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Christmas Cheer

Christmas in 2050 307

Makarand writes "A robotic kitchen assistant will help you with the Christmas meal preparations while you recieve instructions and monitoring assistance in real time from information systems for the cooking. Thanks to progress in biology and nanotechnology, the molecular processes needed to convert raw materials into turkey will be understood sufficiently well to make a good artificial turkey for the vegetarians. This is what we can expect this time in 2050 says Ian Pearson, BT's futurologist who is paid to dream, in this BBC News article. Absent family will join the celebrations virtually. There might be technology allowing us to read each others minds and being able to know what others are thinking may not always add peace and harmony to the celebrations. However on the upside, it will make charades a whole lot easier you will never get unwanted Christmas presents. Lastly, just as this Christmas was hijacked by a consumption fever, so too in 2050, Christmas will be all about presents."
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Christmas in 2050

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  • Old news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GlassUser ( 190787 ) <<ten.resussalg> <ta> <todhsals>> on Thursday December 26, 2002 @01:13AM (#4959226) Homepage Journal
    We were hearing about this in the 1940's. Sooo where's our jet packs, personal helicopters, and automated kitchens?

    Seriously, I think the people that dream up this stuff reduce the time to market by a factor of at least three. The dreams are great and all, but obviously not realistic.
    • "Sooo where's our jet packs"

      right here [technologi...icklung.de] =]
    • Re:Old news (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JebusIsLord ( 566856 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @02:41AM (#4959468)
      I think, and I borrow loosely from Arthur C Clarke, that people always seem to underestimate human inginutity and overestimate the abundance of resources in the future. So for instance, the 60s view of 2002 looked like the 60s only with infinite resources to do whatever they wanted with simply improved 60s tech. We don't have hundreds of space stations, personal shuttles and such because we don't have infinite money, but we DO have computers that fit in the palms our our hands, and who would have thought that back then?
      • Huh. Good point. I would like to add a slightly offtopic A.C.Clark quote;
        'The skyhook(meaning space elevator type thingy) will be built 50 years after people stop laughing about it'

        A.C.C didn't invent a thing, but he sure saw a long way....

    • yea, and I personally remember hearing of it since I was a kid in the 60's

      will add: where is the new ice age (not nuclear witer) and where is the global famine (not brutal regime induced, see "A Bed for the Night" by David Rieff)?
    • by alizard ( 107678 ) <.alizard. .at. .ecis.com.> on Thursday December 26, 2002 @05:54AM (#4959744) Homepage
      Pull your foot out of your mouth before responding. I'm amazed you managed to find 3 moderators having off-days at the same time, even here. Technology is something we're supposed to know about. At least some of us.

      I found most of the projections timid.

      The "kitchen assistant" stuff is largely available in component form (mixers, ovens, etc. that can sync to a recipe and will tell the chef what to put in when, monitor quantities of ingredients, turn the oven on to a defined time/temperature, etc.) NOW. Ambitious would be to project that we'll have fully automated kitchens. That can be done in today's technology, though not in a form that'll fit a household kitchen. In the 2050 fast food restaurant, you'll be able to get things ranging from the current menu to anything available at the 5 star restaurants of today, but fast food restaurants will have disappeared as a separate category whose memory will linger only in brand names. Restaurants with human cooks and service will be considered superpremium places and will have prices to match.

      "there will be screens lining the wall."

      The price of flat-panel display technology is dropping and the availability is increasing. OLED is screen-printed, not vacuum deposited.

      Do you really think that videophones that can be attached to the network aren't going to be available for the price of a cheap one-piece deskphone now, and that the problems building a Net appliance that'll be secure and "Just Works" and of universal broadband availability won't be solved in 48 years?

      With the exception of thought recording and transference hardware, everything discussed is in either research or early pre-alpha. It is hardly the author's fault you haven't been paying attention, most of what's in the article has been bloglinked from here.

      The problem with this kind of futurism is that the futurist considers the future to be a linear extension of the present... while his predictions might be accurate, they look more like 2012 than 2050 to me.

      The problems with a robotic household all-purpose servant that can use human tools will be solved by then, but people may be so used to intelligent point-solution household appliances (automated vacuum cleaners, etc.) that nobody will care.

      The writer doesn't deal with space at all. One prediction I'm certain of. Either the human race will be exploiting the Solar System as a whole by then or nobody will have pleasant Xmases by then, people will be too busy suffering the kind of deprivations that go with cultures in a state of permanent war, in this case, over who gets enough of the Earth's dwindling resources of materials required to sustain technological society in order to keep one. I'm not talking about oil here, by then, we won't have a technological culture burning oil for fuel. That's why auto manufacturers are converting their assembly lines over to high-efficiency or fuel-cell vehicles. Even Toyota, who's going over to superefficient hybrid engines says that the vehicles are intended for easy conversion to fuel cells.

