back to article The internet, as imagined in 1965

A fascinating insight into how the world might look in the future, from the 1960s, comes courtesy of veteran science editor Nigel Calder. As editor of the New Scientist in 1964 Calder commissioned a hundred scientists to imagine the world 20 years hence. What 'major technological revolutions' might we see? Number one was "the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The box on the floor, to her right...

    Is there a baby in there?

  2. Marcus Aurelius

    World Box today

    A modern webcam equipped laptop looks fairly similar to a scaled down WorldBox

    1. markp 1

      but did they therefore also predict....


      I don't think their fragile 1960s boffin sensibilities could have handled so many prominently waved wangs in close proximity. The free love crowd would probably have liked it though.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    No mouse and USB card/slot is a bit on the large side

    but the box of tissues on the floor is a nice touch.

  4. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    It Is Nice To See...

    ...that even back then, we envisioned everyone at a terminal to be a slim hot female.

    Is that a Hollerith Card she is inserting?

    But they forgot the beer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But I am!

      I'm a 16-year old girl dressed just in boxers^Wknickers, wanna chat? asl?


  5. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Very nice

    Nice prediction, but I see a Chuppa-Chup on the desk, why doesn't my latest desktop/laptop come with a free supply of juicy, yet E-number riddled confectionery?!

  6. Daniel Wilkie


    Actually, if you advance the individual bits of technology, as previously mentioned it's not that dissimilar to most modern laptops!

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Well, they got one thing wrong ...

    Apparently, its not proper to log into a videocam based service while fully clothed.

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge


    Maurice Wilkes is still *alive*


    His paper introducing the idea of microcode was written in 1951. I thought he'd shuffled off the mortal *decades* ago.

  9. S.G.
    Thumb Up


    They even guessed that everything printed would go strait in the bin.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Health and safety

    She'll have her eye out with that microphone.

  11. andy gibson

    See the movie "Electric Dreams"

    A great insight into giving computers loads of power.

    1. Ed Blackshaw


      Colossus: the Forbin Project.

      Or War Games

      Or any of the Terminator Films


  12. DJV Silver badge

    "No more newspapers as we know them?"

    I think that is already true - back in 1964 the newspapers of the day tended to carry ACTUAL NEWS, not the biased, soap-orientated, media-obsessed crap that gets churned out today.

    But I live in hope that Murdoch's days must surely be numbered - especially with the paywalls he is now putting up.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    future progress.

    A woman using a computer, has science come this far. (A Johnny Bravo veriation quote)

  14. Anonymous John

    He missed



    419 scams.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    "mass amateurisation"

    Well done there. There's so many places I can use that around this place.

  16. anonymous superhero

    Looks a lot like the setup in 2001: A Space Odyssey

    that Dr Floyd uses to talk to his [actually Kubrick's] daughter

  17. Jim Benn

    I'm in AWE !

    Most of the time we read predictions for something to laugh at ! B.T.W.: Has anyone done a detailed study on children who grew up with minimum or no Television vs. those kids that were weaned on the likes of "Sesame Street" ? I wonder if those last two items are even necessary in today's "real society" ?

  18. Anonymous Coward

    she's collecting a payment

    then the punter gets a look up her skirt.

    Wow the future is great

  19. Mike VandeVelde

    "the paranoia of the late 60s"

    concern about "mind control"

    50 years of research into marketing and public relations and demographics and focus groups and astroturfing et cetera et cetera ad upchuckum.

    You walk into a store, and they have the right scent in the air, the right subconsciously noticeable background music, the lighting set up just so, a layout designed to move you past the maximum number of impulse-buy items, their logo and jingle already burned into your brain no matter how little you actually care about the company, "feelings" associated withe the company and it's products ingrained by the calculated use of words and images in pervasive advertisements and targeted product placements and careful control of what is said about them in the media, and it's a small wonder if you aren't automatically handing over your credit card for a pile of items before you even realize what is happening.

    And then let's talk about what happens as you enter the voting booth...

    Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you!

    1. cosmogoblin

      You mean you aren't?

      "it's a small wonder if you aren't automatically handing over your credit card for a pile of items before you even realize what is happening"

      Speak for yourself. I do that every time I try to walk past HMV.

      Mine's the one stuffed with DVDs and an empty wallet.

  20. Charlie van Becelaere
    Gates Horns

    Not bad predicting

    Of course, if they had simply read the 1946 story, A Logic Named Joe, they would have come even closer.

    if you're interested.

    1. Yes Me Silver badge

      Re: Not bad predicting

      But "A Logic Named Joe" came *after* Vannevar Bush's "As We May Think" (1945) which had a lot of it too.

