It’s often difficult to illustrate the changes we’ve experienced over the last 100 years. Edward Cornish in his book Futuring: The Exploration of the Future does a great job listing some of the changes since 6 August 1945 (the day the Atomic Bomb was exploded over Hiroshima)

In his book he suggests that

“before the Atomic Bomb people assumed the world would ‘return to normal’, but after the bomb, they knew that things would never be the same again.”

Since 6 August 1945:

  • The world’s population has more than doubled
  • 100 new nations have appeared (there are now four times as many independent countries as there were in 1945)
  • Divorce was scandalous back then, now it’s quietly accepted
  • Segregation of race was acceptable in 1945, now it’s scandalous
  • Horse carts were delivering milk and ice cream to homes in New York City
  • Nobody had an air-conditioned home, a computer or a Television
  • Electricity and flushing toilets were a luxury for a few
  • Beyond large cities kerosene lamps were used for light
  • Only a few homes had telephones. Long distance calls weren’t often made because they were expensive
  • If someone died, the news would be sent by telegraph
  • Cars were scarce and there were no super-highways

Of course the point of all this is, that not only can we expect things to change, but we can expect them to change dramatically in shorter and shorter periods of time. If the future world we’re heading towards can be predicted, we certainly should invest time and resource in that pursuit.