and it blew my mind that you could talk live to other people in chat rooms) and then in '97 or early '98 my family got it. Then I got caught looking at gay porn, but that's a whole other story (who knew computers had a cache!? Not me!)
In the future:
Singers won't even have to be able to sing.
Sex tapes will launch careers.
There will be no smoking on airplanes or in restaurants--or even bars!
Detroit will be a slum.
Las Vegas will have a population of nearly 2 million.
A (half) black man will be president.
Montgomery Ward and Woolworth's will be gone.
Gas will cost nearly five fucking dollars a gallon.
There still won't be a cure for cancer...or balding.
[quote]There will be no smoking on airplanes or in restaurants--or even bars!
Yeah, that's another one that I think would really shock someone from the 50s/60s.
The fact that Pan Am is long gone, as well as TWA.
I think the prices of everything, not just gas, would shock. A single fast food meal costs around $7 now. The notion that a "dollar menu" is the cheap/value menu would be shocking.
I think people would be amazed at the extent to which we have sold our souls for material possessions. Basic humanity has gone by the wayside.
Our demand for instant gratification would be stunning. Can you imagine someone from 1950 seeing the rudeness we commonly display today? No one back then would be upset about having to wait on line while a little old lady pays for her groceries. Common courtesy was the norm then, as was common sense. Both have fallen into extreme disuse.
Technology might be interesting but I doubt that our gadgets would capture a person's attention for any length of time. As an example, it took a number of years to indoctrinate us into believing we need to be in constant communication with others. In earlier times it was an amusing comic book fantasy when Dick Tracy needed his wrist radio to solve crimes.
The extent to which we get caught up in trivia like Twitter and Facebook would probably be surprising. The self-absorption that is required to share the most minute and uninteresting details of our lives with semi-strangers did not exist in earlier times.
Someone up in the thread mentioned 3D movies. "I, The Jury" was 3D and it was made in 1953. Technology existed earlier than we realize.
Have our gadgets and possessions improved us as human beings? I imagine a visitor from 1950 would say no.
They would be blown away by the way women and girls dress and behave. The revealing outfits (even when they are not flattering) and the casual swearing and sex talk would cause 1950s heads to explode.
I think they would have trouble grasping that our entertainment would involve very short video clips of random events like a panda sneezing or a baby dancing or someone having a meltdown.
Once someone from George Washington's era had grasped the marvel of moving pictures, they would become even more astounded to learn that people are willing to appear in "Dawson's 50 Load Weekend" and that even more people pay money to watch it.
"Gas will cost nearly five fucking dollars a gallon."
Only an American would find this outrageous.
"First off, it's 'math' not 'maths' (the latter just sounds retarded)"
R84, outside the Unite States, "maths" is the norm, short for "mathematics".
R90 is a thousand years old.
A man who lived 50 years ago that found other men sexually attractive would be surprised that he did not have a mental condition and that it would be possible to marry another man and to raise a child with him.
[quote]First off, it's "math" not "maths" (the latter just sounds retarded)
[quote]your long-winded bloviating does nothing to change my opinion of you or your post. You're still categorically wrong
Wow! R85, you can talk. I'm sure he couldn't give a shit of your opinion of him. You've ruined this thread. Go away now, troll.
Guess again, R95. I recently re-read To Kill A Mockingbird and it got me thinking how much people have changed. We have our toys and other things we use to impress ourselves and others, but at what cost?
In the 1990s, I remember trying to talk in real time to someone in South Africa via email. Turns out we couldn't chat in real time. I thought, "It would be cool if we could talk to each other without having to use a phone and pay long distance prices."
In the late 90s I got the latest thing -- a Handpsring Visor. It had a color screen! I hadn't bought a Palm Pilot because I didn't like the B&W screen. I could carry entire books of pharmaceutical information on it. And shortcuts for doing medical calcs and a list of normal lab results. It was the shit!
Handspring then decided to stop making the Visor and make something called a Treo, which would be sort of a Handspring Visor/Palm Pilot which was also a cellphone. But you had to buy a modem for it and carry it with you. I said, "That's not gonna make it!"
It didn't make it.
Then it FINALLY came along -- a color screen Palm Pilot with WiFi! OMG! The internet in my pocket! I waited until Black Friday and got it for $170.
