We constantly make predictions about future, which technology will exist,  what the environment would be like, even what kind of clothes we would be wearing. In 1969, Shōnen Sunday magazine featured a series of illustrations called Computopia, which predicts what the technology would be like in 20 years. The series featured 3 main scenes: classroom, home, and hospital. It has been 44 years since the illustrations, not 20, so shall we review the predictions made in the pictures and see what we have accomplished so far?

Computopia is a series of illustrations from 1969 that predicted what technology would be like in 20 years

Future Classroom

“The Rise of the Computerized School,” illustrated by Shigeru Komatsuzaki. Here, we see a classroom without teacher supervision. Or rather, the teacher is shown on the wall display and behaving rather like the tutorial videos we see in YouTube and, of course, virtual courses. We can also currently see this in current classrooms with projectors or smart boards, when the teacher utilizes videos to enhance their teaching.

Each student is given a computer, which is also an accurate prediction because now many students receive laptops for educational purposes. Notice the students are using a red pen to write on the computer? Touch-screen monitors allow us to do that now.

One thing that is shown on this picture did not happen: the red beating devices attached to the ceiling that discipline children if they try to cheat or lose focus. While we do have the technology to manufacture something like what is shown on the picture, I am not sure whether the robot will be smart enough to know when it is supposed to discipline a child.

Future Home

“Computer Life in 20 Years,” illustrated by Toshio Okazaki. Here, we see a family home filled with technology. We see the dad is talking to someone with video, which is now a common occurrence with computers and mobile devices, but we also have products that serve purely as a video phone, such as the ones utilized by the deaf community for video relay service.

What I thought was sweet is how the wall computer spits out a newspaper instead of showing it on the screen. In modern times, we could easily print out the newspapers, except the newspaper companies do not expect us to do that, when we could read their news right on the monitor. They’re right, who would want to print out dozens of pages every day?

Now, here is something we’d love to have and yet have not perfected. Holographic TV. We have these 3D TVs which needs 3D glasses in order to manipulate the eyes properly, but is often considered uncomfortable. Yes, those are flying cars… We’re still working on car automation down here on the ground.

See the device on the floor, eating up what’s on front of it? Automated vacuum. Roomba, anyone?

To be honest, I don’t know what the lady is doing. I believe that she is performing some kind of accounting on a huge calculator with printer or small computer with small in-built printer. The fun stuff is actually what’s surrounding her: automatic iron for clothes, a self-moving table that keeps food warm, and a maid robot. By now, it feels like The Jetsons show.

No automatic iron, however we do have steamers. No self-moving table, although we do now have an myriad of technology to keep food warm. No maid robots. Yet.

Future Hospital

 

“The Amazing Unmanned Operating Room,” illustrated by Teruya Yamamoto. The most important idea of this picture is the use of technology to remotely see inside the body and perform a heart transplant by controlling the surgery robot. We can say that we now have accomplished the vision of remote surgery, which eventually will become a more commonplace technology to be found in all hospitals. The technology of remote surgery itself is still growing, however, as we only recently had our first remote heart surgery, which is not a transplant.The illustration depicts a doctor operating on a man's heart remotely, by using a robot and monitors to see inside the body.

Bonus Observation

Have you noticed that the clothes are different? The boys in the school are dressed just as we would expect them to, however it is a little strange because the Japanese place a lot of importance on uniforms but maybe these boys are actually in kindergarten and not in elementary or junior high school. However, on the illustrations for the house, the boy and father are wearing plain… jumpsuits? Including the shoes, unless it just happens to be the same color and blend in very well. While their clothes are plain, the mother is wearing a colorful shirt or jumpsuit just like the designs we make for charter bus seats.

Innovation

We haven’t finished developing what technology has to offer us. Each day, we are innovating more and more. Ever since  hardware products have become more and more modifiable or programmed by anyone that knows the programming languages, we have been creating many different uses for a product, such as the thousands of apps a mobile phone has.

As a custom software developer, Amadeus Consulting has often worked with clients that have unique and pioneering ideas that could innovate our way of life, including the eco-friendly bike-sharing program, B-cycle. We also are working on a operating room safety system with Parallax Enterprises, a revolutionary idea that could literally save lives. Have an innovative idea you’d like us to develop? Contact us today!