Illustration for article titled What futurists in 1988 imagined Los Angeles would be like in 2013

With the year 2013 a quarter of a century away, the Los Angeles Times in 1988 asked 30 futurists and other experts what they thought life in their city would look like in 2013. They may have overshot the sophistication of our robots, but many of those predictions for 2013 have come true—or at least come close.


Reporter Nicole Yorkin wrote the futurism pieces for the April 3, 1988 issue of the Los Angeles Times Magazine, compiling the information from her various interviews. The articles include illustrations by Syd Mead, the visual futurist and concept artist for Blade Runner, Aliens, Tron, and more. (You can see part of one of his illustrations above, and check out all of the illustrations at the LA Times.) The centerpiece of the issue is a day in the life of the Los Angeles family of 2013. While it touts highly sophisticated robots who can do housework and negotiate with children, it also emphasizes teleconferencing, charter schools, the use of computers and multimedia in education, and media on demand. It's a somewhat fanciful world (especially any time the family housework robot is mentioned), and occasionally retro (the son goes to the laser disc library in order to view the multimedia encyclopedia), but there are plenty of moments that we can point to as a reasonably accurate view of 2013.

The issue also includes predictions about the future of Los Angeles' demographics, job market (the recession naturally wasn't predicted), housing, and education. And the piece on the future of cars (this is Los Angeles, after all) has a few very close and spot-on predictions:

In 25 years, today's new technology will have become standard equipment, both designers agree. Chief among these developments will be a central computer in the car that will control a number of devices. A sonar shield, for example, will automatically brake the car when it comes too close to another. If something malfunctions, diagnostic features will tell the driver what's wrong. Autos will also come equipped with electronic navigation or map systems. Once the driver programs a destination, the system will pick the fastest route, taking into account traffic information, then give the driver the estimated time of arrival, continually plotting the car's position on a map.


Then again, the same article suggests that modular cars, that go from two-seaters to enormous vans with the aid of a few plug-in modules, would be a common sight on the road in 2013.

L.A. 2013 [LA Times via Dangerous Minds]

Share This Story

Get our newsletter