Arthur C.Clarke’s July 20,2019 is a spectacular panorama of how life will be in the twenty-first century. This visually magnificient book, filled with stunning photographs and computer-generated graphics, is a synthesis of science fact and science speculation. Based on the cutting edge of 1980s technology, this is a future that is uncannily realistic, yet the social and technological predictions will astound you.

* Climb into a twenty-first century car, a sleek, ultra-smooth plastic egg that repels dents and never needs a tune-up, with on-board navigation and communication tie-ins to the Automobile Association.

*Go to a Holorama Cinema for a heart-stopping, three dimensional movie experience of a lifetime. or turn on the TV, where you can superimpose your own image on your favourite character.

* Settledown in your living room, where your house, sensing your mood, adjusts the blinds, selects music, and brews coffee with the exact amount of caffeine necessary to get you through the day.

*Check in with the psychiatrist, where you’ll design your own dreams and shape and shape them like a Hollywood director, with the help of your analyst --a T1343 mainframe computer.

* Visit an office in which intelligence amplifiers and computers carry out the functions --but a human secretary is an executive status symbol.

* Spend a night with a partner whose essential components may have been made to order.

* Witness the incredible yet chillingly realistic scenario for a Third World war, an electronic conflict whose outcome is as unexpected as it is unforgettable.

Excerpts from the book published by Grafton Books and distributed in India by UBS Publishers.


What about the aircraft and commercial jets of that day? And how about some entirely new technologies: orbiting spaceliners and craft that hover above the ground? All these things should be common before the next century is very old. Indeed, in a variety of labs and industrial research centres they are already beginning to take shape. Overall, the vehicles to come will make today’s best designs appear nearly as obsolete as the cars and planes from the 1950s now seem to us.

Today, we are no further from 2019 than we are from 1953. What would people in 1953 have made of the interstate highway system? Or the Concorde, or even the Boeing 747? How would they have greeted the high-speed trains of Japan and France? We know that if anyone tried to remanufacture the cars of the early fifties without change, they could not legally be sold or driven. Those of us who were Walt Disney fans recall how he dazzled the nation with his 1954 feature Man in Space, which featured rocket craft somewhat less advanced than the space shuttle.

What, then, of the autos, aircraft, and spacecraft of 2019? The most outstanding of today’s designs will still be cherished. The Pontiac Fiero and the Corvette Stingray may well be the latter-day counterparts of the early Ford Thunderbirds, and will evoke equal nostalgia. But overall, we can expect sweeping change.

“I gave a speech in 1965 about what the car would be like in twenty years,” said Chrysler’s Lee lacocca recently, waving a cigar for emphasis. “I said the car will have four wheels, it will be a thousand pounds lighter, it will carry a sophisticated version of the internal-combustion engine, and it won’t have a spare tyre. I missed on the last one, but I was right about the rest. I said there wouldn’t be any electric cars, the diesel wouldn’t be important, and we wouldn’t have the problem of the turbine solved. I underestimated the importance of microprocessors, as we all did; otherwise the prediction was pretty accurate. And you know what? I’d give that same speech today.”

Lacocca’s words—lighter weight, increasingly sophisticated gasoline engines, and increasingly pervasive electronics – give us a pretty good idea of what we will find in the showrooms as dealers offer bargains to clear out their stock of 2019 models. Those bargains would give today’s buyers a severe case of sticker shock, by the way; today’s $12,000 prices, after all, would have represented three years of average income in 1953. But for 2019’s low, low prices of $70,000, with easy credit terms, a new car will offer a lot.

Sleek aerodynamic styling may well make it as streamlined as a fighter plane. A low, sloping hood will merge smoothly into the windshield, the car’s glass panels flush with the body. There will be no front grille; side-entry cooling will provide the needed airflow. Spoilers on the rear trunk, air dams under the front and rear bumpers, flush-mounted headlights, and wheel-well covers will all be included. The overall shape will be nearly as smooth and as self-contained as an egg.

