When Stanley Kubrick released his film ‘2000: A Space Odyssey’, the new millennium did look a lot different than what we experienced in reality. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, people had a completely different idea as to how the 2000s would be. Some thought that the world would be hyper-scientific- like William Gibson, in his Neuromancer, and Neal Stephenson, in his Snow Crash, while others thought that space travel would be a daily routine for individuals. Hence we see movies like Blade Runner, Ender’s Game, Ready Player One, and Divergent. The imaginative powers of the people during the middle of the 20th century envisioned what the year 2000 would look like- something that might not be a possibility until the next century- i.e., the year 2100.
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People In the 1960s Had A Bleak View Of What The Year 2000 Would Look Like
Needless to say, there weren’t just authors, scientists, and philosophers who believed that the world would be transhumanist in nature- it trickled down to kids as well, who considered the new millennium to be paradise- or hell, depending on their outlook. When kids from Marlborough College, Roedean, and Chippenham schools were asked about what the year 2000 would look like, they had some really interesting, albeit wild possibilities. One kid said, “Well in the year 2000, I think I’ll probably be in a spaceship to the moon dictating robots to robots, or else I may be in charge of a robot court judging some robots. I may also be at a funeral of a computer or, if something’s gone wrong with the nuclear bombs, I may come back from hunting in the cave.” The first line should remind one of Kubrick’s movie, where the astronauts dictate information to HAL 9000.
Another kid expressed her apprehension at what the year 2000 would look like. She mentioned, “I don’t like the idea of sort of getting out and finding you’ve got a cabbage pill to eat for breakfast or something.” What seemed to be really wild was the imagination of the next kid, who likened the new millennium to abject dystopia. The child said, “Oh I think all these atomic bombs will be dropping around the place. One will get near the center because it will sort of make a huge great big crater and then our world will become one vast atomic explosion and it will become like a supernova of stars.”
Another kid also had a few theories about the year 2000- which were quite bleak- “Some madmen will get the atomic bomb and blow the world into oblivion”, while a worried child lamented, “There’s nothing you can do to stop it. More people get bombs, the more, well, somebody’s going to use it one day.” The general feeling seemed to be one of utter melancholy and terror of the unknown future. A kid did put it quite succinctly- “I don’t think there is going to be atomic warfare but I think there is going to be all this automation. People are going to be out of work and a great population and I think something has to be done about it. If I wasn’t a biologist that’s what I would like to do- to do something about the population problem and sort of temper it somehow- I don’t know how.”
Fortunately, the kids’ fears about what the year 2000 would look like haven’t been realized yet. Sure, there are a few problems, but we still haven’t been hit by nuclear warfare, and the automation seems to be under control- as of yet.