Would you like to know the future? Just ask GE.
Consider a film found in GE archives, which was produced and released to coincide with GE’s “Diamond Jubilee,” or the 75th anniversary of the development of Edison’s lamp in 1879. The impressive footage below confidently (and surprisingly accurately) predicts some of the “push button magic science is hatching for tomorrow,” from new conveniences in the home kitchen to sophisticated defenses against atomic attack.
So how prescient were the GE seers? They correctly foresaw, if in somewhat clunky incarnations and charmingly dated scenarios, the following present-day technologies: the DVR; the refrigerator ice-maker; the baby monitor; video calls; flat-screen, 3D television; the computer; and the cell phone.
Misses? Nitrogen-spewing planes that can replenish barren fields; lighted walls replacing lamps; the radio watch (though arguably the smartphone gives us the same capability).
Overall, the predictions are dead on. And so are the hints of doubt about just how great all of these advancements will be. For example, the pocket phone is introduced as a “mixed blessing.” The film shows a man on the street getting a call from his wife: “Hi honey, where are you?,” she says. The two-second look of hesitation on his face pretty much sums up modern life.
Still, GE’s narrator waxes optimistic: “The more labor-saving inventions, the more time we shall have to dream and dally.” Here’s hoping.