Futurists offer forecasts for 1986
Bethesda, MD -- Each year the World Future Society publishes forecasts for the years ahead. These forecases are made by scientists, scholrs, and others who write for the Society's magazine, The Futurist.
Here are 10 forecasts found most though-provoking of those made during the past year.
* The East-West polarization that has dominated international relations for decades may ebb. Both the US and the Soviet Union will draw back from their worldwide rivalry and focus attention on their domestic problems. [SU didn't "draw back", it collapsed, but we kept up a worldwide rivalry with foes real and imagined.]
* Clothes will be custom-made in minutes in the near future. A video camera will scan a customer's body and tell a computer the shape, style, color, and design of the clothing. The fabric will them be shaped around three-dimentional molds and heated to retain human contours. [Nope]
* Space tourism may be the biggest growth industry of the twenty-first century. A week's vacation in a space station or a honeymoon on the moon will become commonplace. [Still early in the century, but 20 years on this prediction looks worse than it did in 1986.]
* Parents will use human growth hormone -- a recent product of genetic engineering -- to ensure that their children grow to normal size. Some parents may not be satisfied with an average-sized baby and will use the hormone to try to turn junior into a basketball or football star. [Human Growth Hormone is rarely used on children. Steroids and other body builders are used more by adolescents and professional sports people than by parents on babies.]
* Butlers and other servants will make a comeback in future homes -- but they will be computers and robots rather than humans. One computer system already available speaks with a polite British accent, draws water for a bath, mixes cocktails, and waters the lawn. [Nope.]
* Home delivery of groceries and other goods may enjoy a revival, thanks to new computer systems for delivery trucks. New navigation systems will enable trucks to operate far more efficiently, thus cutting the cost of home deliveries. [Nope.]
* All the natural resources needed for industry will probably be available -- at least on a global basis -- in the foreseeable future. Worldwide, there is water, petroleum, iron ore, timber, and other resources essential for industry. Of course, certain elements -- gold, silver, platinum, for instance -- are scarce so they command a high price. However, if prices go up, so does the incentive for people to dig up more ore and for industry to see cheaper substitutes. [True, but not exactly a prediction, more like a restatement of capitalism.]
* Energy -- which caused so much concern during the 1970s -- is not likely to be such a big problem during the 1980s and 1990s. Prices will likely trend down (in constant dollars) due to improved conservation and the desperation of the money-short energy producers. [A complete miss. Prices stayed about the same in constant dollars for a few years, largely because energy is one of the big factors in inflation. Now, of course, it's way out of line. We didn't improve conservation and the greed of the energy producers has caused massive political and economic problems.]
* Artificial organs for the human body will become increasingly effective and widespread. Though artificial hearts have gained the most attention recently, artificial bone and other body parts are increasingly used. [I'll count this one as a miss, too. In fact, artificial hearts (and pacemakers and stents and such) have increased, while other artificial parts haven't. Prosthetic technology is greater, but that's not the prediction.]
* Future criminals may include many elderly persons, traditionally not prone to crime. Older citizens, feeling victimized by crime as well as poverty, may become criminals as they seek needed funds and strike back as potential attackers. [Another miss. Some of this dynamic happened, but criminals are still far more likely to be either a) young or b) repeat offenders.]
Professors Urge Using Dead To Help Living
Bethesda, MD -- Two university professors have suggested the establishment of institutions to keep alive the bodies of "braid dead" persons so their bodily organs can be used by living people.
There is now a nationwide shortage of living organs that can be transplanted into people suffering from heart, lung, kidney, and other ailments. The useable organs of newly dead people could be kept in their owner' bodies until time for a transplant operation, say professors Harld G. Hshane and Walter J. Îaly of Indiana University.
Life-support systems can keep the various organs in a human body alive and functioning long after the brain has ceased to function and the person is legally dead, explain the professors in the January-February 1986 issue of The Futurist magazine.
The brain-dead bodies -- termed "neomorts" -- could be kept in neomortoria -- units in hospitals where cadavers on life-support systems could be housed. At present, life-support systems are disconnected from brain-dead persons and the still-living organs are allowed to die without any use being mad of them.
Potential benefits of neomortoria include: Organ storage, drug research, medical and nursing education. [I edited this line down from the last page. A complete miss. The exact opposite happened: Before people are declared dead, people swoop down on the families and buy organs from the about-to-be-decceased.]