This Man Said He Traveled To The Year 2749 – And He Made Some Disturbing Claims About The Future

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At the height of World War II, brothers Al Bielek and Duncan Cameron were drafted into a very important government mission. Sat aboard the USS Eldridge while docked at Philadelphia, the two had to monitor the test of a new scientific invention. But by some freak occurrence, the pair went on a journey beyond anyone’s wildest imagination.

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Now, one of the most prevailing ideas in speculative fiction is that of time travel. In 1895, H.G. Wells released The Time Machine, which detailed a Victorian inventor’s quest into the 802nd century. Since then, humanity has been obsessed with whether the idea of traversing time, and witnessing what our future holds, is possible.

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While the majority of people see time travel as science fiction, some have claimed that it could become a reality. For instance, the late physicist Stephen Hawking speculated that it could be possible someday for man to travel through time. However, there are those who claim that these journeys have actually already happened.

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By most accounts, Al Bielek was an unusual child. Apparently born in 1927, the boy could recite amazing knowledge in school which led to the nickname “walking encyclopedia.” Moreover, he reportedly had genius levels of recollection. For instance, he claimed to remember and understand a conversation overheard at the age of nine months.

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And yet the most remarkable aspect of Bielek didn’t come forward until after his 60th birthday. Yes, in 1988 he watched a film named the The Philadelphia Experiment. Originally released in 1984, the Stewart Raffill directed sci-fi began on the decks of the USS Eldridge in the Second World War.

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Wishing to hide their ships, U.S. Navy officials concoct a device to make them invisible to radar. Watching the film unfold, Bielek saw scientists test a device on the Eldridge. However, the contraption worked too well. Rather than taking the ship out of sight, the experiment had instead transported its crew to the future of 1984.

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Based on an urban legend, The Philadelphia Experiment was a fantastical tale for most who saw it. And even its original writer John Carpenter admitted the story was “absolute bulls***” in a 2016 chat with Justin Beahm. But for Bielek, there was something about the film that ran uncomfortably close to real life.

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For months after viewing The Philadelphia Experiment, Bielek had flashbacks to something akin to what he’d seen on-screen. Before his very eyes – he claimed – appeared visions of shady government experiments and encounters too vivid to be imagined. Was Bielek losing his mind, or were the sights he was seeing genuine?

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Racked with uncertainty, Bielek searched for ways to unlock the “secrets” embedded in his mind. And by undergoing different New Age treatments, the amnesiac found a host of long-buried memories returning to him. Weirdly, piece by piece, Bielek began to unravel a supposed truth not only about himself, but about the space-time continuum.

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Initially, perhaps the most shocking revelation to Bielek was that Bielek apparently wasn’t his real name at all. As he came to believe, he was actually born Edward Cameron in 1916. Furthermore, the people he’d come to know as his parents were only legal guardians assigned to raise him by government officials. In regards to his real family, Bielek had a biological brother named Duncan whom he was now separated from. Make sense so far? Well, let’s continue.

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So the Philadelphia Experiment – as Bielek claimed – was completely real and he had been a part of it. Following his revelation, the conspiracy theorist took time piecing together the fragments of his shattered past. Then at a 1990 Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) conference in Texas, Bielek came forward with what he believed was the truth.

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Standing in front of the audience that day, Bielek stated that he was “a survivor of the Philadelphia Experiment.” Both he and his brother enlisted in the project during World War II, although it had began around 1931, reportedly. And they were both onboard the USS Eldridge, he insisted, when tests were carried out in 1943.

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According to Bielek, the project – which was intended to hide U.S. ships from Nazi U-boats – involved some great minds. Of note, the scientists included: John Hutchinson; John von Neumann; Nikola Tesla. But ultimately, the group would allegedly create something more revolutionary than invisibility.

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By 1940, the team reportedly had already achieved some success with a smaller class of ship. And three years later, they were ready to try it on a larger vessel – the USS Eldridge – in Philadelphia. Nevertheless, what was supposed to be the final test conducted on July 22nd encountered what Bielek called “a serious problem.”

