There was a long-running TV show on the BBC in Britain called “Tomorrow’s World,” which looked at budding new inventions and technologies and predicted how they would change the way people lived. The YouTube clip below is from a 1967 episode and focuses on an early form of a home computer. It’s quite amusing, naturally, with hindsight; it resembles a Flintstones version of a modern appliance. (How do you download a bit-torrent on that thing?) But I was struck in another way by the final words of the narrator in the segment:
But Rex Malik [the owner of the early home computer] sees a future world where children could be virtually educated by computer, where every home could have its own terminal, plugged into a central brain. And from the brain will come not only school lessons; he sees his son growing up in a world where eventually his very thoughts could be stored and perhaps assessed for his future use.
Sinister? Or just another way of describing Facebook and Twitter? Well, both, I suppose. (Although the man’s son must be about 50 years-old now, so at least he dodged growing up in such a world. Not so today’s youngsters …)