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Wigs, smartwatches, and VR: how the man of the future was imagined in 1987. Video

How the man of the future was imagined in 1987

In the twentieth century, people dreamed of the future: some claimed that we would have moved to Mars long ago, and others that we would be traveling by flying cars. However, the reality turned out to be quite different, and although a significant technological leap did occur in the 1990s and 2020s, the present still does not correspond to what was predicted in 1987.

A video from that time, published on YouTube by the BBC Archive, shows how society imagined the "man of the future." As early as 1965, the public thought that instead of the usual hair, everyone would shave their heads and wear stylish wigs, and their clothes would consist of plastic and paper.

There is some truth in this because almost all clothes in mass markets are made of polyester, which, in turn, is made of plastic.

"No hair and a nylon wig. A quick wipe with a damp cloth and your head is as good as new. You notice the collarless shirt, but it's made of paper, just right for writing down phone numbers, in fact, you could make notes all over your body. The jacket and skirt are made of plastic, the kind of material that used to cover kitchen tables not so long ago," said TV presenter Raymond Baxter in 1965.

Wigs, smartwatches, and VR: how the man of the future was imagined in 1987. Video

In the next shot, the host Maggie Philbin appears from January 1987 and seeing what people have been predicting since 1965 made her laugh.

"What about all these advances in science and technology? Have we done anything right? The fact is that the "woman of tomorrow" appeared and disappeared very quickly. Shortly after we made this prediction, paper clothes went on sale, and they were cheap enough to be distributed for free along with soap powder packets. But it was not very comfortable. Not only did it wrinkle and tear very easily, but if you had a tendency to sweat, it turned into papier-mâché under your armpits. So, in general, plastic and paper were a short-lived fashion, although in some areas disposable items have become indispensable, for example, in theaters and hospitals," the TV presenter noted.

After criticizing the dreams of society 22 years ago, Philbin offered her vision of the future. The host chose an average office worker in a business suit as an example. As he explains, his clothes are chemically treated with special substances that react to temperature, "It absorbs heat when you're hot, cooling you down, and releases it again when you're cold, so you maintain a constant temperature."

Wigs, smartwatches, and VR: how the man of the future was imagined in 1987. Video

The person of the future, according to the society of that time, carries bank smart cards and holograms of family members in his pockets. But no one has keys with them. The problem of their constant loss was solved by using fingerprint data. This idea has indeed been implemented in the modern world but with a slightly different approach. Nowadays, biometrics can unlock phones, encode documents, and, as a last resort, serve as a door opener.

If everything that was predicted had already come true, people would be healthy and life expectancy would increase. "A tiny biosensor under my tongue analyzes the chemical changes in my saliva and transmits any changes I need to know about to my tie, which changes color so I can catch most diseases before they become a problem," the hero said.

Wigs, smartwatches, and VR: how the man of the future was imagined in 1987. Video

Even this "invention" has partially become a reality. Modern smartwatches can measure a lot of vital signs.

By the way, the society of 1987 also foresaw smartwatches. The hero claims that it can be used to make calls and find out information from anywhere in the world without any problems. In the future, there will be no need for telephones: there is a watch and a large handheld printer that immediately prints the received message.

Wigs, smartwatches, and VR: how the man of the future was imagined in 1987. Video

Virtual reality glasses were also envisioned 37 years ago, but they were called primitively: 3D TV. "I can shut myself off from the world for those brief moments when I'm still stuck in public transportation systems," the man said.

Wigs, smartwatches, and VR: how the man of the future was imagined in 1987. Video

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