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Tomorrow's World - Last Update : August 12th 2017 04:26 pm

Read the article and put these sentences in the correct place. (1) has been matched to "e" for you.
  1. Human nature is the greatest single confounder of all the predictions of decades gone by
  2. Each age has its future fears that turn out to be groundless
  3. Immortality has been a constant theme in futurology
  4. Fifty years ago, the futurologists of the day were confidently forecasting an outlook that was silver, shiny and teeming with intelligent robots.
  5. Forecasting what life is ging to be like years down the line is a dodgy business.
  6. Neither are there any aliens on the horizon, nor even in the galaxy next door.

2 What didn't come to pass

(1) Forecasting what life is going to be like years down the line is a dodgy business. Even the experts don't always get it right. Take Bill Gates, for example. In 1981, he firmly stated that '640K of memory ought to be enough for anyone.' So it's more than a bit embarrassing for him now that, even a standard issue home PC, you need 200 times that amount of memory just to run his own company's software. Fortunately for Bill, other predicted that the technological future would involve giant computers that were the size of cities, whereas what we actually have are ever-shrinking models that you can tuck neatly into your pocket, which are hundreds of times more powerful than their lumbering predecessors Nano-technology is definitely the way forward.

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They imagined the robots of the future would not only be able to think for themselves, but get on with the housework too. But what have we got? More time-saving devices and what seems like less time. Just how did that happen? And absolutely no sign of a helpful house robot to mix a perfect Martini at the end of a hard day at the cyberface. Face it, we haven't even cracked robotic vacuum cleaners yet.

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Air tours are not booking moon packages, and space travel is only for the trained or for fantastically wealthy few. True, all-in-one body suits (the uniform of brave space pioneers) did make a number of fashion appearances - think lycra exercise gear in the eighties - but on the whole, we've realised that body suits are a misnomer, because they don't actually suit bodies, other than those with faultless dimensions.
Which brings me to another big fib: perfect bodies in the future. No matter how much nipping, tucking, sucking and filling we do, our bodies continue to traitorously reveal the sings of our increasing years. Sorry!

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Actually, we do now know how to extend life - by eating less and exercising more. Even so, Californian cryogenics super-salesmen have persuaded some people to part with vast sums of money on a promise that will defrost them when 'the time is right'. But since we haven't yet perfected freezing strawberries, these poor deluded souls may be nothing more than mucky puddles by 2052.
As for transport, the reason we aren't all buzzing around in our own mini-planes has quite a lot to do with the fact that nobody thought about what would happen when everyone wanted one. Were they going to be stacked high above our streets, stuck in an endless holding pattern while we desperately tried to do our shopping?

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Nutritionally-perfect pills to replace all our food? Nothing, but online shopping, so there's no need to leave your home/computer and traipse round the shops? Both have met with a resounding thumbs down from the public. We simply refuse to give up eating our nutritionally nightmarish fish and chips. And we show absolutely no inclination to forego and the pleasure of touching, examining and trying the purchases we make. We love our food and our shopping, thank you very much.

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In the fifties, concerns focused on monsters and flying saucers. Ours are reproductive. For instance we worry that come 2052, it will be increasingly normal for grannies to be giving birth, or that male pregnancy will be possible. It's my bet that if you asked 100 women in their sixties, now or in 2052, if they wanted a test-tube baby or double-glazing, 99 per cent would opt for the windows. As for male pregnancy, I have it filed unter 'o' as in 'Only for the lunatic', along with human cloning and genetic engineering. Yes, it might all be technically possible, and you might well see genetic engineering for very specific and well-defined medical reasons, but it will remain phenomenally risky for the baby. It's an unchangeable part of human nature that what we really want, above everything else, is the best for our future generations.

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