      However, some dreams are less likely than others. The problem with a personal jet pack is sort of obvious, a device that has to provide all its lift as well as forward motion via reaction sucks up a hell of a lot of fuel.

      Will we ever find the exceptions or reinterpetation of physical law that'll make a starship possible? I certainly don't know. Check the NASA "Warp Drive When" site for their Advanced Propulsion project for the latest.

      • Restaurants with human cooks and service will be considered superpremium places and will have prices to match.
        I think it's more likely that all of us will have maids again. The only reason that kind of labor is expensive is because our borders are effectively closed. When we finally recognize the human right of migration again there will be plenty of people to take those jobs and send money home to improve the lot of their families.

        Do you really think that videophones that can be attached to the network aren't going to be available for the price of a cheap one-piece deskphone now...
        There are already video phones. There's a guy in my lab that spends half his time talking with his family and friends on his laptop all day. Most of us don't want video phones, I for one have no desire to fix my hair and get dressed in the morning before calling someone. All we're really missing now is the gateways between internet phones and the POTS system, and these are appearing in the form commercial internet phone systems. At the moment those work like regular phones, but it won't be long before enough people have them that when they call each other they can have the option of video. So if we all do have video phones in 2, 20 or 200 years we'll still say "the camera seems to be broken."

        The writer doesn't deal with space at all. One prediction I'm certain of. Either the human race will be exploiting the Solar System as a whole by then or nobody will have pleasant Xmases by then
        We won't be exploiting space by then. Our 1960's space program was much like the pyramids in Egypt, an extraordinary re-direction of reasources away from the people to achieve an engineering goal we're not ready for. We need to develop alternative energy sources before we really get into space. The chinese are the only ones serious about fusion, perhaps by 2050 they will have figured it out. That or something like it is a pre-requisite. Hey maybe we'll figure out a way to get more energy out of geothermal plants, I dunno. But we need massive amounts of energy to create the fuels to get us there, and figure out a way to get the fuels to get back. Between now and then we should be sending more probes and exploring.
        • Your comparison of the space program to the 1960s to the pyramids means that what you learned about it in school was clearly inadequate. I'll simply say that without it, most of the technological innovations you take for granted that were created in the last 30 years would simply not exist. We wouldn't have personal computers, your living room wouldn't be filled with neat little electronic entertainment project, you wouldn't even have Teflon(tm) coated frying pans. Before the space program, the electronic devices in a living room were a TV and radio and maybe a stereo. Even the phone was basically electromechanical.

          Basically, if it requires miniaturization (like 300M transistors on a chip, before the 60s, transistors were made one at a time), low weight and high strength, you can trace the origins of whatever the product is to the space program.

          Find a copy of Robert Heinlein's Expanded Universe, there's a short article that'll give you the highlights. Advanced Technology Paths to Global Climate Stability is a reprint of that Science article discussing the future alternative energy sources civilization will need when the oil runs out.

          Powersats are on the list. As I see it, we are basically a few years of R&D away from being able to build the kind of space infrastructure that will be required to make building them relatively easy. It's basically a matter of government and major corporations being willing to put major money for a project with 10-15 years before a major return on investment. It's not a matter of discovering new laws of nature, it's a problem that can be solved by throwing money at it.

          Remember that sooner or later, the Third World is going to become industrialized and will have per capita resource requirements comparable to the US and EU. What's left of the world's oil just won't do it.

          With respect to all of us (Americans, I guess) having maids again, either the resource problems of this planet will be solved in such a way that you won't be able to get cheap domestic help from south of the border, or you won't be able to afford it anyway because your tax money at tax rates you don't want to imagine will be going into military expenditures designed to make sure that the US and allied countries have control over what's left of the world's resources.

      • Yoy ever see what regualer exposure to a kithen does to monitors, and computers?
        Cheap easy to use webcams have been around for 5 years, even after setting up system to use them for people, they still don't make video calls.
        Peple don't want to be seen while on the phone.

        It not just how long until we can build it, its how long until we can build it, and how long till people are willing to use it.

        BTW, cooking is not just putting ingrediant in at certian times. There is a very wide range of variables, not the least of which involves tasting.
    • Well, I finally have my nuclear-powered hovercraft that we were all promised in 1950's newsreels. Of course, it helps to work for Bruce Wayne.
  • vegans (Score:2, Funny)

    by in_ur_face ( 177250 )
    "thanks to progress in biology and nanotechnology, the molecular processes needed to convert raw materials into turkey will be understood sufficiently well to make a good artificial turkey for the vegetarians."

    thats great, a few of my friends are vegan and I always which they could have a little more then tofurkey!!!

    i wonder when we will have replicators :) Then i can finally cook real meals for myself!
    • by Artifice_Eternity ( 306661 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @03:05AM (#4959518) Homepage
      ...by feeding it to a small turkey, until said turkey is big enough to eat.

