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Infographic: Ray Bradbury’s Future vs. Reality

Written in 1950 and set in 2026, Ray Bradbury’s “There Will Come Soft Rains” gives a glimpse of what he thinks the future might looks like, albeit through a 1950s lens.

Here’s a comparison of what he predicted versus what has actually happened, keeping in mind we still have nine years left for some of these to come to fruition.

Impatient for the infographic? No prob! Scroll to the end of this article and find it in all its graphic-y glory.

Bradbury on Scheduling:

Automated alarms apprise you of your schedule throughout the day.

“Today is August 4, 2026,” said a second voice from the kitchen ceiling, “in the city of Allendale, California.” It repeated the date three times for memory’s sake. “Today is Mr. Featherstone’s birthday. Today is the anniversary of Tilita’s marriage. Insurance is payable, as are the water, gas, and light bills.”
“There Will Come Soft Rains” – Ray Bradbury

This already happens. All we need is to ask Siri, Alexa, Google Home, or any of our other devices to read off the day’s calendar to us. Additionally, they can summarize current significant events, report the weather, and order needed supplies. The downside: Alexa and company don’t have quite the panache of Bradbury’s gadgets. They don’t deliver our schedules and weather in snappy rhymes like the following:

“The weather box on the front door sang quietly: ‘Rain, rain, go away; rubbers, raincoats for today.'”
“There Will Come Soft Rains” – Ray Bradbury

Bradbury on Food Prep:

The oven makes meals for you. On schedule, it heats, hisses, and ejects the appropriate meal based on time of day and family size.

Oh, how I wish this was real! Convenience and time-savings in food preparation has come far, with microwaves, crock pots, ovens that turn on with timers, and more.

But the actual prep is still up to us. We must manually scramble those eggs and transfer the Eggos from the box to the toaster. We do have 9 years left to get to the vision Bradbury predicted and I’m confident technology will make food more convenient for our busy lifestyles (case in point: Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods = soon electronically ordering fresh foods in more than just the biggest cities).

And, there is this Moley Robot that will make food for you, set to hit the market in 2018. Will it be ubiquitous by 2026? Not likely. But still, it’s one more small step out of the kitchen for us, and one large leap towards Bradbury’s future.

Bradbury on Food Cleanup:

This amazing automated house does it all for them.

“An aluminum wedge scraped them into the sink, where hot water whirled them down a metal throat which digested and flushed them away to the distant sea. The dirty dishes were dropped into a hot washer and emerged twinkling dry.”
“There Will Come Soft Rains” – Ray Bradbury

Again, I am practically fainting with envy. Bradbury did have an eye on what was new in emerging gadgetry. Garbage disposals were still relatively new to the market in 1950 and grew quickly in the US.

Automatic dishwashers had been on the market for some time, but in 1950 were still mostly found in homes of the wealthy.

The big wedge that scrapes everything into the sink and handles the dishes for us? One can only wish. This Readybot prototype underwent testing, but looks like it would need a LOT of tinkering before hitting the market. Another drawback: I can’t find anything about it later than 2008.

Bradbury on house cleanup:

Tiny electronic mice scurry out whenever they detect dirt and detritus, scrubbing and vacuuming it away.

Easy: we have the Roomba, which has revolutionized automated floor cleanup. Bradbury’s mice are much more aggressive, though, and don’t have the be emptied, dumping the dust instead into an incinerator.

Bradbury’s security system:

The house protects itself and its inhabitants from any unrecognizable outsiders. Again, think of the 1950s social unrest and likely paranoia. Then and now, this sounds like a wonderful solution to the scaries that are out there.

“How carefully it had inquired, ‘Who goes there? What’s the password?’ and, getting no answer from lonely foxes and whining cats, it had shut up its windows and drawn shades in an old maidenly preoccupation with self-protection which bordered on a mechanical paranoia.”
“There Will Come Soft Rains” – Ray Bradbury

Modern security systems can make even the most paranoid have a sense of security. While we may not be at levels depicted in The Purge, there are several options, including alarms, motion-detectors, doorbell cameras, bluetooth door locks, video cameras you can monitor from your phone.

Unfortunately, the future in the story was all for naught. Nature reclaimed the house and down it went, with all of its amazing technology. Man had advanced so much in the story; advancements which extended to nuclear warfare and more efficient ways of killing one another. So we did.

Let’s hope that piece of fortune-telling does not become our reality.

…But I will take that self cooking and cleaning kitchen, please.

Infographic: differences between Ray Bradbury’s vision of the future depicted in “There Will Come Soft Rains” and reality:
Read Remark Infographic - Ray Bradbury's Vision of the Future Versus Reality

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