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Returning after 15 minutes of invisibility, the ship was intact. However, its occupants were suffering from delirium and nausea. Despite von Neumann’s plea for more time, the Navy demanded another test the following month. And so, Bielek and Duncan braced themselves for a further go. But they didn’t realize it would end with a voyage into the unknown.

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When the switch was flipped, a flash of blinding blue light shone out, and the ship totally vanished. Four hours later, the Eldridge snapped back into existence, but with grotesque ramifications to its crew. When officials inspected the vessel, they found five sailors stuck in the ship’s metal flooring. And those lucky enough to be alive still had apparently gone insane. Moreover, Bielek and Duncan Cameron were nowhere to be found.

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What allegedly happened to the brothers is beyond most people’s comprehension. As soon as they realized something was wrong, Bielek and Duncan both jumped overboard. But instead of landing in the waters of Philadelphia in 1943, the pair hit the shore of Montauk, New York. And instead of being in the 1940s, they were actually now in 1983 – 40 years after their experiment was conducted.

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As soon as the brothers materialized on the shore, they were swarmed by guards and patrol helicopters. And after being led into a complex, the pair arrived at an underground level where they met an elderly man. Remarkably, the individual introduced himself as John von Neumann – the person who’d apparently sent them through time 40 years before.

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Subsequently, von Neumann attempted to explain to the brothers the reality of their situation, according to Bielek. At this point in time, the pair were on the grounds of the Phoenix project – a secret government program aimed at harnessing time travel. There, scientists had somehow connected with the energy from the Philadelphia Experiment creating “a hole in hyperspace… which sucked the Eldridge in.”

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That wasn’t the worst of the pair’s problems, though. For you see, the Eldridge was still stuck inside a continually expanding “hyperspace bubble”, claimed Bielek. And its growth could eventually even destroy the Earth. In order to stop its spread, then, someone had to return to the ship and destroy the equipment onboard. And Bielek and Duncan, it seemed, were the men for the job.

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So for the greater good, the brothers accepted the mission. And soon after, they were sent through the fabric of space and time once more. “There is a slight feeling when you are going through space-time,” Bielek told Paola Harris in 2005. “The first trip you make can be quite nauseating and after that you sort of get used to it.”

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Back on the deck of the USS Eldridge, Bielek and Duncan set about completing the assignment at hand. Using axes, the two demolished the generators and circuitry central to the vessel’s unlinking in time and space. Soon, the ship began to stabilize. For the rift in space and time began to contract. And the Eldridge returned once again to 1943.

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So far, Bielek’s fantastical testimony could harness incredulity in some. Of particular note, an electrician named Edward Dudgeon, who worked on the Philadelphia Experiment, asserted that no time travel took place. In fact, the generators, he said, were onboard the Eldridge to make the ship invisible to radar only, not physically invisible.

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But for those still tuned into the self-proclaimed time traveler’s account, the story was about to get wilder. In the year 2000 – a decade after MUFON – Bielek elaborated on his and Duncan Cameron’s return to the Eldridge. And what he described was staggering beyond belief. On that note, let’s find out more.

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Well, waking up in a hospital bed, Bielek recalled being in an unfamiliar place. To his side lay his brother Duncan. And in front of him was a television set. As Bielek would come to learn, this wasn’t the world of 1943, nor had they returned to 1983. Rather, they were in the distant future of 2137. Confused? No? Then, let’s continue.

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As the story goes, through some freak occurrence, the pair had once again traveled through hyperspace. As a result, they required medical treatment for radiation burns inflicted on their journey. All in all, the brothers spent six weeks in this medical facility of the future. Nevertheless, they learned a lot about the world of 2137 from inside its walls.

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First of all, Bielek noticed an immediate change in the Earth’s medical equipment. Instead of gauze and medicine, ultra-advanced light and vibrational energy was used to heal the sick. Furthermore, television stations of the future only broadcast news, history and geography shows. “I don’t recall there was a single [soap opera] on the air,” Bielek remembered.

