OK - I'll post some good news for Flint, Craig and Paul-yanna... - y2k officially is a bump in the road - the human species continues apace, there's gold in them thar planets :)

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Arthur C. Clarke - The greatest science fiction writer of our time with a record of predicting the future with uncanny accuracy offers his forecasts for the coming century. Man, he says, will land on Mars within 30 years, extra-terrestrial life will be detected soon after, and by 2095 space travel will be at the speed of light

Despite all claims to the contrary, no one can predict the future, and I have always resisted all attempts to label me a ''prophet,'' I prefer ''extrapolator.''

What I have tried to do, at least in my non-fiction, is outline possible ''futures'' at the same time pointing out that totally unexpected inventions or events can make any forecasts absurd after a very few years. The classic example is the statement in the late 1940s by the then chairman of IBM that the world market for computers was about five (or was it six?). I have more in my own office, and they are still breeding like rabbits.

But perhaps I'm in no position to criticise Thomas Watson Snr. In Transit of Earth (1971), I put the first Mars landings in 1994: now we'll be lucky if we make it by 2010. On the other hand, when Prelude to Space was published in 1951, I thought I was being widely optimistic by suggesting a moon mission in 1978. Neil and Buzz beat me by almost a decade.

Still, I take a modest pride in the fact that communications satellites are placed exactly where I suggested in 1945, and that the name `Clarke Orbit' is now often used, if only because it's easier to say than ``geostationary orbit.'' And the chapter `The Century Syndrome' in my 1990 novel The Ghost from the Grand Banks, may well have been the first account, outside the technical literature, of the now-dreaded Millennium Bug its cause and its cure.

Even so, the chronology that follows should be given with a ``Health Warning.'' Some of the events listed (particularly the space missions) are already scheduled, and will occur on the actual dates given, I believe all the other events could happen, although several, I hope, will not.

In spite of the temptation, I have omitted many interesting and all-too-possible disasters, because optimism about the future is always desirable; it may help to create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Check me for accuracy - on December 31, 2100.

2001 Jan 1: Next Millennium and Century began.

Cassini spaceprobe (launched October 1997: arrived Saturn July 200) begins exploration of the planet's moons and rings.

Galileo probe (launched October 1989) continues surveying Jupiter and its moons. Life beneath the ice-covered oceans of Europa appears increasingly likely.

2002 The first commercial device producing clean, safe power by low-temperature nuclear reactions goes on to market, heralding the end of the Fossil-Fuel Age. Economic and geopolitical earthquakes follow, and for their discovery of so-called ``Cold Fusion`` in 1989, given five years to replace all fuel-burning engines by the new energy device.

The same year, Nasa's robot Mars Surveyor (carrying Lander and Rover) is launched.

2004 First (publicly admitted) human clone.

2005 First sample launched back to Earth by mars Surveyor.

2006 Last coal mine closed.

2007 Nasa Next generation Space Telescope (successor to the Hubble) launched.

2008 On his 80th birthday July 28, the film director Stanley Kubrick, who made '2001: A Space Odyssey' receives a special Oscar for Lifetime Achievement.

2009 A city in a Third World country is devastated by the accidental explosion of an A-bomb in its armoury. After a brief debate in the UN, all nuclear weapons are destroyed.

2010 The first Quantum Generators (tapping space energy) are developed. Available in portable and household units from a few kilowatts upwards, they can produce electricity indefinitely. Central power stations close down; the age of pylkons ends as grid systems are dismantled.

In spite of ``Big Brother!`` protests, electronic monitoring virtually removes professional criminals from society.

2011 Largest living animal filmed: a 75-metre octopus in the Mariana Trench.

By a curious coincidence, later that same year even larger marine creatures are discovered when the first robot probes drill through the ice of Europa, and an entire now biota is revealed.

2012 Aerospace-planes enter service. The history of space travel has repeated that of aeronautics, although more slowly, because the technical problems are so much greater. From Gagarin to commercial space flight has taken twice as long as from the Wright Brothers to the DC3.

