Nikola Tesla’s Predictions For The 21st Century

teslaVia the Paleofuture blog on a 1935 interview with Liberty magazine in which Tesla revealed his intriguing imagining of the 21st century. He seemingly anticipated much of the dynamic betweens humans and technology to come, although his recommended diet of exclusively milk and honey has not come in vogue:

The creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was still 35 years away, but Tesla predicted a similar agency’s creation within a hundred years: “Hygiene, physical culture will be recognized branches of education and government. Our water supply will be far more carefully supervised, and only a lunatic will drink unsterilized water.”

Tesla’s work in robotics began in the late 1890s: “The solution of our problems does not lie in destroying but in mastering the machine. Innumerable activities still performed by human hands today will be performed by automatons. At this very moment scientists working in the laboratories of American universities are attempting to create what has been described as a ‘thinking machine.’ In the twenty-first century the robot will take the place which slave labor occupied in ancient civilization.”

Toward the end of Tesla’s life he had developed strange theories about the optimal human diet. He dined on little more than milk and honey in his final days: “It is possible to provide palatable food based upon natural products such as milk, honey, and wheat. I believe that the food which is served today in penny restaurants will be the basis of epicurean meals in the smartest banquet halls of the twenty-first century.”

Tesla imagined a world where new scientific discoveries, rather than war, would become a priority for humanity: “Today the most civilized countries of the world spend a maximum of their income on war and a minimum on education. The twenty-first century will reverse this order. It will be more glorious to fight against ignorance than to die on the field of battle.”

7 Comments on "Nikola Tesla’s Predictions For The 21st Century"

  1. The Well Dressed Man | Apr 24, 2013 at 12:09 pm |

    Tesla was perhaps the individual who contributed the most to applying scientific progress to shape our lives. Still, so much of his work in lage scale energy structures, including mechanical and electromagnetic resonance at the global level have yet to be fully appreciated. His keen ability to visualize the future (or just to visualize in general) is awe inspiring.

    Disinfonauts inclined to speculate on conspiracy theory and exotic science such as “free energy” or “perpetual motion” would do well to learn more about his life, and question why his work was not continued.

    • His work was not continued because what Edison didn’t steal – he devalued with slander and misinformation.

      Just because someone uses the word “conspiracy” doesn’t mean evil people don’t plot crap for their own nefarious ends. That happens all the time. YOU might call it capitalism – the rest of us call it GREED and EVIL.

      • The Well Dressed Man | Apr 26, 2013 at 7:25 pm |

        Mr. Adams, I mentioned conspiracy because the defamation of Tesla and his work is the real deal. This man was perhaps the greatest electrical engineer in history, and his work to deliver free wireless electricity threatened powerful interests who worked against him. This isn’t some David Icke / Alex Jones jibber-jabber, it’s pretty well documented.

    • Alan Morse Davies | Apr 29, 2013 at 3:52 pm |

      Tesla did interesting things, wireless energy transmission was interesting, he seems interesting.

      Whether his other contributions just need to be realised in order to shape our future world… try them and see.

      Whilst I admire Tesla, there’s a pioneer meme in our culture that says… “how do we think now? Let’s look at our past to find people that would have agreed with us that people mostly don’t know”. It’s narcissistic and revisionist.

      His major contribution was AC, which works great if you have lots of things with motors. That was a big contribution to the 20th century.

      In the 21st century, AC is the biggest power loss in every home, because it mostly gets converted to 9-12v DC with heat being the lossy by-product.

      In the current century, AC is a huge problem, because as we live now it wastes so much energy.

      I don’t mean to diminish him or his work which I admire, I just don’t like the pioneer meme.

      I like Tesla but I don’t view him as a poster child for possible futures. In order for that to be true someone has to actually test those ideas and prove them viable.

      If not then we’ll just continue to push a glossy re-write of who he actually was, which I think is a greater disservice to him.

      Honey and milk anyone?

      • The Well Dressed Man | May 1, 2013 at 2:06 am |

        Thanks for the reply.

        I agree that reducing scientists to pop icons is an unfortunate trend, and also that the limits of an AC grid are especially glaring.

        My layman’s impression is that some of the exotic ideas Tesla was working on may very well turn out to be a big deal in the new century. Tremendous energies exist in the earth and atmosphere, and perhaps Tesla was on the track of harnessing them. Total speculation on my part though.

        • Alan Morse Davies | May 3, 2013 at 2:45 pm |

          I’m with you, I reacted to the original post the opposite to how I expected. I just dislike speculation in the present about potentially great works in the past. It’s just so easy.

          Tesla deserves better than to be a Star Trek episode.

          Public call: if you want to make Tesla great in the public consciousness it requires you to replicate or improve one of his ground-breaking experiments, not just talk about possible futures.

          The narrative of Tesla’s life has legs as a story but it has NOTHING to do with his real contribution to us, we’ve just painted him in a picture as a tragic wronged genius. So he’s now in a cultural box with a picture of the Wardenclyffe Tower on the top.

  2. autobiography from Nikola Tesla was one of the most bizarre and funniest books I’ve read. If you can find it in english language I highly recommend it. I’ve only read in Serbian language

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