Sheet-metal bodies will have gone the way of wood paneling. Instead, the bodies will be built of plastics and composites, reinforced with glass or graphite fibres. These give outstanding strength and low weight, up to 60 per cent less than steel. Body panels and parts will be prepared at the factory in completely painted and finished form, then glued together. Gone will be spot-welds, primer, and other old fashioned, metallic features.

The new bodies will never corrode. Moreover, fenders made of certain plastics will absorb a dent and minutes later bounce back to their original shape. No metal can do that.

The engine and its transmission will operate under microprocessor control. The transmission will be continuously variable, in effect making available an infinite number of gears. As the car proceeds through traffic or onto the highway, its microchip will continually adjust the engine speed, its tuning, and the transmission to give the best efficiency. These adjustments will also control pollution while avoiding engine roughness or knocking. What’s more, the car will never need a tune-up.

It also may never need cooling water or even motor oil. While the gasoline engine should hold its own, it may face stiff competition from advanced diesels. These will be built with ceramics capable of resisting high temperatures. Even the pistons, rings, and valves could be made of these materials. Such engines may be air-cooled and might eliminate the need for lubrication. Diesels are heavier and more costly than gasoline engines, but are much more rugged.

The cars of 2019 will also be loaded with electronic options. These will be easy to put in; a simple loop of cable running from a central microchip will replace today’s complex wiring systems and accommodate whatever the owner wants to add. The instrument panel, of course, will give warning of any trouble spot in the engine, drive train, or types. On-board navigation will make it impossible to get lost. The car will be able to locate its position using satellite navigation systems and show it on a colour video map display. This TV display—located on the passenger side, not the driver’s side—will store an atlas of maps on a videodisc. Artificial intelligence then will give suggestions on how to reach the destination, while offering the trip-planning services of today’s Automobile Association of America.

Other electronic systems will add to the car’s safety and convenience. In case of trouble, its microchips will tell the mechanic just what’s wrong. In case of real trouble, like a breakdown out in the desert, the car will transmit an emergency call to a watching satellite. A radar system will warn of cars in the blind spots, and there may even be automatic collision avoidance, to brake or steer out of impending disasters. An alcohol detector will prevent the driver from starting up if he’s had too many for the road. And in normal operation, the suspension will be electronically controlled, offering a stiff ride for the freeway or a softer ride over city potholes.

Such autos may top a hundred miles per gallon. Still, they may face competition from maglevs, the magnetically levitated railroads now operating over short lengths of track in Japan and Germany. The German system is in regular service near Bremen, carrying nearly two hundred passengers at over two hundred miles per hour. The Japanese maglev is still under development, but set a record of 321 miles per hour on a test track in 1979.

The German design, Transrapid-o6, amounts to a practical version of the Disney land monorail. Its rail has a five-foot-wide T-shaped cross section that is raised on pylons sixteen to twenty feet above the ground. The train rides on the rail with the sides extending downward to wrap around the T. The train’s weight is pulled upward as electromagnets in these side-extensions are attracted to other magnets built into the underside of the T. Since this attraction would quickly cause the train to hit the track with a loud clang, the electromagnets have control systems to vary their force. They thus maintain a steady separation of an inch or so below the track. The track, in turn, sets up a magnetic wave that propels the train forward like a surfboard on the ocean.

Such a monorail will soon be built in the US. The US Department of Transportation has approved the Transrapid for a proposed 8800-passenger-a-day link between Los Angeles and Las vegas. It could be in service by the early 1990s.

This German approach, however, stands to be challenged by the faster Japanese design. Its magnets do not attract a track underside; rather, they repel. The track resembles a trough, with a U-shaped cross section; the train nestles cozily within its curve, riding several inches above the track and banking in curves in a natural way. It uses superconducting magnets.

These new trains will be built down the centre medians of interstate highways, along such heavily travelled routes as San Diego-Los Angeles-San Francisco and Boston-New York-Washington. They will link airports to city centres; passengers will sit in comfort, twenty feet off the ground, and smile as they zip past fuming motorists stuck in the five o’clock traffic. Indeed, they will permit us to build more immense, sprawling airports such as Dallas-Fort Worth. If one such proposed mega-jetport, the Los Angeles Intercontinental Airport, is built in remote desert country a hundred miles from the city, it will certainly need the high-speed transportation that maglev trains offer. Commuter trains may well make a comeback, and if the elevated monorails prove popular, our city centres could soon resemble Disney’s Tomorrow land.

