NEW YORK — Einstein said he never thought about the future because it comes soon enough. Anthony J. Wiener thought about it deeply and influentially.
In 1967, Mr. Wiener, a self-described futurist, collaborated with Herman Kahn to write a 431-page book brimming with forecasts for the year 2000. Home computers? Check. Artificial organs and limbs? Check. Pagers and ‘‘perhaps even two-way pocket phones?’’ Why, yes!
But the millennium turned without noiseless helicopters replacing taxis. Artificial moons still do not illuminate huge swaths of the earth. And are you, too, still waiting for that predicted 13-week vacation?
Mr. Wiener died June 19 at his home in Closter, N.J., at 81. The cause was cardiac arrest.
The book he and Kahn wrote was ‘‘The Year 2000: A Framework for Speculation on the Next Thirty-three Years,’’ and its publication was a milestone in the futurism fad of the 1960s. The book created what the authors called ‘‘a framework for speculation.’’
About half of its 100 predictions panned out — not including 150-year life spans or months of human hibernation.
But accuracy mattered less than what Mr. Wiener called ‘‘reducing the role of thoughtlessness’’ in making societal choices.
Anthony Janoff Wiener was born in Newark and grew up in Maplewood, N.J. He graduated from Harvard and Harvard Law School.
His first wife, the former Helga Susanna Gerschenkron, died in 1977. He leaves a son, Jonathan, and a daughter, Lisa Juckett, from that marriage. In addition to his wife, the former Deborah Zaidner, he also leaves their son, Adam; his sister, Carol Seaver; and three grandchildren from his first marriage.
In 1961, Mr. Wiener was a founding member of the Hudson Institute, a research center known for Kahn’s investigations of nuclear weapons strategy. Kahn urged that society grapple with the consequences of nuclear war by ‘‘thinking the unthinkable.’’
Mr. Wiener consulted on the future with clients as diverse as the Stanford Research Institute, NASA, and Shell Oil.
He worked for two years in the Nixon White House on urban policy and was a longtime editor of the journal Technology in Society. He taught for many years at what is now Polytechnic Institute of New York University.
Mr. Wiener died before his grander predictions — such as finding life on other planets or settling undersea colonies — could be fulfilled. But his prophecy that fax machines would become office workhorses by 2000 hit the mark, at least until e-mail displaced them.