      A real "advance" would be the growth of free range and organic farming -- doing away with industrial farming techniques that involve shutting animals into crates, cramming them with chemical- and antibiotic-laden feed, and generally turning them into objects instead of living beings.

      Many people who now object to eating meat might change their minds, if they felt that the animals they consumed were raised in a healthy manner and treated humanely.

      I eat some meat, but try to steer clear of the more factory-farmed stuff in favor of organic/free-range products. It's preferable in so many ways: hygeinically, nutritionally, ethically, etc.
      • Must be nice to have the time and money to worry about how your meat is raised. I'm just happy to be able to afford to buy meat. I have a lot of customers who are vegan or vegetarian, or who want to meet the meat before they eat it (what's his name? how big was his pen? what did he eat? Did he heat only organcally grown corn? Can I see where the corn was grown?). Without fail, those people are wealthy, in that they have plenty of money and time to waste worrying about shit like this. While I envy their resources, I can definitely say that if I had time and money enough like they do, I wouldn't waste it worrying about every little fucking molecule that enters my body. They're all fucking neurotic. If you ask me, life is too short to be neurotic. Eat & be happy.
      • The most significant part of a turkey's existence is when a human being consumes it.
  • Um... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    ...and just how are we going to have Christmas in another 48 years if Bush, Saddam, North Korea, et al. are just itching for a nuclear holocaust...?

    Yah...it'll be a white christmas....but I don't think the fourteen living bacteria will really give a damn... =P
  • Buzzword city. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Max Threshold ( 540114 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @01:14AM (#4959229)
    Will we even remember what half this crap is in 2050?
  • AMD symbol? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MxReb0 ( 443442 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @01:14AM (#4959231)
    So what does all these Popular Science-like predictions have to do with AMD?
    • Simple, everyone knows that in 2050 AMD will control every aspect of our lives. If one dares to question the authority of the great AMD there could be severe reprecussions.
  • by mesocyclone ( 80188 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @01:15AM (#4959233) Homepage Journal
    When I was a kid in the '50s, the futurists predicted routine space travel by now, commuting by flying automobiles, the hyrdrogen economy, copious nuclear power production, intelligent robots, oh - and the end of the world by nuclear war.

    Hmmm...

    And they missed the information age, microchips, the sexual revolution, the civil rights movement, the air bag in cars, AIDS, velcro and genetic engineering.

    So much for futurists.
    • by ThinkingGuy ( 551764 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @01:46AM (#4959340) Homepage
      As I believe Scott Adams has pointed out, predictions of future technological advances usually miss the unintended side effects. For example, the growth of Internet and the World Wide Web has brought quick access to vast amounts of information and knowledge, but has also brought us junk e-mail, pop-ups, patent abuses (Amazon). So what will Christmas 2050 bring? Here are a couple of random thoughts...
      Currently kids have to wait to open their presents while dad checks his digital camera|video camera. In 2050, they'll be waiting while he hooks up everyone's head-mounted stim-sim recorders - "to capture the moment."
      There's been talk lately of "intelligent paper" and "flexible displays." Extrapolating this forward, I'd expect your Christmas presents in 2050 to require you to watch a commercial before you can open them.
    • Honestly, it will never happen. The potential for dropping missiles on enemy heads is to great for casual commercial/private space travel. Just about every mission that goes up is tracked heavily by the worlds super powers and often documented for their review to make sure nukes aren't being aimed at them.

      Perhaps thousands of years from now when we have evolved into a more compassionate race, capable of getting past such things. You wont see it any time soon however. People are far to paranoid.
      • People are far to paranoid.

        To paraphrase Henry Kissinger, 'even the paranoid have enemies'. In every government on earth, people are paid to know. They're paid to know what's going on in their country and in other countries. It's because they make decissions, and knowledge is needed to be able to make good decisions.

        It's their job, it what they're paid to do. It's what we, as taxpayers, pay them to do. Could you imagine the outcry if New York got nuked because someone decided that checking out other countries' space travel wasn't important?
    • And they missed the information age, microchips, the sexual revolution, the civil rights movement, the air bag in cars, AIDS, velcro and genetic engineering.

      You forgot Linux ;)
    • When I was a kid in the '50s, the futurists predicted routine space travel by now, commuting by flying automobiles, the hyrdrogen economy, copious nuclear power production, intelligent robots, oh - and the end of the world by nuclear war.


      we didnt miss the mark on any of these..

      space travel... it's being done.. you can go too! you just dont have $23,000,000 to give the russkies do you...

      flying cars... no problem there.... the reason we dont have them is because 98% of the population is too stupid to handle the current 2 dimensional ground based vehicles... why in the world would you want any of them to have anything that flies? you dont have flying cars because the masses are too fricking stupid to operate one safely.

