Arthur C. Clarke predicted Twitter
How I got this article
This summer my ex-colleague, Paloma Granado, gave me a gift I thanked her a lot: a photocopy of an article about some predictions by Arthur C. Clarke published in the magazine ByN. The article, titled “The communications of the Future”, was amazing and I thought about writing something about it. As there wasn’t a date in the article to know how old the predictions were, I tried to look for its date and I searched for a digital edition to reference it.
I asked on Twitter how to find the articles on ByN magazine. @ebrito tried to help me gallantly and @alalga told me he was interested in the article too. I couldn’t find any clue. I asked my erudite daughter who worked in a library to search for the article in the whole newspaper library she knew. She couldn’t find the article, but thanks to the fantastic project of digitalization of the newspaper ABC, my daughter found it at last.
The article was written in 1977, thirty two years ago. Despite the date seeming far-off, at that time email and the Internet had already been invented although it was used only by a few users.
The photo that illustrates the post is taken from the article and if you let me make a joke it seems that Sir Arthur is reading the future in the dregs of coffee.
Review of the predictions 32 years late…
This review has the aim of stimulating the curiosity of readers and to lead them to the original article. It has six pages (126, 127 128, 129, 130 y 131) and readers can download them from the previous links.
Those are the predictions:
|Digital natives: Children accept machines and computers as toys. This let me guess that computers will be as common as blenders or record players at home in a few years. (pag. 128).True, he was right.|
|Telewoking: The day when office workers and intellectuals will do their work at home is near. (pag. 128).True, although it’s not as comon as technology allows.|
|Infoaddiction: Men could live longer without water than without information (pag. 126). It could forecast a new type of virulent news addiction, that will originate a new kind of people who won’t be able to miss anything that happend anywhere and they will spend all their free time glued to the computer. I call them infoaddictics. (pag. 129).True, this sort of person exists. The infoaddictics, first were the bloggers and right now are the twitters.|
|Mobiles phones: The individual phone-watch-bracelet allows you to be in contact with anyone anywhere. It will be an advantage that few could refuse. (pag. 130).False, mobiles phones didn’t go this way, although there is a model like he said.|
|Smartphones: We will forced to make a portable comunications unit something like the current pocket calculators, adding some memory and processing circuits. It will be taken everywhere and it will have the same funtionality that a human personal assistant. (pag. 130).True, It’s the smartphone|
|Digital divide: As we develop toward an information Society and we leave an Industrial Society, there will be million of people that won’t be able to adapt to the changes. (pag. 130).True, Although his forecast about automated work was very optimistic, no doubt the laboral survival in this crisis time will be easier for people who have adapted to the digital changes.|
In general his predictions are very accurate. His concern for the enviroment higher than political leaders, caught my attention. If he was over optimistic about something was in the intelligence and honesty of the politicians.