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November 2, 2012

Friday Finds: In the Year 2000

Tientsin Grammar School
Tientsin Grammar School
My Dream of 2000 AD
My Dream of 2000 AD

What would people in the year 2000 be like to a teenager writing in Tianjin, China, in 1931? An issue of The Grammarian, a magazine published at the Tientsin Grammar School, offers an unexpected answer: bald. In an essay titled “My Dream of 2000 AD,” a student identified only as MN predicted that all humans would be hairless and went on to posit that Tianjin would be the capital of China, houses would be made of gold, and the great New York Territory would be bisected by President Hoover Road.

MN’s slightly dystopian vision of the future has a Jonathan Swift–like explanation for pervasive baldness in the year 2000. Because machines will “do all our sums” and “rattle off all the events that have happened as no teacher can ever do,” humans will be “bald-headed because all our heads [will be] hollow.” Perhaps MN predicted Google?

You can read the rest of MN’s paleo-future in the Benjamin Michael Levaco papers at the Hoover Institution Archives.