Such maglevs will run at no more than half the speed of an airliner, but with their city-centre convenience they will give similar total trip timesfor distances up to several hundred miles. Inevitably, their low cost will spur thoughts of a transcontinental system. However, even July 20,2019 is too soon for this to become a reality.

Levitated vehicles are not limited to land, they also will ply the seas. They will rise not on magnets, but on cushions of air. These hovercraft lift themselves to heights of several feet by blowing air into skirts that surround their hulls.

As described in Profiles of the Future, they eventually will use new and inexpensive fuels and engines and will reach sizes as large as 100,000 tons, replacing the world’s ships. But that won’t happen by 2019.
Let us visit an airport of 2019 and take a look around. It quickly becomes clear that the planes operate as if they were buses. They do not spend hours sitting and waiting. Rather, they taxi up to the gates, discharge a load of passengers and baggage, take on a new load, and are off on another trip, all within twenty minutes or less. The airlines appreciate this; planes make money only when they are in the air with a full load of passengers. Another nice feature is their fuel efficiency more than double that of today’s best jets. All this will mean lower ticket prices and more low-fare specials.

These airliners will include trim, twin-engine planes for short to medium hauls, as well as the big widebodies. Many of them, particularly those serving medium-length routes, will have no jets, for the propeller is due to make a comeback. Its new form, called a “propfan”, resembles six or eight scimitars mounted by their tips to a hub, each scimitar being a fan blade. A plane thus equipped can achieve jet speeds with much lower fuel consumption. Short-haul craft, especially those serving commuters, will be even more radical in design. They will be built with particularly thin wings for lowest drag, which will look as though they had been mounted backward by mistake. Such swept-forward designs work very well when the wing is thin. And passengers in flight will see these wings change their length and width, extending or contracting to give the best performance.

With lighter weight and greater fuel efficiency, the widebodies will fly farther; nonstop flights from the East Coast to destinations across the Pacific will be common. However, these long hauls will remain wearying to the passengers. Trans-Pacific jumbos, therefore, will face stiff competition from supersonic jetliners, twenty-first century successors to the Concorde. For the Concorde, as any aeronautical engineer will tell you, is obsolete even today. It is built of aluminium, which cannot stand high temperatures; the heat produced during high-speed flight thus limits it to twice the speed of sound. Worse, its Olympus jet engines are notorious fuel hogs. To achieve supersonic speeds, they rely on afterburners similar to those of military jets, which are among the most fuel-thirsty engines in common use.

Tomorrow’s Pacific Supersonic Transport will be nearly twice heavy as the Concorde—375 versus 200 tonnes—but will carry six hundred passengers, five times as many as the Concorde. It will cruise at more than three times the speed of sound and may well outrace the famous SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft, the Blackbird, which today holds the speed record, 2193 miles per hour. This high speed will allow it to do three times the passenger-hauling work of similarly sized jumbo jet while burning only twice as much fuel – its fuel efficiency will be three times the Concorde’s. It will fly six thousand miles at a stretch, taking four hours for the Tokyo-San Francisco run. Ticket prices will be competitive with those of the subsonic widebodies.

At the airport, a Pacific Supersonic Transport is a long, sleek affair, its fuselage looking remarkably like a thick arrow pierced with windows. The small fins and tail surfaces add to the arrowlike effect. Some versions have two such fuselages side by side, allowing passengers to wave to each other across the broad central wing. The wings form a sharply swept-back delta, with winglets, small finlike extensions, at their tips to cut drag. Mounted beneath these wings are the thick black cylinders of the engines, two for the standard version, three for the double-fuselage model.