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While watching these programs, Bielek realized that serious geographical changes had happened to the Earth. Between the years 2000 and 2025 – he claimed – the United States had lost parts of its landmass. Most severely hit was the Southern part of the country: Atlanta was now near the coast and Florida was gone save for its panhandle.

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But the changes to the world didn’t stop at a geographical level. Indeed, the United States – which was now under military rule – had long ceased to exist as a nation state. Moreover, the globe’s population had decreased by an alarming number. As Bielek alleged, there were only 300 million people left on Earth in the 22nd century. That’s a drastic reduction from the 7.7 billion we have around the world today.

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Now, the reason for this – Bielek argued – was due to a global conflict in the early 21st century. In the ensuing war between Eastern and Western forces, entire cities were decimated, and centralized governments became no more. Meanwhile, radioactive contamination left over from these battles was creating severe problems for the conflict’s survivors.

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At this point in the story, Bielek had reportedly journeyed between two entire centuries. And yet the time traveler’s voyage was still far from over. After spending time recuperating in the 22nd century, Bielek once again inexplicably shot forward to another point in the Earth’s existence. Yes, if you can believe it, he found himself in the distant future of 2749.

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Oddly, Bielek could not account for why he alone was thrust even further through time. Although, happily, the world he reported was far more Elysian than the one he’d just left. Since becoming devastated by nuclear war, civilization had recovered to an incredible degree. Now 60 years on, society had rebuilt itself into a utopia.

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In the 28th century, Bielek claimed, humanity had made significant advances in technology and had mastered the mechanics of anti-gravity. Remembering his journey, he described seeing two-and-a-half mile high floating cities suspended on platforms. Untethered from the ground, these metropolises could travel the surface of the planet just as freely as a Jumbo jet.

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Astonishingly, he said, mankind’s fate was no longer in human hands. Instead of governing themselves, each city had its own artificial intelligence which governed the day to day needs of its inhabitants. As a result, things we view today as a necessity – like money or labor – were made completely immaterial, apparently.

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In Bielek’s own words, the world of tomorrow was deeply socially conscious. To this end, wars had become obsolete because countries had disbanded their armed forces. Moreover, there were no funds to fight over either. After eliminating the need for money, this future civilization worked on a credit system, which provided everyone with enough to get by. Sounds too good to be true, perhaps.

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All in all, Bielek claimed he spent two years living in the 28th century. Then – just as mysteriously as he had appeared – the voyager traveled back to the year 2137. And upon reuniting with his brother, Bielek returned through the hyperspace wormhole that they came through. But just when you thought the story couldn’t get any weirder, well, it did.

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Because although Bielek found himself unharmed in Montauk in 1983, his brother wasn’t so lucky. Due to a freak occurrence brought on by time travel, Duncan began to age phenomenally fast and died soon afterward. In an effort to save his brother’s consciousness, though, Bielek persuaded his parents to conceive another child. And, wait for it – the child received Duncan Cameron’s thoughts and memories, said Bielek.

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After his journey between centuries, Bielek claimed that he remained on the Montauk Project, working with von Neumann on time travel. But they weren’t alone – they also had the reincarnated Duncan’s psychic abilities. But soon, allegedly, the military became spooked by what Bielek had witnessed of the future. Consequently, the decision was made to de-age him, delete his memories and transport him to 1927 under a new persona. As you do.

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Of course, whether or not Bielek’s version of events can be believed is really up to the individual. However, it’s fair to say that even the most gullible of us would have problems accepting his account at face value. Crucially, in the 75 years since the Philadelphia Experiment supposedly took place, the U.S. Navy has never confirmed its existence. But for conspiracy theorists, who back Bielek, that behaviour would be typical of any authority. On the contrary, some of his predictions for the future have already failed to materialize.

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So whatever happened on that day in 1943, it seems that we may never know the entire truth. For in 2007, Bielek passed away from a stroke leaving many questions unanswered about the Philadelphia Experiment and Project Phoenix. But if his claims about the future are anywhere near true, we can be sure of a brave world before us.

