Visions of the Future

Posted Monday, April 21, 2008, 6:50 PM

Stumbled across a great blog that collects predictions of the future made throughout the last 120 years. It's fascinating to see what they inevitably got wrong, but, more surprisingly, what they got right! Ranging from 1880 through to 1990, you can see amazing imagery and articles that try to guess what life will be like "in the future" (a popular choice of this mysterious period is the year 2000, which of course is now long past so we can legitimately see how wrong they were - though some of their ideas may yet come to pass in some distant time).

What amazed me was that predictions as recent as 1995 were still pessimistically under-estimated. The mind boggles that we can still not see something as basic as predicting growth and expansion properly. What they didn't seem to do is understand that if something seems like a bad idea, it doesn't mean it can't or won't happen - people can be persistent, or foolishly stubborn, about something that is presented to them that promises much (even if it delivers little). More importantly, if it seems unworkable now, it doesn't mean that a solution may not be found for it eventually that will then make it a profitable and useful idea.

Here's my prediction for the future: "Some very intelligent people will continue to make foolishly inaccurate predictions for the future." I think I'm safe with that one.

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