Still, such aircraft may fall short of being the most advanced in service. Just as the Concorde prospers in an era of cut-rate flights to Europe, so there will be travelers for whom even March 3, three times the speed of sound, is too slow. On the longest routes, halfway around the world, even the best supersonic craft would have to stop to refuel. Ranges of six thousand miles will be all very fine and amid the cozy community of the Northern Hemisphere, but as the Southern Hemisphere comes into its own, something more will be needed. Travellers enduring their ten-hour flights from Rio to Singapore will look with envy at the orbiting space stations, which cover the same distance in forty minutes. Thus, the real successor to the Concorde, as a costly but speedy aircraft that is profitable over specialised routes, will be the hypersonic transport. It will fly at more than half the speed of a satellite and reach any destination in the world within two hours.


“ANOTHER DAY AT THE OFFICE,” KARIN thought as she paused before her office door on the morning of July 20,2019. The door bore the sign:

“Appelby, Weinstein, Harberger, & Rogers—Attorney at Law.”

“Good morning, Ms.Rogers,” the security guard said.

“Good morning, Ed,” she replied.

The door swung open.

She was greeted by the receptionist in the foyer.

“Is Robert here yet?” Karin asked.

“No, Ms.Roger.”

“Tell him I need to talk with him at his earliest opportunity.”

“Shall I page him on his personal phone?”

“No,” It was not that important. She handed her coat to the receptionist and walked down the hallway to her office.

Her secretary had already displayed the day’s schedule on the monitor. The court appearance at ten for the Guthrie case gave her only an hour to clean up the daily correspondence and get a thorough briefing on the case. Settling in the office chair, Karin lowered the pickup cap over her close-cut curls. As the signals from the sensors in the chair combined with those from the cap, the intelligence amplifier came on line.

“Good morning, Ms.Rogers.” It was her secretary, George, an attractive man in his late twenties. He seated himself next to her work table with its computer terminal keypad and screen and put his own keypad in his lap. “Ready for correspondence,” George announced.

“What’s first?”

“We haven’t received notification from the bank that Bowman and Evans have settled their account. It’s now ninety days delinquent. Shall I send the usual notice?”

“No, George, they’ve got cash-flow problems. The Klimuk suit against them was a nuisance suit, and we won it. But the resultant bad publicity caused their space tourism bookings to fall off,” Karin remarked. “If they haven’t made a payment on the account within sixtydays, remind me then.” Her office staff was so efficient that she wouldn’t worry about it. However, they were programmed so thoroughly to carry out such automatic functions as handling delinquent accounts that she had to intervene on occasion and exercise a judgement call.

“We received a communication from the circuit court,” Gerorge went on, “concerning the matter of Jackson Barr versus Great Selene Mining Corporation. Judge Harada has reviewed the briefs and requests that counsel determine if the differences can be resolved by arbitration.”

Karin thought about this for a moment. Harada was apparently hardpressed for time; he obviously hadn’t studied the briefs thoroughly. Karin decided it was time for a full audio-visual display.

“George, assemble a full-scan answer. Use stock footage showing me in court attire against the bookcase. Here’s what I want to say, so have it lipsynched. I haven’t got time to tape it.” As George recorded her words, she explained dispassionately to Judge Harada that the other party insisted on bringing it to the bench. She intimated that she and her clients would be happy to arbitrate and added that she was fully aware of the extremely busy docket.

“Done. Do you want to review it before transmission?”

“Yes.” Sometimes George didn’t exhibit the discretion Karin felt was necessary in such matters. He was an outstanding secretary but often lacked the human touch.

The door to the office opened, and an attractive young girl stepped in. Jill was Karin’s paralegal. She greeted Karin, then stood expectantly, awaiting orders.

“How long will it take for you to brief me on the Guthrie case?”

“If I start now, there’s just enough time before you have to leave for court.”

It didn’t take long. Karin resisted the temptation to believe she had this one in the bag. If she could present the case properly, it would probably be a walkover, provided that the court computer analysed the data and its consequences in the same manner as the one at Appleby. Weinstein, Harberger, & Rogers.

Finally, she had what she needed from Jill. Removing the cap from her head, she arose from the chair and started to leave. On her way out of the office, she told the receptionist. “I’ll be back about fourteen hundred hours. Take my calls.”


