Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Visionaries Meet to Discuss Future

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Visionaries Meet to Discuss Future

Article excerpt

By Mike Robinson

Associated Press

WASHINGTON _ People dwelling in undersea colonies, 1,000 feet deep. Military biological agents to destroy an enemy's will to resist. A base on the moon, artificial life, control of the weather.

All that was supposed to happen by the 1990s, according to futurists _ scientists, economists, government officials and free-lance visionaries who make a habit of peering up the river of time.

OK, so foresight isn't always 20-20.

"When it comes to anticipating what's going to happen in the larger world a year from now, ten years from now, a century from now, we become increasingly uncomfortable," said Edward Cornish of the World Future Society, a 25,000-member group that will meet in Washington, D.C., June 27-July 1.

Sessions will focus on schools, health, jobs _ anything with a future.

And, based on the track record, there are sure to be on-target predictions to go along with those whose farsightedness produces optical delusions.

The society was launched in 1966. That year, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, a charter member, offered these predictions in its first report: artificial human organs, organ transplants, psychiatric drugs, teaching machines and an American base on the moon.

Only the moon base is missing.

Among the fumbled forecasts, undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau envisioned ocean-dwellers living more than 1,000 feet deep. Science fiction novelist Isaac Asimov agreed, and wrote that "the chance of catching a dinner in your front yard, once possible for early Americans, will once again be possible under water."

Athelstan Spilhaus, dean of the University of Minnesota Institute of Technology, said conventional oceangoing ships would be junked in favor of submarines, eliminating the problem of wind and waves.

One writer suggested that by the year 2007 researchers would develop a drug to regenerate arms and legs.

Author Dave Walter of the Montana State Historical Society, in a new book, "Then Today," tells how American leaders were asked in 1893 to envision the world of 1993. They included a 3,000-mile pneumatic tube to deliver the mail across country and a dirigible in every garage. …

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