Icelanders in 1971 predict the future
In 1971, the magazine Samvinnan gathered a panel of Icelanders to predict the state of the nation and the wider world in the year 2000, 29 years into the future. The fifteen-person panel was made up of respected scholars, scientists and politicians—including several MPs and future Prime Minister Steingrímur Hermannsson.
Over three nights of lively discussions, the panellists covered a wide range of topics. One panellist surmised, for example, that by the year 2000, Iceland would be reduced to a Japanese fishing station. Another managed to predict the coming of the internet, imagining a TV screen in every home where one could view any page from any book.
Many panellists were pessimistic for the future, harbouring rather outlandish and dystopian ideas of the world in the year 2000:
“They will have managed to transfer learned knowledge between animals, by moving certain brain-acids from one animal to another. This, of course, is highly dangerous.”
“Recently scientists invented a special hormone which can cure dwarfism. I can imagine that in the year 2000, or in the first decades of the next century, humans will be standardised, so that every male is 1.71 meters tall, everyone wears the same type of clothes and has the same shoe-size.”
“They will have started shrinking humans, to make room for everyone on Earth.”
“In the year 2000, male humans have been abolished, as they will have become as useless as the males of some bird species.”
“By then, ants will have conquered the world.”
“In the year 2000, every Icelandic family will consist of husband, wife, one child and a foreign ethnologist.”
“The death penalty of the future might involve being sent to some kind of a galactic Siberia. Political prisoners will be sent to space, as well as others who do not conform to the prevailing political system.”
“Cosmic awareness will be highly developed, and a ‘cosmic council’ will be established for the entire universe.”
“They will have started building habitats on the ocean floor, or at least summer cottages. If people start settling there, a separate mankind will develop, and then we will see a great war between landlubbers and the seapeople.”
“At the turn of the century, no one will be allowed to pass away in peace and quiet. There will be kine-biological fights over each dying man between various institutions which cut up our bodies into a thousand pieces.”
“It is thought that it is possible to transfer humans electronically from one place to another, by dissolving the body and re-assembling it, but on the other hand it is said to be more difficult to transfer the soul using this method.”
“In the year 2000, there will be no more death.”
Lemúrinn is an Icelandic web magazine (Icelandic for the native primate of Madagascar). A winner of the 2012 Web Awards, Lemúrinn.is covers all things strange and interesting. Go check it out at www.lemurinn.is
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