Since none of her partners had come in yet, Karin locked the door behind her when she left the office. This was standard procedure, because when Karin departed there were no human beings left in the firm’s office suite.

The office of AD 2019 sounds like a perfectly ordinary office of the late twentieth century, except that there are no human clerical of secretarial workers in it. Routine chores—keeping files, setting up appointments, keeping track of schedules, bookkeeping and accounting, and the thousands of details that used to be carried out by human beings—are now in the far more capable hands of computers. The machines are directed by artificial intelligence {AI} and coupled to intelligence amplifiers {IA}, computer devices capable of linking directly with the human nervous system and extending human mental power, even projecting human images like Karin’s secretary and paralegal into the wearer’s mind.

The arrival of advanced computer and bioelectronic technologies in the office in the last decade must still come as a surprise to people who do not understand the central trend in office work for the past hundred years: replacing human beings with machines where machines can do the job faster, easier, and more efficiently. This has freed man to do the things human beings do best: attack problems we haven’t anticipated, make complex decisions, and exercise judgments on the basis of very little data.

It should be obvious that although computer-based devices are at last running the office, human beings are still very much in control of them and of human circumstances where computers are involved. With all this in mind, let’s take a closer look at Karin Rogers’s law offices.

There are no human security guards, receptionists, personal secretaries, or paralegals in today’s office. Every one of those jobs has been assigned to a computer with a very large memory and the ability to link with other computers for even greater power. Sophisticated software gives it the artificial intelligence required for tasks that must otherwise be handled by human workers.

Computers have had each of the abilities these chores require since the mid-1980’s, albeit in relatively primitive forms. Karin’s “security guard” analyses her image and voice print to confirm that the person wanting access to her office is indeed Karin Rogers. In principle, it isn’t difficult. Given enough money, you could probably have had this security guard controlling the locks on your door at any time in the past twenty-five years.

The “receptionist” is a computer with a built-in answering machine, large memory, some artificial intelligence, voice recognition input, and voice output. Again, you could probably have bought all this in the 1980s, but it would have been expensive and not as capable as Karin’s receptionist.

Karin’s “personal secretary” and “paralegal” are not computers; they are functions of a very advanced type of computer that has become available only since 2010. Yet the technology to build it has existed for years.
Karin Rogers can see her assistants, but they are only images projected by the intelligence amplifier into her brain through her chair and cap. Karin created those images herself because they were pleasant, attractive, and easy to work with. The IA stored them in its memory and now re-creates them whenever she uses it. Other users deal with their own cast of artificial characters.

But what is an intelligence amplifier, and how does it project images into the brain?

At heart, it’s a very large and fast digital computer with special sensors that can read human neural impulses and respond by sending electrical signals back into the nervous system. Karin does not have connectors wired into the top of her skull because a computer can communicate with the brain without such primitive connections, using methods tested as long ago as the 1970s.

Even in 2019, not all offices are supplied with intelligence amplifiers and other state-of-the-art computer equipment. Even with today’s inexpensive hardware, some small businesses just can’t afford them. These mom-and-pop companies are on the decline except in the crafts and other traditionally small operations.
On the other end of the scale, the plushest offices are not as openly computerised and IA-ised as more workaday environments. When cost is no factor and sheer conspicuous image is the goal, even today’s top managers retain their desks, windows, and human secretaries. That is the ultimate one-upsmanship in the office world of 2019.


SUNDAY AFTERNOONS WERE THE WORST FOR Barbara. Her husband was usually off with his friends and she was left home alone in their third-floor apartment—except for the incredible noises that wafted through the poorly insulated ceiling from the studio below. Today’s matinee was an anguished moaner (last week’s was a joyous screamer), her cries coloured with the false intimation that each thrust from the stud beneath her was against her will, or at least against her better judgment.

Barbara thought she knew, by sound, all the partners of her young male neighbour downstairs. But this was a new one, and it depressed her. So many people having so much fun. And she, at thirty-five, like many other women, felt washed-up sexually. Her husband was unattentive, and she wished she had the freedom of spirit to walk downstairs and volunteer to hop on her horny neighbour.

