Long before the days of 1,000+ cable channels, I was fortunate enough to have the Disney Channel – and I was glued to the TV. I guess you’d consider me a Disney superfan, as I was pretty obsessed. I learned how to draw Mickey, Goofy, Donald and the rest of the Disney cast and was SURE I’d be a Disney cartoonist one day.
Why bore you with this? Disney also hosted a show in the 50s on ABC Saturday nights and they would replay those shows in the 80s when I was growing up. One particular show that really stuck in my mind was Disney’s vision of the future. More specifically, Disney’s Magic Highway, from 1958. Here’s a clip (you really have to watch, it’s great) – and here’s the full video if you have an hour to spare.
Reality Stranger Than Fiction
Keep in mind, this animation was created in the 50s, highways were nothing like we’re used to now – yet, they got quite a few things right:
- Radar screen windshields are similar night vision heads-up displays in some higher end cars.
- Recommended safe driving speed monitors sound a lot like smart cruise control adjustments in newer cars.
- Rear-view video cameras are now standard on most new cars
- And those travel screens they imagined that help you plan trips and shows your route? Definitely GPS.
And we’re moving toward some of the other ideas Disney dreamed of – or soon will be:
- Self-driving cars? We’re getting there.
- Superhighways connecting the globe? If Elon Musk has his way – yes!
- Solar energy? Again, with Teslas charging forward, we can’t be far from it.
Anyone Can See The Future If They Want To
Watching predictions from the 50s today and considering the possibilities of tomorrow could make anyone feel a little excited. We can easily see that the future holds smart homes and advances in digital health powered by an Internet of Things offering connections we’re just starting to understand.
We will live better, longer and increasingly more ‘connected.’ Is that a good thing ultimately? Time will tell. But there’s no escaping it, unless one chooses to live off the grid.
An IFTTT World
If you haven’t tried IFTTT to make connections online, you’re missing out. IFTTT is an “if this/then that” platform that allows an array of convenient actions to take place. If you post a new blog, THEN it can generate a new post on many other sites for you, linking to it. Or create a note in Evernote from an email. Or post new pins to Tumblr. Those things happen today – quite simply. Tomorrow, our IFTTT world could look like this:
When I get close to home, my car will alert my house, so all the lights turn on. And my door will unlock as I approach, thanks to my smartwatch providing the proper identification. The temperature in the house will adjust automatically to the level I’m comfortable with, and even increase/decrease based on fluctuations in my own temperature, if I’d been running or got caught in the rain. And I’ll have any missing dinner ingredients arriving shortly after I do, as my refrigerator would be sure to keep preprogrammed items replenished.
I could go on and on.
So what will the future bring? Maybe we should ask Bill Gates! He’s been pretty accurate predicting technological advances so far (no really, he has – read this).
The point is this: Everything will soon be connected. Saying the “internet of things” will soon be something we joke about, like saying “the interweb.” And wearable tech will fast-forward digital health advances in ways we’ve yet to imagine – and in ways that will hopefully have us living well beyond our 100s.
The only downside to all of these advances – the only part Disney got noticeably wrong: These advances are supposed to give us more time for leisure, but they really don’t. They just encourage us to squeeze MORE in to each day. Maybe we should focus on that next.
What do you think?