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But Bielek is far from the only person to have made outlandish claims about what the future will hold. For instance, Isaac Asimov – widely regarded as one of the best science fiction writers to have lived – dreamed up in 1983 what would happen 19 years after the turn of the millennium. And eerily, a number of his bizarre predictions actually came true.

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As the year 1984 approached, Asimov was invited to take part in a unique project. Thirty-five years earlier, you see, George Orwell’s 1984 had predicted that the ’80s would take place in a dystopian landscape. So Asimov was tasked with imagining what the world might be like in 2019 – and some of his visions still ring terrifyingly true.

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Born in the Russian region of Smolensk Oblast in 1920, Asimov emigrated to America with his family at the age of three. Then, some three years after they’d arrived, his parents purchased a little candy store. The family would buy and sell at least three more candy stores, too, and it was reportedly the newspapers stocked in these establishments that kickstarted Asimov’s love of writing.

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Yet the future writer’s early adventures in studying didn’t officially involve the creative arts. After attending public schools, in fact, Asimov earned a scholarship to Seth Low Junior College, an offshoot of New York’s Columbia University. And there, he began studying zoology – although a gruesome dissection soon inspired him to switch to chemistry. Asimov even completed a Ph.D. in 1948 in the latter subject.

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In the late 1930s, though, Asimov had also begun penning short sci-fi stories. And in March of 1939, the American magazine Amazing Stories agreed to publish one of his tales: Marooned Off Vesta. This was Asimov’s first published piece and earned him the equivalent of over $1,000 in today’s money. Yet it would still be a while before writing would become his full-time career.

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Over the years, though, Asimov penned many more short stories. In 1941, for instance, the author wrote what many consider his first classic: Nightfall, the story of a planet that is suddenly consumed by darkness. And with its publication, Asimov enjoyed a newfound kudos within the world of science fiction. However, he still could not pay his bills through writing alone.

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In 1942, then, Asimov began working at Philadelphia’s Navy Yard as a civilian chemist – a role that came with a decent salary. And with this financial stability, the writer was able to marry his girlfriend, Gertrude, and begin planning a family. Yet even though Asimov continued to earn money through his stories, he still didn’t believe that writing was a feasible career path.

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So in 1949 Asimov took a job lecturing in biochemistry at the School of Medicine at Boston University. Yet the following year, the writer’s first novel, Pebble in the Sky, achieved publication. A science-fiction story, of course, this book would go on to form part of the Foundation saga, which is one of the author’s most famous works.

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And just two years after the publication of Pebble in the Sky, Asimov was making enough from his writing to no longer rely on his university career. He maintained close links with the college, however, and even stayed on as a lecturer after ending his research work. But he also continued to churn out novels and short stories at a prolific rate.

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By the time of his death in April 1992, in fact, Asimov had written over 500 books. And as well as writing science fiction, the author also gave us any number of fantasy, mystery and non-fiction works. Today, though, Asimov is best remembered for the Foundation saga as well as the I, Robot series, which inspired the popular Hollywood movie of the same name.

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And almost 100 years after Asimov’s birth, the author is still considered one of the greatest science-fiction writers of all time. Moreover, some of his concepts – such as the Three Laws of Robotics – still resonate through popular culture today. So what happened when one of the 20th century’s greatest minds was invited to speculate on the real future of planet Earth?

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Well, towards the end of 1983, staff at the Toronto Star came up with a unique idea to mark an important date in science fiction. Almost 35 years previously, you see, George Orwell had published his famous novel 1984. And in it, Orwell had painted a terrifying picture of an unjust, authoritarian future world.

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Today, though, it seems as if a frightening number of Orwell’s bleak predictions have come true. In the novel, for example, the Big Brother character represents a totalitarian government that is constantly surveilling the populace. While in the real world of 2018, Cambridge Analytica caused global outrage when it was revealed that it had unlawfully extracted data from 50 million Facebook users. And this era of fake news also arguably has plenty in common with the propaganda and “newspeak” depicted in 1984.

