This is an essay my father wrote in 1937 about the what he expected the world to be like in the year 2000. This was an exercise set by the Pelman Institute, London to help improve ones scientific mental training. I’ve included a transcript for easier reading.
The World in AD 2000 – David James Aiken
Sixty three years hence? think of sixty three years back! would the average man of eighteen seventy four imagined out present world, with its fast traffic, its aeroplanes, the radio – and all that forms the fabric of our modern existence, but what of the future, will the world improve as much again?
The trend of modern life and its inventions is to give more leisure time to the average man, by speading up of work and an eventual shortening of working hours. This leisure time used wisely promises benefits to be reaped in the future, and as man becomes more familiar with the secrets and forces of nature, so will further secrets and forces become revealed to him.
With the advent of the telephone and television into every home, domestic private life will to a great extent disappear, distances will be reduced and it will be commonplace to speak with relations in far off countries and probably to see them on a television screen. Travel to distant parts of the globe will be speeded up by flying hotels travelling at speeds which today are records. Our ocean going liners will be used for heavy freight and as a cheap form of travel as well as pleasure cruising.
A world tour will be a matter of a week or two instead of months.
With this increased facility for travel and increased leisure, education will have progressed, and the risk of friction between nations minimised byt the interchange of ideas and visits. It will not be so easy to mislead people about their neighbours as it was in the past.
Our men of science will also be progressing, and we shall find bloodless surgery holding a very high position in medical treatment. The people may even pay doctors a weekly fee to keep them advised as to their health and not pay when they are ill.
Interplanetary communication may be a possibility, and new realms for explorers to search. News will be in the papers almost as soon as it is an accomplished fact.
In general, life in 2,000 AD will be faster and consequently leisure will be of utmost importance, and the correct use of this leisure. If wisely used it will be a happy world.
How this essay came to light
I never saw this essay until after my father died in 1983 and I was going through his papers. This was a peculiar affair as not only had I lost my father, but he had been a very secretive, reclusive man. He worked for the government, ostensibly in the civil service, but his work was covered by the official secrets act. I never knew what he did and neither did my mother or sister.
As children my sister and I were sometimes entertained by curious pieces of equipment he would bring home, usually only for one evening. Miniature tape recorders, tiny cameras and on one occasion a bottle of mercury (times were very different in the early 1950s.
This essay was written before the second world war and I imagine he would have been disappointed by that part of his predictions being so far off the mark. In most of the essay he got he pretty close to what has happened.