2013 Despite the understandable apprehensions of the Palace, Prince Harry becomes the first member of the Royal family to fly into space.

2014 Construction of Hilton Orbiter Hotel begins, by assembling and converting the giant Shuttle tanks which had previously been allowed to fall back to Earth.

2015 An inevitable by-product of the Quantum Generator is complete control of matters at the atomic level. Thus the old dream of alchemy is realised on a commercial scale, often with surprising results. Within a few years, since they are more useful, lead and copper cost twice as much as gold.

2016 All existing currencies are abolished. The mega-watt-hour becomes the unit of exchange.

2017 December 16. On his 100th birthday, Sir Arthur C. Clarke is one of the first guests in the Hilton Orbiter.

2019 A major meteor impact occurs on the North Polar icecap. There is no loss of human life, but the resulting tsunamis cause considerable damage along the coasts of Greenland and Canada. The long-discussed ``Project Spaceguard,'' to identify and deflect any potentially dangerous comets or asteroids, is finally activated.2020 Artificial Intelligence (AI) reaches the human level. From now onwards there are two intelligent spaces on Planet Earth, one evolving far more rapidly than biology would ever permit. Interstellar probes carrying A1s are launched towards the nearest stars.

2021 The first humans land on Mars, and have some unpleasant surprises.

2023 Dinosaur fascimiles are cloned from computer-generated DNA. Disney's ``Triassic Zoo`` opens in Florida. Despite some unfortunate initial accidents, mini-raptors start replacing guard-dogs.

2024 Infra-red signals are detected coming from the centre of the Galaxy. They are obviously the product of a technologically advanced civilisation, but all attempts to decipher them fail.

2025 Neurological research finally leads to an understanding of all the senses, and direct inputs become possible, by-passing eyes, ears, skin etc. The inevitability result is the metal `Braincap' of which the 20th century's Walkman was a primitive precursor.

Anyone wearing this helmet, fitting tightly over the skull, can enter a whole universe of experience, real or imaginary and even merge in real-time with other minds.

Apart from its use for entertainment and vicarious adventure, the Braincap is a boon to doctors, who can now experience their patients' symptoms (suitably attenuated). It also revolutionises the legal profession; deliberately lying is impossible.

As the Braincap can only function properly on a completely bald head, wig-making becomes a major industry.

2040 The `Universal Replicator,' based on nano-technology, is perfected; any object, however complex, can be created - given the necessary raw material and the appropriate information matrix. Diamonds or gourmet meals, can literally, be made from dirt.

As a result, agriculture and industry are phased out, ending that recent invention in human history work! There is an explosion in arts, entertainment and education.

Hunter-gathering societies are deliberately recreated; huge areas of the planet, no longer needed for food production, are allowed to revert to their original state. Young people can now discharge their aggressive instincts by using cross-bows to stalk bit game, which is robotic and frequently dangerous.

2045 The totally self-contained, recycling, mobile home (envisaged almost a century earlier by Buckminster Fuller) is perfected. Any additional carbon needed for food synthesis is obtained by extracting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

2050 `Escape from Utopia'. Bored by lie in this peaceful and unexciting era, millions decided to use cryonic suspension to emigrate into the future in search of adventure. Vast `hibernacula' are established in the Antarctic, and in the regions of perpetual night at the lunar poles.

2057 October 4. Centennial of Sputnik 1. The dawn of the space age is celebrated by humans not only on Earth, but on the Moon, Mars, Europa, Ganymede and Titan and on orbit round Venus, Neptune and Pluto.

2061 The return of Halley's Comet; first-landing on nucleus by humans. The sensational discovery of both dormant and active life-forms vindicates Hoyle and Wickramasinghe's century-old hypothesis that life is omni-present throughout space.

2090 Large-scale burning of fossil fuels is resumed to replace the carbon dioxide `mined' from the air and, hopefully, to postpone the next Ice Age by promoting global warming.

2095 The development of a true `Space Drive' - a propulsion system reacting against the structure of spacetime makes the rocket obsolete and permits velocities close to that of light. The first human explorers set off to nearby star systems that robot probes have already found promising.

