September 17, 2007

In the Year 2000

This set of French drawings from 1910 depicts life as they imagined it in what is now our modern age. It is pretty standard stuff, levitating trains, interesting architectural technology, etc. I think it is notable however for the invention depicted above, which is excellent on several levels. Not simply the fact that the children are learning through helmet-like devices, (which is something I think most of us have all imagined at some point), but that this is achieved by feeding piles of books into some type of grinder, which is sophisticated enough to transmit reams of knowledge from ground up books through electricity, but not advanced enough to digest them automatically. And the topper is that the machine is powered by some poor child who is unworthy of education, but instead must toil away while his peers effortlessly master calculus, biology and the works of Shakespeare.