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Eerie Technology Predictions from 1982

This entry was posted By Cubert on Tuesday, July 20th, 2010 at 5:06 am and is filed under Nostalgia. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

I recently came across an old copy of a “Video Review” magazine from December, 1982, a publication that now seems to be out of print. This issue contained an editorial column called “VIEWPOINTS” with the subtitle “New Ideas for 1983”, which featured guesses at what might be developed in the near future. While the technology did not show up the following year, the predictions were freakishly ahead of their time, and nearly each one now appears in our modern lives.

In this post, you’ll be amazed, astonished, flabbergasted, and drunkened by the accuracy of these technology predictions from Video Review’s David Hadju back in ’82. If by the end of this post you still don’t feel drunkened, don’t worry, I’ve drankened enough for the both of us.

The Original Printed Article

Prediction #1:

What was Predicted?

This is a perfect description of the basic functions of Tivo and other digital video recorders. The author, David Hadju, was 17 years ahead of his time with this prediction.

Prediction #2:

What was Predicted?

Flat screen? Microprocessors? Video walkie talkie? It’s as though Mr. Hadju was in possession of Apple’s stolen iPhone 4 prototype before passing it along to Gizmodo’s Jason Chen. I think Apple may need to send the time police back to offices of Video Review and confiscate their 80286′s and commodore 64′s.

Prediction #3:

What was Predicted?

The wireless media center has been under development by Motorola since 2001. It’s able to broadcast music, dvds, computer content, photos and videos from digital cameras, and much more between a variety of devices over a home network without a single wire (except perhaps for a few dozen power cords; Tesla’s wireless electricity is still a little far fetched at the moment, but we’re not here to talk about Tesla We’ll talk about Tesla next Tuesday on Tequila night.)

Prediction #4:

What was Predicted?

This prediction was not as prophetic as the others; I’d say it was more of a technological inevitability. However David was once again correct, and modern video cameras can double as a virtual editing room without needing additional equipment.

Prediction #5:

What was Predicted?

This is the only prediction that failed. Betamax had all of the success against VHS that Toshiba’s HD-DVD had against Blueray. Beta was finally retired by Sony in 1988, going to show that Japanese technology companies will never achieve success.

While Davey didn’t get all predictions correct, 4 out of 5 is pretty amazing, especially considering the scope of the predictions, and how bad many predictions turn out (old popular science magazine enthusiasts will know what I mean.) In defense of prediction number 5, the concept of a combo player did finally make it to market, in the format of a DVD/VHS combo player, so maybe we’ll give Dave a 4.25 out of 5?

Text Version of Column:

(In case your eyes are bad from too much computer use.)

Ever want to scream right through the TV screen to a movie character who, say, doesn’t know he’s walking into the barn where spacemen have planted their death ray? Well, that’s how I feel this time of year. Every December, Video Review takes a hard look at all the video developments of the past 12 months for our annual review of the Best and the Worst Gear of the Year. Then we turn to video’s leading inventors, engineers, and other insiders for the first peek at what’s in store for the coming year. But after pouring over every video development of the near past and the near future, I look at the year’s files of data and feel like yelling “Hey, why don’t you guys really to this?”

It might be as useful as hollering at a TV set, but here’s a brief look at a few different ways the video-equipment powers that be could have gone in their ’82 plans:

  • TV Sets with “Special Effects.” Through an inventive union of frame-storage and time-delay technologies, TV sets ad monitors could incorporate virtually all of the special features now employed only on VCRs and videodisc players. That way, viewers of broadcast and cable-TV programs could use freeze-frame, frame advance, and slow motion on shows while they’re being broadcast.
  • Video Walkie-Talkies, Or “walkie-watchies.” With microprocessors and the first flat-display picture tubes, there’s nothing preventing the development of personal, two-way TV transmitters/receivers-except perhaps the FCC.
  • Wireless Video Components. A pet idea of VR’s managing editor, Deirdre Condon, wireless components could put an end to the headaches-and the electrical hazards-of interfacing the growing number audio/video/computer components essential to a top-grade modern (or is that “postmodern”?) electronics system.
  • Optical-Effects Videocameras. Technically, it’s far simpler to achieve moviemaking optical effects such as “dissolves” and “wipes” with video than with film. Yet, for all their sophistication, no consumer videocameras have ever been built to handle such effects.
  • Beta/VHS VCRs. Hardly our idea by and means, the prospect of one video recorder being able to record and play videocassets in both of today’s major (and totally incompatible) VCR formats has probably struck everyone who knows there are different formats, Everybody in video talks about this one-except the folks making Beta and VHS.
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Comments

I thought disco was going to come back, too! What a thrill for me to find this post. Thanks tons for doing it.
I haven’t written about technology in many years — my focus is music and popular culture now. Of course, I predicted that would happen.
All best,
David

Hi David,

It’s an honor for you to have found this post. Your predictions were astonishing, and I’m surprised you’ve given up on technology with how accurate you were. As for disco, it’s not dead, it’s just hiding out and keeping a low profile!

User **YOUTUBE VIDEO REVIEWS ON THE HOTTEST ELECTRONICS OUT** says: December 31, 2010 at 11:05 pm

REVIEW IT BEFORE YOU BUY IT!!…

#1 SITE FOR THE LATEST REVIEWS ON THE HOTTEST TECHNOLOGY HITTING THE MAINSTREAM!…

Wow, did this bring back memories! When I was a kid, I would live for the new issue of Video Review to arrive in the mail, and I’d anxiously read it from cover to cover. I remember reading a lot of articles by David Hadju. What fun this blog post was to find! I all-of-a-sudden wanted to find something on the web about my old, beloved, favorite magazine!!

Sorry to bust any bubbles, but most of this prediction stuff was all seeded in the 50′s – for example DickTracy wrist watch/video transmitter or star trek with lazar beams and wireless transmitter and molecular disassembly and reassembly, and chat on nanobots. The modem of the 70′s for atari, while the trasission from CB’ing to TV trasmission on black screen and we just moved our screen names over to the web. All this was entertainment and ideas were all taken from the Techno mags and journals of there time.

It was Ragan that set all this stuff on fire simple due to the MASS amounts of money he allocated to and for science, for college and basic schooling, and for Defence in a star war defenses projects.

PS Love your site, just found it and it does have some very intriguing ideas and seeded information about and for REAL capitalism [being a win = win situation], you also add creativity and imagination in the mixed thus a compelling site indeed. I will be view more as free time permits. Thanks for sharing

What a thrill it was for me to find this piece of yours. Thanks much for the all-too-kind words. I haven’t written about technology in some time now — I’m teaching (at Columbia) and writing books and such. I showed this piece to my 10-year-old son, and was impressed by his father for the first time in his life.
David

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