How Well Has L.A. Lived up to 25-Year-Old Predictions?

How well could today's futurists predict how everyday life will change by 2038? This was the task that the Los Angeles Times Magazine embarked on in 1988. A class of graduate students at USC has been looking into which predictions came true.

The illustration on the cover of the April 3, 1988, edition of the Los Angeles Times Magazine, "showed bubble-shaped cars traveling in 'electro lanes' on a double-decked, high-rise-lined 1st Street in downtown's Civic Center area," writes Bob Pool. The headline read: "L.A. 2013: Techno-Comforts and Urban Stresses — Fast Forward to One Day in the Life of a Future Family."

"Inside was a lengthy essay that described a day in the life of a fictional Granada Hills family in April 2013. Shorter secondary stories explored experts' opinions about future transportation issues, pollution, crime, overpopulation, computerized education and use of personal robots."

Aside from the robots, predictions of "video phones, a refrigerator that kept a running inventory of its contents and telecommuting equipment," have come true, or are on the foreseeable horizon. Predictions of smart cars, automated homes, and a high-tech revolution in education were also on the right track.

"The magazine also predicted more crowding, heavier traffic and more pollution in the year 2013," notes Pool. "Population and traffic congestion have indeed increased, but air pollution has lessened, said student Matt Petros, 28, of Tarzana."

"People back then thought Los Angeles in 2013 would be strangled by crime," said classmate Duwarahan Rajendra, 30, of Sri Lanka. "Things like that are very hard to predict."

Full Story: No robots in our homes, but many predictions about 2013 come true


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