This is how ZDF German Public television envisioned how life in the year 2000 could appear back in 1972. Hat-tip Michael Miersch here.
Part 1 (Youtube video): Living and going to work (
The first part shows a man named Mr B living in a futuristic, electronic apartment. In the year 2000 people have to work only 25 hours per week, and can live with artificial hearts. Breakfast is prepared automatically and that all food is free of poisons because it is organically produced, free of pesticides and chemicals.
There are no printed newspapers – people get their news from a “printer” twice a day. Everyone lives in huge high rise apartment buildings with 2000 units, each equipped with international satellite TV that can be watched 24 hours per day. Shopping is done by radio-teleshopping; purchases are booked direct from his bank account.
Mr B communicates with friends using a “TV telephones” (smoking is still politically correct).
People don’t visit each other anymore – they converse via TV screen. Sociologists warn of the isolation of man by technology.
Mr B. does not use a conveying sidewalk to go the short distance to the train station when he goes to work, he walks. The air is now clean again because pollution was banned in 1990. Some even called for the death penalty for polluters. He works in another city 80 km away. No problem though, the jet-engine powered 500 km/hr commuter monorail train needs only 15 minutes. At the station he rents an electric city-car, which are readily available at all transportation hubs.
The electric cars are automatically navigated. At work a massive network of people-conveyors take him through the huge maze of buildings. He works at a databank center that sells data to customers. All data is stored at a massive data storage centers and systems. For example, the databanks deliver critical data to politicians almost instantly so that they can always make the right decisions.
Everything is automated, and so Mr B has lots of time on his hands at work – no stress. That’s the way it is for millions of highly skilled workers like him, who only need to sit around and monitor the automated systems. As he sits around, he thinks about what he’ll do when he retires at the age of 50.
Retirement in the year 2000 is a problem too, as people have yet to figure out how spend all that free time on their hands. This is how ZDF imagined life could be in the year 2000 back in 1972.
At the 6 min mark, the show returns back to the reality of 1972. Here ZDF bemoans that 14 million cars jam the streets of West Germany. They pollute the air and threaten to choke the citizens in a sea of metal, exhust and noise. Cars are a symbol of freedom, but in reality they condemn the people to being stuck in traffic jams. The car – it kills 17,000 and injures 500,000 every year. Millions of tons of sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and lead are blown yearly into the atmosphere.
Air pollution in urban areas is already at the allowable limits. The SST pollutes the entire stratosphere and creates extreme noise – all to save 3 hrs of flight time. ZDF says we’ve poisoned the biosphere and food chain with our pesticides. Industry has polluted the water so much that clean water will be a luxury product in just a few years. Germany’s Lake Constanz will soon look like Lake Erie. It will take 50 to 100 years before Lake Erie returns to a natural condition.
Part 3 looks at life and the environment as it was in 1972. The film starts with:
Industrialization brought prosperity to many, but a threat to all. Industrialization favors the concentration of capital and assets in the hands of a few.
The clip then describes the growing gap between the haves and have-nots. Up to 800,000people (from 60 million) live in poverty. The film says that by1980, half a million students will jam into the universities, where only half will be able find housing, and classroom will be overfilled, leading to riots and civil unrest.
ZDF complained that the field of medicine is outdated, and Germany is falling behind. 30% of all hospital beds were made in the 1920s.
ZDF then asks a series of pessimistic questions. Will the political system be able to quickly enough make the decisions necessary to bring the country forward to meet the challenges of the year 2000? How will the family survive? How will the workplace change? Automation threatens to turn workers into mere monitors.
For millions there isn’t going to be any work.”
Another problem is that the economy produces more food then what is needed. Europe destroys the surplus of food while people starve in other places on the globe. ZDF then juxtaposes this with military spending, which amounts to 600 billion German Marks annually. “For the first time in history, man is capable of destroying the planet.
The only choice is either we live together, or die together.”
ZDF then complains that technology is advancing too quickly; we can’t keep up and that we don’t really know what we’re getting ourselves into. Since WWII, millions of tons of concrete have been transformed into living units. Now everywhere the landscape is littered with high rise apartment buildings. No one thought about the impact on man and society. No research is being done to see where all this is taking us. The ZDF clip ends with a quote:
‘The capability of man to thoughtlessly destroy the environment is practically without limits,’ says an American scientist. Poiliticans face the challenge of stopping the destruction before it becomes too late. For that we have very little time.”
Today we see that life is much better and different than what ZDF predicted in 1972. Lake Erie is also clean again. Sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide have long since been replaced by life-giving CO2 as the big threat to humanity and nature. The dire prophesies never came true – even though there was a consensus among the “experts”.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!