Isaac Asimov’s Predictions for the Future Respond to Tyra Banks’ Predictions for the Future

In a recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal Tyra Banks made 10 predictions about what the future will hold.

Granted, she was speaking in regards to how we will perceive beauty and how it will be achieved in The Future A.D. but I couldn’t help but be reminded of another famous prognosticator and his vision of the year 2014 as relayed from the 1964 World’s Fair. Both Banks and Asimov’s lists stem from a healthy diet of science fiction, knowingly or not, and extrapolate current technologies and societal norms while adding a dash of imagination and a peppering of insanity. Don’t believe me? Behold the comparison.

 

Tyra predicts: Global warming will threaten our crops so natural food will be scarce. Hourglass, curvy bodies will be the aspirational beauty standard, representing that those women have access to bounties of fulfilling yet healthy food, which means they are affluent.

Asimov said: Ordinary agriculture will keep up with great difficulty and there will be “farms” turning to the more efficient micro-organisms. Processed yeast and algae products will be available in a variety of flavors. The 2014 fair will feature an Algae Bar at which “mock-turkey” and “pseudosteak” will be served. It won’t be bad at all (if you can dig up those premium prices), but there will be considerable psychological resistance to such an innovation.

Tyra predicts: Everyone will have at least one personal robot/assistant/companion. The robot will have super artificial intelligence and will be able to sense if its owner is having a low-self-esteem day and will then strategically give boosts of confidence to its owner. “Wow, Eloisa! Your eyes look especially lovely today.”

Asimov said: Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence. […] It will undoubtedly amuse [the fairgoers] to scatter debris over the floor in order to see the robot lumberingly remove it and classify it into “throw away” and “set aside.” (Robots for gardening work will also have made their appearance.)

Tyra predicts: Plastic surgery will be as easy and quick as going to the drugstore for Tylenol.

Asimov said: Not all the world’s population will enjoy the gadgety world of the future to the full. A larger portion than today will be deprived and although they may be better off, materially, than today, they will be further behind when compared with the advanced portions of the world. They will have moved backward, relatively.

Tyra predicts: Because beauty will be so readily accessible and skin color and features will be similar, prejudices based on physical features will be nearly eradicated. Prejudice will be socioeconomically based.

Asimov said: The lucky few who can be involved in creative work of any sort will be the true elite of mankind, for they alone will do more than serve a machine.

Tyra predicts: Women’s empowerment will be an irrelevant concept because the balance of power between the sexes will have shifted dramatically. Women, in control of when they can have children (up to age 120!), and having more degrees and education than men, will be in charge.

Asimov said: The direction in which man is traveling is viewed with buoyant hope.

Tyra predicts: Robot/avatar models with features that look totally different from the golden-skinned everyday people will represent and sell products world-wide.

Asimov said: Conversations with the moon will be a trifle uncomfortable.

 

Well…they can’t all be winners.


Chris Lough is the production manager for and an often-writer on Tor.com. He can be found on Twitter and almost always in the future.

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