HEY! YOU THERE fiddling with that video phone—Maclean’s saw you coming half a century ago. In a 1955 article titled “What Science Will Do to Us,” writer Fred Bodsworth predicted that by 2005 telephones would be wireless affairs with video screens, and TVs would be flat enough to hang on the wall. Of course, he also predicted that there’d be a helicopter/car hybrid vehicle in every well-heeled commuter’s garage, and we’d all be eating off plastic plates that would “dissolve in hot water and run down the drain.” Throughout its first century, Maclean’s has reported on emerging technologies and predicted the shape of things to come-often sounding a little dubious about it all. (In 1922, the magazine published a piece titled “What Will Radio Do to Us?”.) Once the stuff of science fiction, computers by the 1960s were increasingly ubiquitous, but not always
impressive. A 1967 article, written when computer dating involved having one’s vital statistics stored on punch cards rather than chatting online, noted that a young man who tried out the University of Toronto’s new “cupid computer” got matched up with his sister.
Some innovations attempted to improve on nature. Take “shell-less eggs,” a product of 1956. Encasing deshelled eggs in clear, square, ice cube tray-like compartments was supposed to stop breakage and extend freshness. And how’s this for a sales pitch: according to the photo caption, each egg compartment could be like a cigarette package.”
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