Then Apple said they were coming out with a phone that had internet access, a camera and memory,so you could store lots of things. You could carry your ipod inside your phone. I thought, "Oh yeah, that's been tried before. It's going to sink without a trace." When I heard it was going to cost $600, I laughed and laughed.
"Nobody's going to buy that!"
So even as late as 2007 I didn't believe the technology we have today.
[quote]"Gas will cost nearly five fucking dollars a gallon."
Only an American would find this outrageous.
...so you're telling me gas cost $5/gallon in Europe in 1950?
You can make and receive phone calls in your car.... through the radio! You don't even have to touch the phone, let alone hold it to your ear.
[quote]Second, this is utterly irrelevant. We're talking about an average joe. Not some highly technical teeny-tiny minority of an elite educated niche.
Look Bozo, they put the article in a book for children to inform us that one day in the relatively near future we would have such a thing as the Internet.
Only a few techies knew about it initially, but as early as 1970 they were telling everyone else! The point of my post was that I read a very good description of what would become the Internet when I was only 7 years old in the year 1973.
People who traveled west in covered wagons would have trouble believing that we have the time and inclination to argue with one another on anonymous forums like this one.
[quote] The number of female politicians and CEOs. Men sharing housework and child raising duties. A black president.
These things still don't exist in the Republican "parallel reality" universe.
Catherine Zeta Jones' publicized age.
I think about this on occasion.
I think people from the mid 19th century would be astounded by how far wheeled vehicles have come.
Then of course they'd also be fascinated by our communication technology. Not just voice anymore but text and not morse code.
Electricity would be a pretty big deal too. We sort of live and die by electricity these days.
If I went back to 1970 and spoke about our time, the biggest surprises about the future would be --
You haven't been to Mars?
You haven't contacted intelligent life?
You don't have flying cars?
You don't have a four day work week?
The Soviet Union just disappeared?
No androids? Cyborgs? Robots for housecleaning?
What about a moon base?
Their biggest surprise about the future would be how different it is from what it was imagined to be.
The future ain't what it used to be
R109 And why aren't we dressing like the Jetsons?
well, that is not strictly speaking true. I had a roomba and all it did was entertain the cat.
[quote][R84], outside the Unite States, "maths" is the norm, short for "mathematics".
It still sounds utterly retarded. It's MATH. I learned math is school. There's no such word as "maths".
R104, why do you think any of that is relevant or changes anything. Seriously? What the fuck is your problem. Were you born this dense, or did you develop it more recently?
I think people from the past would be surprised that with all our labour-saving devices, cars, washing machines, the internet etc- we work more hours than ever, to the extent that people who work 9-5 are considered by many to be lazy fucks.
When I read those "Amazing Tales of the Future!" stories/articles, it was all about how we would be sitting around sipping martinis on the banana lounge while robots did everything for us.
That even with a shitty economy, we would reelect a President just because he's cool.
R112, you appear quite ignorant. The word (it is a word) maths is common outside the United States. Simply because you weren't taught it makes it no less legitimate. Maths is shorts for mathematics, which has a "s" at the end indicating there is more than one. Thus, one has maths.
r116, do a troll-dar on r112 and you'll find that he/she truly is a troll who managed to alienate and antagonize many of the intelligent people who responded here. He managed to shut this thread down single-handedly. If anyone else posts here and he is still lurking, try to ignore him.
PS--He apparently can't conceive of there being geometry, calculus, trigonometry or algebra all various maths. He was told he had alot of growing up to do, but at age 50, as he claimed he was, I hold out little hope for him. Maybe he'll find Jesus, do a 12-step program or something....
I think the people of the past might have been astonished to know that there are things even smaller than atoms called 'quarks'.
All the lard-assed, dump people for sure.
The 'dump people'? Sarah Palin's family?
Actually I meant to type dumb but dump will work as well.
R115 = retarded freeper
"That even with a shitty economy, we would reelect a President just because he's cool"
Or even better - that before him, we elected an unqualified jackass who got us into two wars, and despite definite proof that he was also a sociopathic, authoritarian jackass, he was re-elected because idiots thought he was "someone you could have a beer with"
How is Obama "cool"? He is whiter than a lot of white people.
I think smart phones and all of the utilities they come with; phone that can call anyone from anywhere, the Internet (basically a compendium of all info in the world), maps and gps, email, text messaging, a still/video camera--all of this (and more) in a device that fits in the palm of your hand. Any one of these attributes would have stunned a person just a quarter century ago.