      Nuclear power production... we have it! only the idiot tree-huggers here in the states killed this ultra-clean power source.. (yes it is ultra clean... you can take the waste of the reactor and run a breeder reactor with it) france and many other countries aren't as blind and idiotic as the United states and have embraced nuclear power very well.

      Robots... we got em! intelligent? no... not yet.

      end of the world by nuclear war.... hey. you just wait.... some of these lunatic groups from the middle east or south asia will gladly nuke the hell out of new york or Washington.. and if you think that GW wont gladly drop one back in their lap? all it takes is one lunatic with a black market russian nuke.. just wait it'll happen within the next 15-20 years.

      they weren't off by much, the "furutists" did not take into the stupidity factor of the human race.
  • Why is the article icon AMD's? I don't see any relation to the scrappy little semiconductor company in any of this. If anything, I would expect that we'd have the Christmas Tree icon here, or the Technology icon.

    • I think the editors had a few too many glasses of Egg Nog this Christmas days so they might be having trouble telling the difference between Tux and the Microsoft butterfly...

  • just as this Christmas was hijacked by a consumption fever,

    Makes it sound like they're comparing Christmas to tuberculosis or something.
  • When the process is discovered for creating artificial foods is invented, the discovering coproration (it'll have to be a corporation) will patent all known foods and we'll have to eat generic, tastless goop like the astronauts in the 2001 movie or pay license fees for every meal.
  • Thanks to progress in biology and nanotechnology, the molecular processes needed to convert raw materials into turkey will be understood sufficiently well to make a good artificial turkey for the vegetarians.

    In reference to the "trianglature formula," it states simply: "sqrt (pi) times diameter of circle gives a triangle with precisely the same area as that of the given circle, where triangle base is circle diameter."

    The formula by itself merely confirms the centuries old quadrature formula which "squares" the circle. Heat of the controversy is over the accompanying statement that either formula (squaring or triangulating) shows the ratio of pi to be arbitrary, which smacks in the face of the longheld academic assertion that the traditional pi is sacrosanct.

    This causes huge problems with technology when it comes to developing AI (eg, robots) or even a synthetic turkey, what people arent aware of is that sythetic turkeye could not be exactly replicated the same time, leaving certain mutations.

    Oviously, the harmless ones could be a pigment splotch or a cosmetic defect, but imagine a more serious one of note such as something similiar to anthrax, bubonic plague, or something WORSE.
  • I remember when I was in second grade. They told us we were going to be the class of 2000. They made us do a little project on what we thought the world would be like in 2000. I did my project on flying cars. I made a car that transformed from wheels to wings with construx. And the class was pretty unanimous on moving sidewalks. Guess what, it's not the jetsons, but it is the internet.
    Predicting the future is fun, but I'd put more stake in science fiction becoming true than what any official predictor says.
    • I was also a member of the mythical class of 2000. One thing I remember from grade school is the emphasis that was being placed on the enviromental movement. I really stuck with me when a textbook or handout or something insisted that if oil consumption continued to rise at the current rate, there would be no oil right about now. That was the theme, 'We are running out of oil, and cars in the future will certainly not use it.' We spent a lot of time discussing alternative energy of various varieties. Back then the major idea seemed to be solar panels. Flash forward to the present, when the major alternative energy source (at least in terms of how many megawatts generated from it) now seems to be wind power. However, fossil fuels are still in copious supply at low prices. I am enthusiastic to point this out because it is the only major prediction I have seen made by people who seemed to know what they were doing that I have thus far lived long enough to realize the falsity of.
    • Word up class of 2000 mate!

      We are the smoke-free class of 2000
      Two triple zero, everyone's a hero!


      I remember reading a book in elementary school that said "In 10 years we will all have robot helpers, able to carry objects about the house for us" etc, and showed a picture of something that looked suspiciously like R2 D2 :p
  • by ericdano ( 113424 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @01:21AM (#4959262) Homepage
    If I hear another thing about the retailers suffering I'll vomit. Christmas is not about buying stuff and giving it to other people. It's about family and friends and good times. Why should that entail buying like $1K worth of gifts for everyone?

    Why not be nice and give gifts to people who need/deserve them throughout the year?

  • by tgrotvedt ( 542393 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @01:23AM (#4959267) Journal
    How people always predict these whacky cliched technology innovations for the fairly near future, and nothing of the sort is ever created. Mind reading machines? I hate to sound like the guy who used to think the worl was flat, or the guy that said we would never go to the moon, but come on.

