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the occasions lady and

Flying Houses
by Audrey Poff, illustration by Brittney Guest

Welcome to 2020! What not so long ago seemed like such a futuristic sounding year is now the present.

It’s hard to believe that we are living in the year 2020. Although we have witnessed many impressive technological advances, like smart phones that unlock by scanning our faces and augmented reality that allows Pikachu to appear seamlessly in the park, it’s comical to review some of the predictions for 2020 simply never materialized.

Here are a few of the predictions that I found amusing:

• Everyone will have personal helicopters. In 1951, Popular Mechanics predicted that every family in the 21st century would have at least one helicopter in their garage. As a kid who grew up watching “The Jetsons” during Saturday morning cartoons, I was always hopeful that we would have flying cars by the time I was an adult so I could zoom across the sky with my own little family. We may not be close to owning our own helicopter or a flying car in 2020, but self-driving cars are already a reality and will hopefully offer safer solutions in the near future that will require little or no human input.

• Robots will be our friends. In the book “Shift 2020,” global trends expert Ariane Van de Ven said she believed robots would be used as therapists, companions, assistants and even friends to help people in everyday life. Although we don’t have robots to befriend or counsel us today, they can vacuum and mop your floor. Isn’t that better? Personally, I’d rather keep my friends and have robots do more housework.

• We will live in flying houses. Inventor, science writer and futurist Arthur C. Clarke, who co-wrote the screenplay for “2001: A Space Odyssey,” believed that the boring houses of 1966 would be replaced by structures that could move anywhere on earth on a whim. Flying houses would certainly make moving a lot easier – especially if they came equipped with flying monkeys. However, most of us living in or near Tornado Alley would probably prefer that our homes stay on the ground.

• People will stop drinking coffee and tea. In 1937, Nikola Tesla predicted that within a century, coffee, tea and tobacco would no longer be in vogue. He may have been right about tobacco use as cigarette smoking continues to decline, but coffee and tea? Have you seen the line at Shadrachs in the morning?

• Nobody will work, because everyone will be rich. In 1966, Time magazine predicted that the 21st century would be an amazing economic era for nearly everyone. In an essay called “The Futurists,” the publication predicted that machines would be producing so much that everyone in the U.S. would be independently wealthy without lifting a finger. This one makes me laugh the most. Unfortunately, those “machines” did not make us all rich. If you want those robots vacuuming your floor and your daily dose of gourmet coffee, you better keep slugging away.

The year 2020 has been on my mind for more than 18 years, but not because of any obsession I have with technology. Months before our youngest daughter, Sophie, was born in 2001, I realized that she would be a part of the Class of 2020. It seemed like it was light years away at the time, but in the blink of an eye, the future is here and changes are coming.

Hold on to your flying house.