So many law schools, law students, lawyers and litigation.
I really think people In the 50s and 60s would be blown away by modern day movie special effects.
I also think they'd be shocked at the pervasive and casual sexuality on TV and in society.
The Star Trek reference got me to thinking. The medical scanners - we have them now.
MRI and fMRI are pretty remarkable technologies. That we can peer inside the body and get great detail without bombarding someone with radiation is a big deal.
I'd set the clock at 100 years though. A hundred years ago cars could barely do 50MPH, electricity wasn't widespread. In fact radio wasn't even widespread - it took until the 1920's for that to happen.
The other marvel is what Ma Bell called DDD or Direct Distance Dialing. You can pick up your phone, dial a bunch of digits and connect to virtually the entire planet now. All from a phone that fits in your pocket.
When I look at my smart phone I still boggle at the fact that I can access amateur radio repeaters via it, my music library lives on it, plus I have Pandora and TuneIn installed.
I think Pandora would blow their minds. Siri too.
I think people even just ten years ago would be fascinated and incredulous to see today's cell phones, never mind things like twitter and facebook.
[quote]The first time I ever heard about AOL was at the end of every Ricki Lake episode. I remember having NO IDEA what she was talking about! I didn't know anyone at the time who had it (it wasn't until '96 that my best friend got it, and it blew my mind that you could talk live to other people in chat rooms) and then in '97 or early '98 my family got it.
I'm sorry you were a little behind the ball, but I had AOL by '92; I'd already developed a "social circle" in AOL chat rooms by '93, and ended up meeting a few online friends in person then; in '94 I ditched it because another ISP offered free, unlimited Web access for $19.99/month (it was only a year later that AOL followed suit - and btw the claim that "the commercial Web as we know it didn't exist until AOL offered Internet access" is absolute bullshit); by '95 I had high-speed Internet access at work; by '96 everyone I know had e-mail access at the very least; and by '98 I'd already upgraded my home Internet connection from dial-up to cable modem. (To be fair, my city was one of the first in the country to get cable modems, and I managed to get in on the beta test of it there.)
[quote]I think people even just ten years ago would be fascinated and incredulous to see today's cell phones, never mind things like twitter and facebook.
Facebook's predecessor, Friendster, launched in 2002. Also, as noted, the touchscreen "smartphone" already existed in the form of the Handspring Visor and PalmPilot, even if it was rudimentary at best.
[quote]Facebook's predecessor, Friendster, launched in 2002. Also, as noted, the touchscreen "smartphone" already existed in the form of the Handspring Visor and PalmPilot, even if it was rudimentary at best.
Irrelevant. Neither had the scope or power of today's Facebook or today's smartphones. I stand by my statement: People from even just 10 years ago would be blown away by them.
And for the record, I had email in 1985 (CompuServe) way before AOL even existed. At 300 baud dialup! So it's not like I'm some wide-eyed naïve person making these predictions.
"Maths is short for mathematics."
We also have sciences, but we don't call the classes "scies." We have science class, and it is your biology class or your chemistry class or your anatomy class. We don't abbreviate the sciences in plural form just because there is more than one type of science.
Amen, R136. There's nothing about "I took maths class" that doesn't sound retarded.
Sheep, fish, and math are all their own plurals. Period.
R136 is a tedious cunt.
That America is still the Wild West when it comes to gun ownership and usage.
Maybe, R138, but he's also correct.
We had email at AT&T as far back as 1981. We had dumb terminals that could send the emails to this printer. The printer was so loud, it was in a sound dampening box.
Bill and Hillary Clinton will be the two most popular people in American public life.
I started as a nurse in 1981. People were admitted to the hospital the night before a GI series and barium swallow. Three days in the hospital on a liquid diet for a colonoscopy. We had to give those patients high colonic enemas. People were admitted the day before a myelogram, then stayed overnight after having it done.
One doctor did 6 surgeries every Saturday before 12 noon. He did "A&As" Arthrotomy and arthroscopy of the knee. We had to admit them on Friday, shave and prep (with 3 betadine scrubs), start an IV and give antibiotics the night before. They stated overnight after surgery and we taught them how to use crutches the next day. You can't believe the number of patients who refused to get out of bed the day after surgery! "I just had SURGERY! I'm resting today, You can't get me up the day after surgery!"
Fifteen years later we were teaching crutch walking 20 minutes after the patient was admitted to the day surgery recovery room.
