Walter Glaeser, a 50-year-old Boeing systems engineer who lives in St. Louis, is one of nine students taking the class through the network. Some of the magazine's predictions were far-fetched, he said, but then again, "I've never actually met any of my USC professors face to face in the time I've been pursuing my master's degree."
Yorkin's experts' predictions that inexpensive household robots would hit the marketplace in the late 1990s seemed the most off base.
"Maybe they'll be common in 2023," said graduate student Alexander Zeng, 24, a Santa Barbara native. "The closest things we have now are those little vacuum cleaner things that move on their own."
But classmate Leonidas Pavlos Kyparissous, 25, of Greece argued otherwise, citing automated devices that control things like heating and air conditioning, stoves and coffee makers.
"These smart systems can do lots of things and can be controlled many ways — over the Internet, with phones," he said. "But the technology out there today is far better than what we're actually using."
The magazine also predicted more crowding, heavier traffic and more pollution in the year 2013. Population and traffic congestion have indeed increased, but air pollution has lessened, said student Matt Petros, 28, of Tarzana.
"They actually underestimated the growth of the Latino population. And manufacturing here decreased a lot more than they thought it would," Petros said.
"People back then thought Los Angeles in 2013 would be strangled by crime," said classmate Duwarahan Rajendra, 30, of Sri Lanka. "Things like that are very hard to predict."
As for Yorkin, she's surprised that people remember the magazine issue.
"I'm amazed that someone decided to save a copy of it," she said. "At the time, 2013 seemed so far away."