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The Future is Now
and expected to see a woman president, more robots helping out, and regular space travel

In 1986, over 10,000 kids age six to 15 were asked what the world would be like in 20 years. The question was posed in 3-2-1 Contact Magazine where I was Research Director at the time.(i.s.)

The results, published in the 3-2-1 Contact Magazine and Sesame Street Parents' Guide were as follows:

Woman President
83% of the boys and girls surveyed said there would be a woman President in the White House by 2006.

Solar Energy
60% of the kids expected that we’d be getting most of our energy from the sun, with nuclear power the next most expected source.

Robots Cooking
The majority of 3-2-1 Contact respondents thought that by 2006 robots would be doing many household chores --including cooking, cleaning and yard work!

No More Gender Gap
Most kids expected to see equal pay for men and women in the workforce, and imagined that men and women would be doing the same jobs. They also expected men and women to share equally in childrearing. (91% expected that they themselves would be married by age 30.)

Life Underground
About half the kids said that by 2006 people would be living underground (55%), under water (51%), or in space (48%). More boys than girls predicted these different lifestyles.

Space Travel
Many kids predicted that there would be regular flights between Earth and other planets. They thought that people would be living on other planets, but didn’t want to move there themselves.

They also expected that we’d find some life forms on the planets, probably plant life.

Cures for Diseases
Approximately half of the kids expected that a cure for cancer, heart disease, AIDS, chicken pox, and the common cold would be found by 2006. The most frequently predicted life expectancy for 2006 chosen among respondents was 90, with 100 and 110 as next choices.

Greatest Fears
While kids didn’t expect that there would be a nuclear war by 2006, 44% said it was their greatest fear – with the percentage fearing it even higher among kids under 10 years old.

Nevertheless, children predicted that the world would be a safer place to live, and that the Soviet Union and the United States would be better friends.

Career Hopes
36% of the girls surveyed hoped to become doctors and 15% of the girls wanted to be scientists. The numbers were almost exactly reversed for boys (36% scientists and 16% doctors!)

Where are those 3-2-1 Contact Readers now?

20 years ago those of us who conducted the survey thought 20 years from then was an eternity. At the time of the survey, Ronald Reagan was President, there was still a Soviet Union, and there were no cell phones!

Please share your reactions-- let us know.

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