    New technology is far more likely to be very sensible, merely adding more "grunt" to what we have already, with a few sub-innovations here and ithere. As a people we are already discovering what we want; Fast data communications, medcine, digitalization, AI (a huge umbrella), time savers, entertainment etc.

    Let's start being more specific, choose certain already established technology and predict where it will go. All tyhe best technology evolves from working with what we have. We should try and built the bridges before we try to cross them.

    *sigh* I've began to sound like a whining, ranting Slashdotter more every day.

  • There might be technology allowing us to read each others minds...

    Great... I can envision myself being bankrupted the first time I get a song stuck in my head for an entire day-- because I'm sure the RIAA will buy the laws to make them privy to my thoughts, and will demand a licensing fee for each separate instance that I thought about the song.

    ~Philly
  • In The Year 2525 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SpaceRook ( 630389 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @01:27AM (#4959286)
    Zager Evans
    In The Year 2525

    In the year 2525
    If man is still alive
    If woman can survive
    They may find

    In the year 3535
    Ain't gonna need to tell the truth, tell no lies
    Everything you think, do, and say
    Is in the pill you took today

    In the year 4545
    Ain't gonna need your teeth, won't need your eyes
    You won't find a thing chew
    Nobody's gonna look at you

    In the year 5555
    Your arms are hanging limp at your sides
    Your legs got not nothing to do
    Some machine is doing that for you

    In the year 6565
    Ain't gonna need no husband, won't need no wife
    You'll pick your son, pick your daughter too
    From the bottom of a long glass tube

    In the year 7510
    If God's a-comin' he ought to make it by then
    Maybe he'll look around himself and say
    Guess it's time for the Judgement day

    In the year 8510
    God is gonna shake his mighty head
    He'll either say I'm pleased where man has been
    Or tear it down and start again

    In the year 9595
    I'm kinda wondering if man is gonna be alive
    He's taken everything this old earth can give
    And he ain't put back nothing

    Now it's been 10,000 years
    Man has cried a billion tears
    For what he never knew
    Now man's reign is through
    But through the eternal night
    The twinkling of starlight
    So very far away
    Maybe it's only yesterday

    In the year 2525
    If man is still alive
    If woman can survive
    They may find

    In the year 3535
    Ain't gonna need to tell the truth, tell no lies
    Everything you think, do or say
    Is in the pill you took today ....(fading...)
  • Doesn't it seem like Ian Pearson gets to take the piss at BT (and our) expense?

    -psy
  • "Absent family will join the celebrations virtually."

    Why join us virtually? They should be able to join us virtually becuase they'll "fly" here with their flying cars right? ......right? :( I want flying cars that everyone will be able to afford already! , No, I don't care about traffic or people not being able to fly them properly, I want the flying cars I was promised!

    psst.. wake up, wake up!

  • CmdrTaco, Jr., is now 40 years old and running Slashdot. He posts repeat stories using his Linux Tablet PC, which is of course illegal since Linux's source code compromises Intellectual Property. All of the major companies have merged into a single company which most people believe runs the country. George Bush, IV, along with "Lil" Fritz Hollings pass a law mandating quotas of consumer involvement. The war on terror has not ended but that's ok since the country has rallied behind mini-Bush.

    Ahh, what days lie ahead. I can't wait!
  • Robin? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Grip3n ( 470031 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @01:35AM (#4959319) Homepage
    A robotic kitchen assistant will help you with the Christmas meal preparations while you recieve instructions and monitoring assistance in real time from information systems for the cooking.

    But will he look like Robin Williams?
  • It's amusing to see this sort of thing. Implicit are assumptions made about how current behavior will not change, but will itself be applied, or adopted wholesale, to new technology.
    This is, in fact, the reverse of what happens.

    We saw this sort of thing in the 50's with predictions about vacuum cleaner robots, almost always accompanied by an image of a very happy woman (assumed to be a housewife). No one could imagine the Women's Movement just one decade hence.

    We will (see Kurzweil) experience ever increasing rates of change in technology over the next 50 years; along with that will be slower (but faster than linear) changes in human behavior. The latter are the *really* hard predictions.

    One nice change might be to find a way to do away with the compulsive consumption (the latter word used to mean both "using things up" and "deadly disease") that defines our most popular holiday (in the West), and turn it into something more functional, useful, and fulfilling. (btw, all the latter adjectives imply massive behavior change as well, which might happen as the developed world begins to learn the lesson about what 'enough' is).

    In keeping with the season, here's 'Santabot' http://mywebpages.comcast.net/ctrevas/santabot.htm l getting ready to give a hearty "heave-ho,ho'ho" to most of the predictions in the reported article.
    • We saw this sort of thing in the 50's with predictions about vacuum cleaner robots, almost always accompanied by an image of a very happy woman (assumed to be a housewife). No one could imagine the Women's Movement just one decade hence.

