"The World in the Year 2058"
By Anonymous, translated by Patrick Casiano
A Glimpse into the Future
How will our lives look like in the middle of the 21st century? What are the ups and downs of the technological development and which unforeseen features might the iPhone version 99.0 have? The digital food which we will upload wirelessly to our stomach will come at a price of 50 Yuan per serving and will consist of Chinese food only.
Humans have always liked to delve into speculations about the future and to share their forecasts with their fellow men. Since the earliest times various religious traditions have made predictions about the future – either for the present world or for the afterlife. Sometimes this appears in the form of a grandiose prophecy, affecting the entire world, and at times only as an inconspicuous interpretation of a dream of a common individual.
Politicians followed suit with predictions of varying degrees of accuracy. And also popular culture also has its fair share. Contemplating about the future appears to be ingrained in human nature.
What follows is a translation of a short anonymous piece titled “די וועלט אין 100 יאר ארום” (“The World in 100 Years”) published in the newspaper לעצטע נייעס, on January 10th, 1958 on page 6. I came across this curiosity by accident while working on a research project about the history of German-Israeli relations and had to share it with my fellow Yiddish enthusiasts.
In 2018 we are already 60 percent through the period in question. It is a fitting opportunity to recapitulate what has already come true, what is yet to be awaited and what even today sounds odd and fanciful to us.
The World in the Year 2058
(As Predicted in 1958)
Our grandchildren will learn Torah from the greatest scholars through television, which will reach the most remote points of the world. By means of a television, a mother will be able to supervise her children from afar. Every telephone will be connected to a television so that the persons speaking can see each other. It will be possible to make a phone call from anywhere in the world; you will even be able to connect while out on the street.
Thanks to electronics it will be possible to avoid car accidents. Cars will be equipped with sensitive instruments that will signal approaching danger. Airplanes will be able to take off and land anywhere and in any weather.
Travels to the stratosphere will be commonplace. It will be as simple to use nuclear energy as to use matches.
The household—a paradise for the housewife
The apartment will be a paradise for the housewife, and her work will be much easier. She will have a washing machine that runs without water. You can switch, add, and remove walls in the house. All cooking will be electric, and it will only take a few minutes. You will not clean with soap but with electricity. We are close to the day when the housewife will pick up the telephone in her car and order the cooking machine in her kitchen to cook lunch. The movement of sound waves will activate the cooking device in the kitchen, and the cooking will last only as long as necessary. Everything will be ready when the housewife arrives at home.
There will be no telephone wires or electrical cables. Nor will there be electric lights. The walls and the ceiling will give light whenever necessary. It will also be possible to change the color of the light according to the individual’s wish. The temperature in every room will be adapted to the needs. There will be invisible television screens on the wall. Heat will come from nuclear energy. If so desired, the house can be isolated against every noise coming from outside.
Fashion in the year 2058
It is difficult to predict what women’s fashion will be like in 100 years. But a continued increase in the use of plastic materials is already discernable today. Already today pure silk, wool, or cotton are hardly used. According to the opinion of experts the clothing in 100 years will be protected against stains and damage. Clothing will come with a net of metal thread and microtubes for all kinds of needs, such as cooling and heating.
Means of transportation without wheels
In the future our means of transportation will have no wheels. They will hover slightly above the ground, and therefore many accidents will be avoided. Trains will not need any tracks. Energy will be derived from the sun, from nuclear materials, or from cosmic rays. Trains will not need locomotives. Human supervision will only be needed to avoid disturbances caused by rain or snow. The shape of our means of transportation will not be rectangular as today but round or tubular, like the shape of a cigarette.
Experts predict that it will be easier to drive cars, despite being more solidly built. They will also be more beautiful. Although they will travel at higher speeds, they will be safer. Nowadays cars are twice as durable as they were a few years ago, and development will continue in this direction. Cars will be produced from materials that are lighter but stronger.
Airplanes will fly at speeds that we cannot even imagine. It is to be expected that in the near future a regular airplane will fly at a speed of 1,000 miles per hour.