I'm astounded by stomach medication. My mother used to suffer from ulcers and down bicarbonate of soda by the quart. Everyone in her family of 11 had ulcers, all I ever heard from them was complaining about how their ulcers were killing them while they clutched their stomachs. One of them was always being admitted to the hospital for bleeding ulcers.
I came down with stomach ulcers in my teens. In my twenties, we had Mylanta and Maalox, which were in every medicine cabinet. First in liquid form, later in chewable tablets.
Then we had things like Carafate (which helped a little, but you could choke on it because it was a big pink pill that started melting before you could swallow it).
Cimetidine was the first stomach medication that seemed to really help with ulcers. Then came Pepcid, but it was Prilosec that was the true wonder drug.you almost never hear of people having bleeding stomach ulcers today unless they are alcoholics or NSAID chuggers.
BTW -- you would think that everyone in my family would be H pylori positive because of the history of ulcers, but none of us had it on biopsy.
Try to explain AIDS to norms.
DNA and DNA testing for crime solving, genetic screening, paternity and genealogy, etc.
People who are "that way" legally marrying one another.
People who are that way to begin with!
The utter lack of film... cameras, videos, etc., being all digital. I think it would blow their minds that taking a picture doesn't cost anything, that you can see the results instantly, and that you can make adjustments after-the-fact.
And I think DVRs would blow people away. The ability to pause live TV?!? Rewind and fast forward?? Without any tape?!?
The fact that I carry around 4000 songs in my pocket, and have access to three million more at any time I want...
I don't think people would be so impressed with the Internet - if I was thrust 50 or 60 years in the future, I'd expect all kinds of crazy technology. If I saw floating cars, I'd think "neat," but I would expect stuff.
It's the small things, I think:
- People going shopping in what would have then be considered pajamas or underwear, hair not combed, showing tons of flesh.
- Fat people everywhere. I watch "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," and it's amazing to consider part of his persona was his size. You can see people bigger than that every day now.
- Well-built physiques on men. What used to be thought of as a "muscle man" can be seen in every gym.
- Tattoos as a commonplace thing, particularly on women -- and how big they are, and where people have them.
- How women in their 40s and 50s still dress and look "young" -- no gray pincurls or "stout" dresses.
- How out of control children are in public.
- Portion sizes. Cocktail glasses used to be tiny. Coffee cups held maybe 6 ounces of liquid.
- Why do people carry water around with them? Why do they need to drink water all the time?
- Restaurants in every city that serve RAW FISH.
Interesting R151 - I do have to agree about how young people look in their 40's, 50s and 60s now.
Older people looked so OLD back then. Do you know how old the Bunkers were the first year of All in the Family?
Mid 40's. I thought they were at least 10-15 years older than that.
Wow r152 you beat me to it. It blows my mind to think that Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton were only in their 40's (!) when 'All In the Family' started. They looked 60, easily.
The luxuries and conveniences most people have and how miserable they are anyway.
That the cold war just ended. No big showdown. No nuclear war. No attempted invasion. Soviet Communism just collapsed.
OP, when you say "people of the past", I don't know how far back you are talking about. But I am myself a person of the past, having grown up in the 50's and 60's. The only thing I have found hard to believe is the little GPS units. I can't see how this thing can keep up with every little move I make in the truck, and even show my speed as well as the speedometer. I couldn't believe that I did not have to sign a two year contract and pay a monthly bill to make it work. The cell phone was no big surprise, as even Maxwell Smart had one in his shoe. From Jules Verne on, writers have done a good job of foretelling the future. The big surprise for me is what hasn't come true. I was so looking forward to leaving home in my little car, getting up to highway speed and hitting the button to make the wings unfold, then taking off to fly most of the distance until I land on the highway close to my destination. And when they landed on the moon in 1969, I would have never imagined that I could live on into the 21st century and still there are not even any colonies on the moon, much less on other planets? Now I was scared of the jet-packs which we were supposed to be strapping onto our backs and flying around without any protection. I like to be enclosed in a machine when I fly.
Big Fat Queer
I'm also pissed that we still don't have flying cars. That's one piece of technology I was looking forward to the most when I was a kid.