      Women's rights movements existed before the 60s. And while they were admirable, the contraceptive Pill did far more to liberate women than most of those movements ever could. It's no coincidence that Women's Lib really took off at the same time as the Pill.

      In other words, it was a social consequence of a technological breakthrough, and these can be predicted with slightly more ease than the arbitrary changes in society that occasionally (and often temporarily) occur.
  • by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <teamhasnoiNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Thursday December 26, 2002 @01:47AM (#4959343) Homepage Journal
    Your mom will be asking when you are going to get a job and move the hell out of the basement.

    Virtual Hot Grits will be the to-get gift of the season.

    Linux will be ready for the desktop, but all the desktops will have shrunk to fit in a pill that you swallow.

    The entire B*ush family will have died from a drug overdose.

    Cheney's heart will continue beating in a small bell jar at the McDonalds Intel Smithsonian.

    Michael Jackson will have transparent skin, and have Liz Taylors uterus 'installed' to give birth to an endless stream of monkeys.

    Music will be beamed directly into your head, and tinfoil hats make a fashion comeback.

    Steven Speilbergs 'Taken' will be on its final installment.

    The music industry finally disposes with allusion and inference, and two new acts hit the stage: Britney Bigtits and the boy band "Humpin' Yer Daughters"

    Slashdot's Karma will actually apply to real life, and trolls are forced to live underground, cracking human bones for the tasty marrow inside.

    Reality shows will move into your own home, with prizes for the 'best'(dysfuntional) family.

    The first frozen dead guy is revived, and by an incredible twist of fate, is named 'Fry'.

    Dick Clark will be suspended in ammniotic fluid. Just for the hell of it.

    The U.S., long since disbanded for mismanagement, will relocate to Kamchaka, and attempt to defend all those borders.

    Steven King will be found dead in his home. Even if you didn't like his books, you have to admit the affect he had on late 20th century literature.

    Cmdr Taco's daughter will run Slashdot, and in hopes of giving her a better life than he had, he will buy her a dictionary chip.

    Go Carts will still be fun, but pale in comparison to GyroCarts which will be super strong, cool and powerful.

    Soviet Russia will be a new Disney/AOL/TimeWarner/Microsoft/RedHat theme park, where the attractions ride YOU. Ok. It's a whorehouse.

    Steve Balmer will live his dream, starring in "Gorillas in the Mist: Lard of the Jungle"

    Grand Theft Auto 2050 is released. It's not a game anymore.

    Duke Nukem (We Told Ya!) is finally released, and it like totally blows.

  • What did you feed him?

    Hot Dogs [rinkworks.com].

    What an old idea.
  • vegetarians (Score:3, Funny)

    by Transcendent ( 204992 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @01:53AM (#4959365)
    And there is good new for vegetarians, with turkey dinner being artificial, thanks to progress in biology and nanotechnology.

    Apparently scientists will by then have understood the molecular processes needed to convert raw materials into turkey sufficiently well to make a good replica.


    ...does anybody care about vegetarians that much??
    • Re:vegetarians (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Marr ( 621782 )
      Well, some scientists and engineers -are- vegetarian, for a start, but I think the technology is under development mostly for the increased efficiency it promises. Growing wheat to feed animals, no matter how callously you are prepared to treat them, nor how inventively you reclaim 'usable' parts, requires vast amounts of time, space, energy and cash compared to growing the nice parts of animals directly in tanks of goop.

      And then there's the potential for creativity, such as chimeric meat, extinct meat, fictional meat, and, er, forbidden meat..
  • genetically-engineered Furbies

    I didn't know plastic had genes to engineer in the first place...
  • loser (Score:4, Funny)

    by Perianwyr Stormcrow ( 157913 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @01:56AM (#4959377) Homepage
    He so totally forgot to mention shamanic magic, orks, and the Matrix.

    At least there will still be trolls, regardless of what happens.
  • I honestly think that the difference between 2050 and 2002 will not be as drastic as 1950 and now.

    IMHO...robots will be available (well they technically are in the capacity of that 'Cye' thingy), but in the capacity of tablet pcs or segways are now (Neat, useful, but expensive and somewhat impractical).

    Things will have improved, sure, but I wont be expecting a Christmas list include a G10 Titanium Laptop with a Terabyte of RAM and 100 Ghz Proc. Or to be able to browse pr0n in with my implant. Or even to have the US as a totalarian state.

