04 January 2012

The Future Isn't Here


The future didn't end up like this...

If you thought the future according to Forum for the Future, Embarq and The FIA Foundation - in the previous post - was spooky and unsettling, it may be good to know that when Big Business attempts to predict the future, they are usually quite wrong.


Above is a whopper of a film - 21 minutes long - that shows General Motors' futurevision from 1940. This was produced for GM's 'Highways and Horizons' pavillion at the World's Fair and it looks ahead to the "Wonder World of 1960".

What a wild guess they took. Wishful thinking on their part, of course. The speaker bangs on and on and on about safety at high speeds and never having to slow down on whopping, billion lane highways like this:


Give the film a chance, despite the length. It's chock full of hilarious quotes.


Here's another film from General Motors, this time from 1956 and GM's Motorama car shows. You'll love the highway model at the end. 'Design for Dreamers', they called it.


Another film commissioned by General Motors, hammering home that highways are the future. Period. This one glorifies traffic engineers - funny when we now know that traffic engineers are largely to blame for the state of our cities.


Interesting, this 'House of Tomorrow', despite the prediction of 'man-made fibres' (follow the money), is a tiny bit more realistic what with hands-free telephones and video intercoms.

Perhaps predicting the details of human life and behaviour and needs is easier than predicting the glorified futurevision of large corporations who fail to see human beings and only large machines and profit.

Not surprisingly, no bicycles were used in the making of these films.

Thanks to Erik for these links.

3 comments:

petterwr said...

In the 1956 movie there doesnt seem to be a way to get off the highway. Driving around seems to be the goal in itself.

Mikael said...

yeah i noticed that. :-)
they kept cutting in the film to hope we wouldn't notice... :-)

Anonymous said...

Well everybody knows how Detroit looks today ... just google Detroit ruins