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What the future looked like way back when

By: Laura Moss on May 7, 2012, 1:22 p.m.
Illustration of a city street in the style of retro-futurism, including a suspension railway, train, and art deco-style buildings.

Photo: stock illustration/Shutterstock

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Back to the future

Decades ago, dreamers, scientists and futurologists envisioned life in the 21st century as something straight out of "The Jetsons." There would be flying cars, moon vacations, dinners in a pill and a variety of fashionable metallic jumpsuits. While many of the past predictions are humorous and wildly inaccurate, our ancestors did get some things right. In fact, about 40 percent of the 135 advanced technologies predicted in 1960 to become reality by 2010 by the Japan Science and Technology Agency are real technologies. Here, we'll take a look at what the past got right (cellphones and the Internet) and what they didn't (the intelligence pill and the four-hour workday).