When Today Was Tomorrow’s World (2020 Imagined in the Early 90s)

Two archive videos show that what is today a mundane reality was once a fantastical future… though not everything worked out as planned.

The clips come from BBC show Tomorrow’s World, which featured a combination of the latest technology available at the time and the ideas in the works.

The first, from 1989, imagined what homes would be like in 2020. Some elements proved remarkably accurate, with predictions of voice controlled audio and custom lighting throughout the house. Others, not so much, including windows that could instantly switch to become a display screen. As for confident talk of all homes being efficiently insulated with no need to burn fossil fuels, the less said the better.

The second clip, from 1994, introduces the Internet and the World Wide Web and how it could change society. While the repeated use of the phrase “information superhighway” is certainly dated, the wonder at the idea of video streaming on demand and online shopping shows how much today’s generation must take for granted.

The idea of tie-ins letting viewers instantly buy clothing they’d seen on a video was definitely accurate, though a newsreader’s suit isn’t exactly the prime example of that model in reality.

There’s also a surprisingly punchy exploration of how only widespread fiber cabling would allow the web to reach its full potential, but that the funding of such cabling was a political issue.