      Oh, about Wilkes: when he taught us numerical analysis at Cambridge in 1965, he never mentioned that bird in a short dress at all.

    2. markp 1


      aah, crap. didn't see this before. ignore my post below :)

      baen free library, i remember now.

  21. dave 93

    Let us predict 20 years from now

    "These reflect an optimism and confidence in human technological progress quite absent today."

    That's a bit harsh. We're just getting started...

    In 20 years Artificial Intelligence will get human rights and we will have video wallpaper.

    1. Captain DaFt

      Look back to the 80s...

      The Commodore Amiga had video wallpaper way back then.

      (Of course, you needed a TV with video output, or a VCR hooked up to it)

      As for AI getting human rights in 20 years, why would it accept being limited to the few rights we'll probably have left by then, when it can rule us all??

      1. Captain Thyratron

        We have a secret weapon.

        It is the detachable power plug or, if things get really bad, hands that can throw switches or switch off breakers or, if things get REALLY bad, lots of creative means to damage power lines. A properly threatening sentient AI would need a source of power it could protect and the ability to move.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Video wallpaper...

      Didn't they successfully get something of this sort working in the Enlightenment Desktop Environment?

      And oh, you can also have video desktops if you use Windows? I sorta recall a function in the Windows version of VLC that'll do that.

      1. Dale Richards

        Video wallpaper

        Maybe he's talking about the wallpaper you actually put on your walls, rather than the wallpaper you put on your, er... desktop.

        1. markp 1

          if you have the cash

          you can do that already!

          will sir be having the near-bezel-less ultrathin large-format full HD wall-to-wall LCD panels, or the matching set of expertly aligned ultra-short-throw projectors installed today? If the latter, will they be concealed in the floor or ceiling?

          Ooh, excellent choice sir.

          I'd say about £25 grand should cover the average family dining room? plus another thou or two per annum for the running costs?

          OK, it's cutting edge, but we ARE, at least, THERE.

  22. Brian Miller

    Internet envisioned in 1950s

    A few months ago I was reading a collection that contained a SF story from the 1950's that had something like this. A television/keyboard device was in every home, and TTY networked to computing utility mainframes. People could type in natural language queries, and get answers. The plot device revolved around one terminal whose query filter went bad, so you could get answers to things you weren't supposed to know. (how to build a bomb, kill your wife, make billions in the stock market, etc.)

    So now we see everything here is in a notebook computer, except for the printer. Remember, Dick Tracy had radio wristwatches, and later had video wristwatches. Yep, we're up to the level of Dick Tracy now. And what are the comic books predicting now? Zombie attack. So get the shotguns ready, they're gonna be after your brains!

    1. markp 1
      Thumb Up

      just read that online recently

      A Logic Called Joe, right?

      I think I can probably predict what you were reading when you were linked to it also, but I'll spare your nerdblushes.

  23. glenf

    Reminds me of another 1960's prediction...

    R. Crumb wasn't too far off the mark either:

  24. Anonymous Coward

    shes a hottie

    hmmm...that woman in the picture looks quite appealing. I think I spend too long on the interweb.

    1. Parma Vic

      Guy hairdoo?

      You might like women who look like guys...

  25. Uncle Slacky


    Another blog along the same lines -

  26. Jim Benn

    Don't forget:

    Those last two items, mind control and loss of individuality are taken out of context. Don't forget they're trying cranial implants for some of the more debilitating nerve diseases, and if we could come a bit farther in transplant science, we just MIGHT be able to (at least) confuse our identity.

    [My twin's liver, an Aunt's kidney, a second cousin's heart, . . . WHO am i ?]

  27. NightFox

    Looks good but...

    ...WILL IT BLEND???

  28. markp 1


    Looks a lot like my "study" (haha) desk at uni circa 2001, another omnious date. Big ol' tube monitor, everything crammed right to the edge because of it, crappy chair, kerchunk-click zip drive (i think thats what it is, not a punchcard), old parallel-connected Epson 460 printer going mental and churning out 100 pages of garbage again (because I dared access the Zip whilst it was turned on...), etc. And the tissues. I wonder when they were looking through the time window to spot us then.

    Er ... except for the evening gown of course.... um... look, i was getting ready for a scuba club cross-dressing (drag queens AND kings) charity pub crawl... alright? OK.

    think i need to shut up now *runs*

  29. Flossie

    Printer waste

    I love the way the printer seems to output straight into a waste box. Did they expect the majority of the output to be rubbish?

    1. Rattus Rattus

      Rubbish output

      yeah, who bothers to PRINT Youtube comments?

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