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As the 35th anniversary of Orwell’s novel approached in 1983, however, many of these developments were still in their infancy – or had not yet come to pass. Nevertheless, one editor decided to see what future predictions the era’s science-fiction writers might have in store. And so the Toronto Star’s Vian Ewart conceived of “an Orwell series” to mark the milestone year.

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And after putting together a small team, Ewart reached out to Asimov. At the time, the author had also recently returned to the Foundation series after a break of 30 years. So it perhaps seemed fitting that the Toronto Star editor invited the New York-based writer to pen an article predicting what the world might be like in another 35 years time – in the far-off year of 2019.

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“Asimov was popular at the time,” Ewart told the Toronto Star in 1983. “I simply phoned him at his New York home and asked him. He loved the idea of a 1984 series and was pleased to be the ‘lead-off writer.’ He was a very gracious man and charged one dollar a word.” Then, on New Year’s Eve 1983, the sci-fi author’s article appeared in print.

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So at the beginning of the piece, Asimov acknowledged the specter of nuclear war. And he also admitted that all of his predictions would be rendered obsolete should such a conflict occur. “If the United States and the Soviet Union flail away at each other at any time between now and 2019, there is absolutely no use to discussing what life will be like in that year,” he wrote.

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After addressing the potential scope of such a catastrophe, though, Asimov moved on to break his predictions into two categories: computerization and space utilization. And bizarrely, many of his thoughts on both these areas of human development have proved strangely accurate over the years.

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Back in 1983, you see, the world of computing was still very much in its infancy. In fact, that was the year Apple launched Lisa – the first commercial machine to feature a graphic user interface. The internet was also just a little-known innovation that was likely seldom talked about outside certain circles.

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Yet despite this environment, Asimov was still able to predict the future of computers with startling accuracy. In fact, he wrote that these machines would come to influence every aspect of our daily lives – a situation that most of us find ourselves in today. “Computerization will undoubtedly continue onward inevitably,” he wrote.

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Moreover, Asimov noted that those unable to keep up with the development of computers would find themselves at a disadvantage. “The growing complexity of society will make it impossible to do without them, except by courting chaos,” he wrote. “And those parts of the world that fall behind in this respect will suffer so obviously as a result that their ruling bodies will clamour for computerization as they now clamour for weapons.”

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Asimov also accurately predicted the effect that computerization would have on the jobs market. He noted that this technology would, in fact, lead to the creation of new, previously unheard of jobs, even as old roles in areas such as manufacturing and administration disappeared.

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“The jobs that will appear will, inevitably, involve the design, manufacture, installation, maintenance and repair of computers and robots and an understanding of whole new industries that these ‘intelligent’ machines will make possible,” Asimov wrote. And these days, companies such as Apple and Microsoft are among the biggest in the world. So it seems clear that at least some of the writer’s predictions have come true.

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Additionally, Asimov predicted that these changes would require a complete overhaul of our education system. A move that, he said, would be crucial to teaching individuals how to function in this new, hi-tech society. Asimov also appeared to foresee the divide between the Baby Boomers, with their late adoption of technology, and the Millennials of Generation Y.

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“The generation of the transition will be dying out. And there will be a new generation growing up who will have been educated into the new world,” Asimov wrote. The writer further predicted that by 2019 this change would be largely complete. And with 93 percent of Americans now viewing computers as a vital part of their working lives, according a CBT Nuggets poll, this again seems to have been an accurate prediction.

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Yet although the world of computers has indeed completely transformed since 1983, Asimov actually predicted that things would go even further. Specifically, he believed that by 2019 robots would be commonplace. “The mobile computerized object, or robot, is already flooding into industry and will, in the course of the next generation, penetrate the home,” the author wrote.

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Mind you, some might interpret Asimov’s “mobile computerized objects” as a reference to today’s cellular phones. But that not being the case, we are still a long way from regularly employing robots in our homes. Their threat to the workplace, though, remains just as the writer predicted. And once automation arrives on an even larger scale, we may indeed lose the “clerical and assembly-line jobs” that Asimov warned would disappear.

