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1964: By the year 2014, it is anticipated, our population will have doubled and Congress, instead of curbing farm output, may be offering incentives for increase in production. Even so, the mellow independence and freedom of the old days of the small family farms is something we are not likely ever to see again.…

"By the time the year 2000 arrives, the list of electrical appliances will be endless... non-pollution electric cars on safe magnetic highways, electric beams for metalworking, laser beams for digging tunnels, robot vacuum cleaners and dry cleaning installations in the close, adjustable total illumination for all…

1996: "IDC predicts that by January 1997, up to a fifth of America's top 500 companies boasting Web sites will have either closed them down or frozen their growth. Although more people are expected to peek at the Web this year, many will cancel their subscriptions and go back to watching television." [Times of London]

"The images most of us conjure up when we hear the words 'virtual reality' were drawn against the backdrop of science fiction from the 1980s and '90s. By calling Oculus Rift a 'virtual reality headset,' Oculus VR has implicitly linked its product back to the Holodeck, The Lawnmower Man, and William Gibson's…

1995: Artist's concept painting of a future expedition on Mars' moon Phobos. The explorer on the left is using a personal spacecraft which is anchored to the soil, while the explorer on the right examines a boulder that might weigh 1,000 pounds on Earth, and just a pound on Phobos. [Illustration by Pat Rawlings for

Is it beyond the bounds of reason, in view of our recent progress, to imagine that the day is coming when, by touching a button on some convenient part of our anatomy, we may get in tune with a central wireless, typeless, inkless, pulpless, paperless, newsless distributing agency that will telepathically convey to us

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Men such as IBM Economist Joseph Froomkin feel that automation will eventually bring about a 20-hour work week, perhaps within a century, thus creating a mass leisure class. Some of the more radical prophets foresee the time when as little as 2% of the work force will be employed, warn that the whole concept of people

Fallout shelter originally installed in 1955 for a family of three in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The shelter cost $1,800 (over $15,000 adjusted for inflation) and contained four drop-down beds, a chemical toilet, and an air exchange device that was operated by hand-crank. The entire thing was brought to the Smithsonian in…