Our little classified ad pictures a 2019 in which people can publicly and boldly state their desires, no matter how bizarre or specific. Our vignette about Barbara is the reality for at least one reality of 1986.

These are paradoxical times, sexually speaking. The promise of free love and expanded sensuality so widely heralded in the 1960s has degenerated to a confused era in which free sexual expression is enjoyed by an elite few, while the bulk of society feels left out of the action. Sexual freedom is glorified, and yet Time magazine announces that the predominant sexual malady of our time is lack of desire, and women over the age of thirty are considered undesirable.

Even so, beneath the puritanical patina of present-day society, there lies a sexuality waiting to express itself in a more expansive age. On a scientific level, researchers are discovering new ways to enhance orgasm and desire, developing hormonesto increase the performance of sex organs, manufacturing more realistic artificial penises, and even experimenting with male pregnancy -- a developmentthat would alter gender roles drastically and have a profound effect on sexual practices. On a societal level, men and women are questioning our present monolithic attitude toward sexuality. June Reinisch, director of the Kinsey Institute, Bloomington, Indiana, points out that sexual attitudes fluctuate in twenty-year cycles. For example, the 1940s and 1950s were repressive years, while the 1960s and 1970s saw a flowering of sexual freedom. If Reinisch’s theory is right, things look bad for the next two decades. On the other hand, we can look forward to a sexual renaissance from 2001 to 2020. The year 2019 will see the blending of science and passion into an orgasmic age.

The technology – and some of the scientific understanding, at least – may already be here. In fact, the greatest strides in sexuality may come from neuroscience. We have known for over thirty years, for example, that sexuality begins and ends in the brain, not in the genitals or anywhere else. We even have crude ways of creating, on demand, sexual pleasure in the brain.

It was 1953 when James Olds and Peter Milner, working at the Montreal Neurological Institute, sunk electrodes into the brain of a white rat. They had intended to place the electrodes in the rat’s hypothalamus, but by mistake had inserted them in a mysterious region called the “septum” Olds stimulated the rat every time it wandered into one corner of its cage. Oddly, the rat developed a compulsive fondness for that part of the cage. (By contrast, when the hypothalamus was stimulated, rats avoided the corner.) The septum was thereby identified as the “pleasure center” of the brain.

But what about humans ? It was Dr. Robert G.Heath, chairman emeritus of the neurology/psychiatry department of New Orlean’s Tulane University School of Medicine, who proved that you and I can have our buttons pushed” just like white rats. Heath and his Tulane colleagues punched holes in the skulls of patients, implanted electrodes deep in their brain tissue, and left them there, recording brain waves while the subjects talked, flew into rages, hallucinated, had seizures…or intense orgasms.

In another experiment, Heath outfitted some of his patients with self-stimulators – a device with three or four buttons, each one connected to an electrode implanted in a different part of the brain, that the patient wore booked onto a belt. Whenever he felt the urge, the patient could push any of the buttons. One man pushed the button connected to the septal region 1500 times an hour.

Is this the proper scenario for 2019? People with pleasure buttons on their belts? Acetylcholine-induced orgasms? LSD-prophet Timothy Leary once predicted that soon we’ll all be wearing septal electrodes as a means for instant gratification, but Dr.Heath derides the idea. Heath’s experiments were conducted on seemingly hopeless patients who had been previously relegated to straitjackets and shock treatment. As for implanting electrodes deep in the brains of normal, healthy patients, Dr. Heath says, “It’s a little drastic to have a hole punched in your skull unless you’re very, very ill.”

What he does predict for the twenty-first century, however, are noninvasive techniques based on his method. According to Heath, an ultrasound device could be built and used to activate the brain’s pleasure centres without having to go inside the skull. In fact, one male-potency clinic predicts that by 2005, family doctors will be using electrical stimulation of the brain’s pleasure centres to increase sexual desire in less-than-potent males.
{source:GENTLEMAN , August 1987}
Labels: edit post
0 Responses

Post a Comment

  • Clock