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Additionally, Asimov foresaw the important role that technology would come to play in education. His prediction that teachers would be all but redundant by 2019 has yet to be realized, though. But it’s true that computers are now integral in classrooms around the world. “There will be an opportunity for every youngster, and indeed, every person, to learn what he or she wants to learn in his or her own time,” he wrote.

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Elsewhere, Asimov accurately predicted that the global population would continue to rise. He erroneously believed, however, that by 2019 humanity would be actively working to reduce birth rates across the globe. The author also acknowledged that pollution would be an even bigger problem in the future. Sadly, though, his proposed solution has yet to become a reality.

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In the article, you see, Asimov predicted that technology would have reached a point where humans could begin to heal the environment. He even suggested that the shared experience of a changing world might bring about peace between nations – including those that had previously struggled to get along.

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“The world effort that must be invested in this and in generally easing the pains of the transition may, assuming the presence of a minimum level of sanity among the peoples of the world, again not a safe assumption, weaken in comparison [to] the causes that have fed the time-honored quarrels between, and within, nations over petty hatred and suspicions,” he wrote.

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But with climate change still an ever-pressing concern – and nationalism on the rise across the globe – it seems unlikely that this hopeful vision of the future will materialize any time soon. Similarly, some of Asimov’s predictions about space utilization seem extremely optimistic in the modern age.

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For example, Asimov predicted that by 2019 structures would be orbiting the planet, supplying power to the Earth. He also believed that these developments might be another key to global harmony. “The energy will be so necessary to all and so clearly deliverable only if the nations remain at peace and work together, that war would be simply unthinkable,” he wrote.

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Asimov also erroneously predicted that the colonization of space would have begun by 2019. In fact, he believed that the first off-world settlement “may perhaps be under actual construction.” But while large-scale human society has yet to expand beyond Earth, the launch of the International Space Station (ISS) in 1998 saw another of the author’s visions come true.

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“With the shuttle rocket as the vehicle, we will build a space station and lay the foundation for making space a permanent home for increasing numbers of human beings,” Asimov wrote. Since the year 2000, in fact, more than 200 people have embarked on missions to the ISS. Moreover, private ventures, such as Mars One, have brought the colonization of other planets closer to reality every year.

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But for all of Asimov’s accuracy, the writer failed to predict many of the future’s other advancements. The author, for example, didn’t spot just how significant artificial intelligence would become. In fact, some experts believe that this technology will soon completely transform how we live and work on planet Earth.

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But while the technology itself might be different, could the results be the same? In Asimov’s article, you see, he predicted that advances in computing and robotics would create a society capable of “running itself.” Therefore, humanity would be free to live “a life rich in leisure.” And with talk of a global basic income as a response to job automation, it’s possible that we are now closer to the author’s vision of the future than ever before.

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Interestingly, though, a life of leisure isn’t the only one of Asimov’s predictions that may yet come true. Elsewhere, in fact, he wrote that by 2019 humanity would have advanced to mining the moon for its raw materials. And while such a venture has yet to take place, there are plans to launch an expedition to extract lunar materials from the red planet in just six years time.

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Yet shockingly, the 1983 article wasn’t the first time that Asimov had predicted the future with alarming accuracy. In 1964, in fact, the science-fiction writer marked the New York World’s Fair by publishing an article that speculated on the world of 2014. And in it, Asimov appeared to foresee much of the technology that we have come to depend on today.

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Amazingly, you see, Asimov predicted that the humans of the future would be able to communicate easily through “sight-sound” devices. With these, he said, callers could see as well as listen to the person on the other end of the line – a goal resoundingly realized in the popular video chats of today. Elsewhere, he accurately foretold that regular televisions would be replaced by “wall screens.” And the author also foresaw that fake meat products created from plant matter would become commonplace.

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Today, then, Asimov’s predictions highlight how far we’ve come since 1983 – taking in the rise of the computer and the first permanent station in space. However, the writer’s optimistic visions of a future free from war and pollution have yet to be realized. But they should serve to remind us of just how much more we could achieve.

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