Right, R158, they showed us a movie when we were in elementary school and promised us these things. They said that in big metropolitan areas, the suburbs had already grown so far out that commuting without flying cars was already getting impractical. I had no doubt that I would have one by 1975. It was not until I was in the 8th grade that the science teacher told us that we would running our vehicles, flying as well as rolling, on nuclear fuel that would look like a teaspoon of sugar. I believed that too.
Big Fat Queer
[quote]Why do people carry water around with them? Why do they need to drink water all the time?
I think you glossed right over a little thing they'd find even more shocking: Bottled Water. That people PAY LOTS OF MONEY for a bottle of water. That bottled water is a BILLION DOLLAR BUSINESS. I think that would have blown minds and caused jaws to drop in incredulity.
The fact that there are over 300 channels on a typical TV
Microwave ovens (depending on how far back you go)... they do seem like magic, but also how cheap and ubiquitous they are.
I think the robot probes to other planets, and the high-res color photos we've gotten back would blow people's minds.
Twenty women U.S. Senators being sworn in.
That we as a country put a dozen men on the moon.
That we as a human race haven't been back to the moon in almost 40 years, and haven't been to any other planets.
That there is pretty constantly several human beings in orbit around the earth... 24/7/365, for years and years now.
That far, far more computing power than used to fill a whole room now resides in almost everyone's pocket (for those alive around the time computers were invented, I guess).
That we pretty much take voice commands (Siri, Kinect, etc) and voice transcription for granted... and that a small device that fits in your pocket can translate what you say into any of dozens of different languages, and speak it, for free (it's just an app).
That a device that fits in your pocket can "listen" to any song that's playing, and tell you what it is, who it's buy, what the lyrics, are, and even what version it is, what album it's from, and what year it was recorded. In seconds. For free.
That corn is an ingredient in almost everything anybody eats or drinks.
Ultra-thin LED HD TVs.
That we had super-sonic passenger flights routinely... and now we don't (and won't any time in the foreseeable future).
Yeah r191 -- that we were zooming ahead, and now are lagging behind our own capabilities...
Honestly, I think something as simple as no "Ma-Bell" and no such thing as long-distance rates (any call to anywhere in America is the same) would blow people's minds.
The average person 50 years ago wouldn't have been able to grasp the Internet, but the truth is that most people TODAY don't grasp the Internet. All they know is that if they hook up a modem and a router and then open their web browser, they can access information. But if you were to ask them to explain what the Internet is or explain, even in the most basic of terms, how it works, you'd find out they don't have a fucking clue.
True, R164, but I'm not sure people from 50-60 years ago would be even remotely be able to even grasp the CONCEPT.
It's like the reverse of how I and so many of my friends feel now: even though we lived half our lives without the internet, none of us can really remember what life was like before it. It's such a ubiquitous part of our lives.
I think people from 50-60 years ago would be just as confused by it... they wouldn't have any clue how it could possibly fit into their lives. Like people in Downton Abby wondering why you'd want electricity in the kitchen...
A friend's great-grandmother said she had lived through a wonderful time. She said she remembered lamplighters coming around every evening to light the gas streetlights in her city and then she lived long enough to watch a man walk on the moon.
Gourmet pet food
[quote]That a device that fits in your pocket can "listen" to any song that's playing, and tell you what it is, who it's buy, what the lyrics, are, and even what version it is, what album it's from, and what year it was recorded. In seconds. For free.
I'm not that old, and that's still a trip for me.
The Jetsons had all this amazing "technology", but they still had a maid (albeit a robot one).
Apparently, the lack of horse shit on the streets would be something people of the past would first notice about the future. The roads were a foot thick of Mr. Ed's crap.
Twitter & Facebook are such a ubiquitous part of life and society these days, it's hard to believe they didn't exist five years ago.
How many law schools, law students and lawyers we have in the US.
How far back in the "past" do you mean? I have thought about trying to explain today's world to someone from say the late Victorian era, where they at least had the telephone and telegraph as primitive technology.
Most unbelievable would be that any modern person could still believe the myths, fairy tales, superstitions, voodoo & hocus-pocus-dominocus of organized religion.
This just hit me... someone tweeted that Depeche Mode has a new album coming out, and there's a video for the single. With a link to go watch it. So I checked it out.
Even just going back to the 80s, I remember watching MTV and "Video Concert Hall" for hours just to see my favorite videos. Now? I can go see any video I want at any time, anywhere I am. It's so not a big deal. I never even thought about this, it happened so gradually.
The staggering rates - and societal acceptance - of "illegitimate" births.