    Things with slow down, they already are. Even most tech. companies admit so.
    This guys been reading to much lit. from the 50s
  • Artificial turkey? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by freeweed ( 309734 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @02:13AM (#4959408)
    Thanks to progress in biology and nanotechnology, the molecular processes needed to convert raw materials into turkey will be understood sufficiently well to make a good artificial turkey for the vegetarians.

    I thought a good chunk of vegetarians were that way more because of the health benefits of not eating meat. Creating a perfect artificial turkey would still come with all the side effects of eating real ones.

    Guess this could possibly help out the extreme vegans though, who don't want anything that came from processed animal products at all - assuming these 'molecular processes' work on 100% non-animal products.

    Oh well, futurists are always amusing.
    • Most vegetarians are so because of animal rights. This is particularly clear in Buddhism a primarily vegetarian religion. They don't eat meat because it could have been someone they knew (rebirth etc).

      The thing is most people don't care about animal rights, food chain and all of that, so they bring up the health benefits which most people do care about.
    • Honestly though, health benefits to not eating turkey? Red meat I can understand (which probably goes something like ' moderate > vegetarian > average '), but poultry?
  • by LilGuy ( 150110 )
    Honestly, what is the point of even mentioning a time so far ahead of us... obviously it has been proven that we aren't exactly realistic when describing the future... not to mention the only things that ever seem to get mentioned are the economic/technological aspects of the future... what about the arts, what about peoples' attitudes.. these things all change drastically in such a great amount of time.. which makes it nearly impossible to predict with any degree of accuracy what the future will be like.. so why not live for the moment instead?
  • Technologies advance rapidly for a while, then tend to slow markedly, with quite slow progress over time. Examples:
    • Aviation advanced rapidly from 1900 to about 1970. By 1970, the Concorde, SR-71, and Boeing 747 were all flying. Progress since then has been minor. Compare 1940 aircraft, 1970 aircraft, and 2000 aircraft.
    • Nuclear energy had a compressed growth period, from 1944 to about 1970. By 1970, the A and H bombs were mature technologies, and commercial power plants were running. Fusion power never worked.
    • Railroads were a mature technology around 1940. But then, in the 1980s, the field came back to life a bit, when railcar suspensions were finally figured out and high speed trains started to work well.

    Now think about the point at which computing will be a mature technology.

  • by // ( 81289 ) on Thursday December 26, 2002 @08:09AM (#4959907) Journal
    "good artificial turkey for the vegetarians"

    Good heavens, do you really think most vegetarians WANT artificial turkey? Maybe those who changed during their life "miss" meat, but those of us who have NEVER eaten it (not for the past 150 years in my case as a 4th generation vegetarian) it's not something we would ever contemplate.

    The WORST sort of vegetarian food is that which is made to look, feel and taste like meat. Unfortunately, that seems to be what most people think of when they try to prepare vegetarian fare.
    • Good heavens, do you really think most vegetarians WANT artificial turkey?

      Ok, how do you explain tofurky then, eh? :)

      Seriously though, seems there is a number of vegetarians who are only vegetarians because they don't believe that we should kill animals for food (obviously, you are not one of them), seems they would like the idea... or some of them, at least.

  • Lastly, just as this Christmas was hijacked by a consumption fever, so too in 2050, Christmas will be all about presents.

    Whatever. This christmas eve was like many a christmas eve before it at my home: lots of people (14) - some I see only on christmas eve, others I see every day, others I hadn't met before; lots of different food (candided beets, herring salad, baked fish, poppyseed cake, etc); a christmas tree; christmas carols.

    It lasted about seven hours, from 6pm to 1am, like it usually does. Sure, we had presents, but they sure as hell weren't the centerpiece. Sure, when I was a kid it was mostly about the loot, now it's totally about the love. It's about having a couple of days when nobody needs to make an excuse to get away from everyday chores, and spend time with they people who they want to.

    So lay off the bullshit, for a lot of us christmas is much more than presents.
  • This futuroligist is nothing but yet another paid professional bullshitter. Given the way Xmas has evolved throughout christianities history and the way it's changing just now, Xmas most certainly won't be celebrated the way we do it today.
    It could also very well be that the larger part of animals with a spinal column have died out due to strange diseases and/or enviromental causes and that most people won't even consider eating meat anymore. Adding stuff about mindreaders and other crap doesn't make this statement any more interessting. How do these people make a living, I wonder?
  • the flying cars we won't have -- Again.

    They've 'predicted' that one so many times that they've finally figured out that we're "lost pidgeons" on that topic.

    They're still predicting that machines will read our minds and do everything we want for us before we even know we want it though. Kinda makes me wonder just what it is *we* are expected to be doing.

    I guess the future is scarier than we thought. A life of maintaining the machines that maintain us, until the machines take that function over too.

    Good thing I'll believe this is even possible when the the machines give me monkeys flying out of my butt for Christmas.

