If some of current technical projects look unrealistic for you, it’s only what you feel. And is this statement looks too categorical for you, take a look at these examples.
The business man can dictate instructions from new York, and they immediately appear in his office in London or elsewhere. He can from his workplace to talk with any telephone subscriber on the globe. Inexpensive instrument, not bigger than a watch, will enable its owner to listen anywhere — on sea or land, music or song, the speech of a political leader, an eminent scholar or sermon of the priest, located at a great distance. Exactly the same can be transferred to any picture, sign, picture or text.
“The Transmission of Electric Energy Without Wires”. Electrical World, March 5, 1904. Nikola Tesla (1856–1943) Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist.
Once we have computer outlets in every home, each of them hooked up to enormous libraries where anyone can ask any question and be given answers, be given reference materials, be something you’re interested in knowing, from an early age, however silly it might seem to someone else… that’s what YOU are interested in, and you can ask, and you can find out, and you can do it in your own home, at your own speed in your own direction, in your own time… Then, everyone would enjoy learning. Nowadays, what people call learning is forced on you, and everyone is forced to learn the same thing on the same day at the same speed in class, and everyone is different.
“The Roving Mind”. Isaac Asimov (1920–1992) — American writer and professor of biochemistry at Boston University.
When Floyd had tired of official reports, memoranda and minutes, he would plug his foolscap-sized Newspad into the ship’s information circuit and scan the latest reports from Earth. One by one, he would conjure up the world’s major electronic papers. He knew the codes of the more important ones by heart and had no need to consult the list on the back of his pad. Switching to the display’s short-term memory, he would hold the front page while he searched the headlines and noted the items that interested him.
Each had its own two-digit reference. When he punched that, a postage-sized rectangle would expand till it neatly filled the screen and he could read it with comfort. When he finished he could flash back to the complete page and select a new subject for detailed examination.
“2001: A Space Odyssey”. Sir Arthur Charles Clarke (1917–2008) — British science fiction writer, science writer and futurist.
Photographs will be telegraphed from any distance. If there be a battle in China a hundred years hence, snapshots of its most striking events will be published in the newspapers an hour later. Even today, photographs are being telegraphed over short distances. Photographs will reproduce all of Nature’s colors.
Man will See Around the World. American audiences in their theatres will view upon huge curtains before them the coronations of kings in Europe or the progress of battles in the Orient. The instrument bringing these distant scenes to the very doors of people will be connected with a giant telephone apparatus transmitting each incidental sound in its appropriate place. The lips of a remote actor or singer will be heard to utter words or music when seen to move.
Hot or cold air will be turned on from spigots to regulate the temperature of a house as we now turn on hot or cold water from spigots to regulate the temperature of the bath. Homes will have no chimneys, because no smoke will be created within their walls.
1900, Ladies’ Home Journal. John Elfreth Watkins (1852–1903) — American engineer.
Stepping to the Telephot on the side of the wall, he pressed a group of buttons and in a few minutes the faceplate of the Telephot became luminous, revealing the face of a clean-shaven man about thirty, a pleasant but serious face.
As soon as he recognized the face of Ralph in his own Telephot, he smiled and said, “Hello, Ralph”. “Hello, Edward. I wanted to ask you if you could come over to the laboratory tomorrow morning. I have something unusually interesting to show you. Look!”
He stepped to one side of his instrument so that his friend could see the apparatus on the table about ten feet from the Telephot faceplate.
“Ralph 124C 41+”. Hugo Gernsback (1884–1967) — American inventor, writer, editor, and magazine publisher, best known for publications including the first science fiction magazine.