2100 History begins ...

['Course old Art could be wrong, dead wrong... Andy] Link at

Source: The Irish Independent From Gerry Lovell 3-2-99

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), March 03, 1999


Since "no one can predict the future," Mr. Arthur C. Clarke should keep silent. I don't give a rats ass about what someone says will, could, perhaps, maybe happen in the future. I'm planning for me and my family if Y2K is a disaster.....everything else is mute at this point. Since I won't be around to see half of his predictions come true, and many of you won't be here either, it's really a mute point. But thanks for the "good news" Andy, you did good.

-- WhoCares? (Whocares?@whocares?.com), March 03, 1999.

I think Artie's been toking on that Sri Lankan Silly Sens. this time. His glaucoma must have been flaring up big-time. Wow! I always wondered why he lived over there. Now I know. No drug laws! Yowee. Let's do a fire walk.

-- Puddintame (dit@dot.com), March 03, 1999.


Thanks for the post. I hadn't read it in a while. Clarke is one of my favorites. But as you might guess Heinlein is No.1. He was the original member of the COFL (Crusty Old Farts League) to which I have only lately become a member.

One must observe, however, that all the "good news" does appear on the far side of a rather broad, dark expanse that we all have to ger over first.

-- Greybear

- My fav: Always put you weapons and clothes where you can find them in the dark.

or maybe: Always cut the cards.

-- Greybear (greybear@hoem.com), March 03, 1999.

Greybear, what's Laz and Lor up to these days? (Actually, I think I prefer Hilda). Lobo

-- Lobo (Hiding@woods.com), March 04, 1999.

I prefer Heinlein, but Clarke and Asimov are great too.

Big non-sequitar. 2010 "free" energy machines developed. 2016 the megawatt-hour becomes the currancy. Big error there. That'ld be like saying that dollar bills from a Xerox copier are as good as legal tender.

Fun romp Andy.

-- Ken Seger (kenseger@earthlink.net), March 04, 1999.

Interested in sound bites from "2001"? Try this link...


-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), March 04, 1999.

Arthur C. Clarke also talked about Y2K in a 1990 novel called "The Ghost from the Grand Banks". Here's a brief description...



When did the Year 2000 problem become widely known?

3.12 In my view, this is an important practical and legal question. As noted in the Introduction there is now a massive and rapidly increasing literature on the Year 2000 problem. This was not the case before 1996 although the problem has been known since at least the 1970's. For example, Arthur C. Clarke in "The Ghost from the Grand Banks" (Orbit 1990) devoted Chapter 4 to "The Century Syndrome", the Year 2000 problem.


-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), March 04, 1999.

Science Fiction authors have punted on Y2K, to my great disgust. (I've read several thousand sf books over the past 40 years.)

Some in the SF community used to try to legitimize it by presenting the authors as far-seers who would help us deal with future shock by writing books extrapolating current trends. This type of SF now accounts for maybe 5% of the total. Since the Challenger accident, more and more people prefer fantasy, for escapism or to explore 'the eternal verities of human existence'.

Still, I would have expected serious treatments of Y2K starting 5 years ago. The 'fen' could have gotten off their butts and promoted Y2K awareness, etc. Perhaps in a parallel universe. But in this one,

"Pass me another DWGI- this one's split."

-AF (Apologies to Mary Gentle. OK, so I read a little fantasy too)

-- Ah Fhen (th@tsnice.com), March 05, 1999.

>2008 On his 80th birthday July 28, the film director Stanley Kubrick, who made '2001: A Space Odyssey' receives a special Oscar for Lifetime Achievement.

>['Course old Art could be wrong, dead wrong... Andy]

You called it, Andy. Dead wrong, already.

-- No Spam Please (No_Spam_Please@anon_ymous.com), March 08, 1999.

rotflmao!!! He'd have loved it. Pretty sad he karked it though.

-- humpty (no.6@thevillage.com), March 08, 1999.

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