    Or a flying Alfa Romeo.

    KFG

  • All men won't have beards and all women won't be wearing burkas.
  • Humans don't understand the concept of change very well. That's not surprising, since humans don't really understand very much about themselves (where they came from, why they are here, etc).

    When trying to predict the future, one must always look at the past. What have we seen in the past? Well, usually what happens is something so groundbreaking, so radical is invinted that it changes and shapes the whole course of civilziation in ways no one could have expected, making the current way of life and even forms of government inadequet. Cannons/Gunpowder in the feudal age was such an invention, basically defeating the enitre purpose of castles. The automobile [psu.edu] was another... what part of your daily life is NOT touched in some way by the invention of the automobile? In the future, instantaneous matter transportation (beam me up, Scotty!) could be such an invention. Think of how quickly the world would have to change if anyone could travel anywhere instantly. Think of the implications it would have for crime if there was no way to prevent people from "beaming" into certain locations. Also, this is something that we a currently able to imagine. The really future-changing inventions will be extensions of future inventions, thusly being almost impossible for us to concieve right now.

    I have a lot of hope for humanity. I think that in a few million years we could have a maverlous, galactic civilazation, numbering in the trillions. The quality of life would be so vastly improved by the technolgy and the abudant resouces available in the galaxy in the form of solar power and raw elements, especially compared to what we have here on this little blue dot called home. Sometimes, I think I was accidentally born a few hundered thousand years too soon. ;)

    • Humans don't understand the concept of change very well. That's not surprising, since humans don't really understand very much about themselves

      Out of curiosity - what advanced alien civilization are you part of? That you know so much about us humans which we don't.

      • It's funny you should ask that. ;) I actually was trying to make my post sound like it was coming from an outsider's perspective.
  • Did it ever occur to the author of this story that, quite possibly, vegetarians would not want to eat an artificial turkey?

    Most vegetarians, in my experience, have more than one reason for making their choice. Sure, there's the obvious, that "animal life is sacred" and that animals should not be killed under any condition. But what about health? Obviously, synthetic turkey would be just as unhealthy and cholesterol-packed as real turkey. (You could bioengineer a cholesterol-free turkey, but I'm not sure if it could still be properly called turkey.)

    What about the organic principle? You often find many 'vegetarians' who stay away from red meat for health reasons, but would sooner eat hunted poultry or fished salmon than bioengineered tomatoes; they realize that for humans to live, we must by necessity kill other lifeforms (whether animal or plant), but that we should not interfere with nature until the end.

    What about taste? Some vegetarians, believe it or not, just don't like the taste of red meat, poultry, or even fish, because they were brought up not to eat those products and never developed the taste.

    There are a certain number of people who would be overjoyed by the development of a bioengineered turkey. However, I believe that those people would mostly be lifelong omnivores living in the suburbs, who have pangs of conscience every time they take their children to tour the local farms. This turkey would make it possible for them to pretend they were actually making a moral judgment. Vegeterians, meanwhile, won't care.
    • ". But what about health? Obviously, synthetic turkey would be just as unhealthy and cholesterol-packed as real turkey"
      but in the future that won't matter because will will have Nanites in are body keeping are arteries clean and are teeth white. And we will always look like we're 25, and live for 400 years.

  • An android Jenna Jameson wet nurse will tickle your senile old chin and giggle suggestively as it changes your diapers and wipes the drool from your face, and you'll feel oh-so-ripped off that you aren't young enough to enjoy the advantages of the future.
  • We already have visitors from Christmas of the future [theonion.com] here to taunt us with gifts from the future.
    Ian
  • In the future we will be able to eat all the Soylent green we want, on tuesdays.
  • Alvin Toffler said, in a wired interview in issue 2.01:

    I once had a class of 15-year-old high school kids and I gave them index cards, and I said, "Write down seven things that will happen in the future." They said there would be revolutions and presidents would be assassinated, and we would all drown in ecological sludge. A very dramatic series of events. But I noticed that of the 198 items that they handed in, only six used the word "I." So I gave them another set of cards, and I said, "Now I want you to write down seven things that are going to happen to you." Back came, "I will be married when I'm 21," "I will live in the same neighborhood, I will have a dog."


    Alvin's predictions have always been either uninteresting or ludicrous, imho. However, this point is *so* fantastic.

    Sure, in 47 years we might have nanotech that can create turkeys. But we might also have nanotech that has turned every human into a turkey. Christmas day will be the least interesting distinction between now and 2050. Ok, now I'll go read the article.
  • I'm still waiting for my god damned flying car. If I had my flying car those god damned wet leaves wouldn't have done anything to me because I wouldn't have been on the ground to hit the fire hydrant. But anyways, seriously, you think we will all be around in 50 years? :)

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