Thoughts on 1999 A.D

This week, one of our thesis readings included watching a short film titled 1999 A.D by Philco-Ford Corporation. The film demonstrates the the inevitable advances of technology and how a modern American nuclear family would look like in future.


In my opinion, the film did a fairly good job of anticipating some ways in which technology might be used in daily life more than three decades in the future. Concepts such as “fingertip shopping,” an “electronic correspondence machine,” and others envisioned in this video anticipate several innovations that became part of an average American household in the early 21st century. What’s strikes to me, is that, although these concepts became familiar but the form in which they are shown in the film are much different than their modern implementations. Concepts like “fingertip shopping”, where the wife imagines, the shopper remotely controlling the cameras placed in the store to scan and see merchandises on their screen at home (much like the modern day shopping websites) appear more like envisioning a future scenarios with the existing technology (camera, in this case) rather than a new product for the future. (with exception of the flat screens shown in the film which exist in almost the same form in modern day as TV’s/ monitors)


As much as the film anticipates the technological changes spot on, it fails at anticipating societal changes. It depicts women as stay-at-home mom and shoppers, and men as breadwinners (taking care of banking, taxation) and heads of household, which i felt, was naive flaw.
Here’s is one of my favorite quotes from the film “Split second lunches, color-keyed disposable dishes, all part of the instant society of tomorrow. A society rich in leisure and taken-for-granted comforts.”