The whole point of making predictions about the future really serves one purpose: to entertainment future generations as they look back, look around them, and laugh.
As 2019 takes its final breath, let's have some fun and look at some of the predictions of what our present day would look like — and maybe make a few of our own for the sport of our successors.
The Future is Now
A post from BestLife shares old predictions of what life would be like in the year 2020:
- Apes will serve as gardeners, maids and chauffeurs (prediction from 1994)
- Highways will be replaced by tubes (1957)
- The earth's population will be 11 billion and we'll finally reach Mars (1997)
- Who needs a flying car? We'll have flying houses (1966)
- People will gain the abilities of telepathy and teleportation (2014)
- Human feet will no longer have toes (1911)
- We will all be vegetarians (1913), but we won't actually have to eat (2005)
All of these, some of them surprisingly recent, missed the mark pretty widely. The following predictions, as reported by Business Insider, were a bit closer to our present reality:
- In the '60s (the 1660s), one forward-thinker looked past his pre-enlightenment ideas and predicted organ transplants and GPS
- In 1865, author Jules Verne penned "From the Earth to the Moon," which featured uncanny similarities to the Apollo 11 landing a century later
- Nikola Tesla told The New York Times in 1909 that people would eventually be able to communicate with one another, wirelessly, on personal devices
According to Futurism.com, transportation was big on the minds of would-be prophets. A headline in the Washington Post from 1918 read "Automobile of Tomorrow Will Be Constructed Like a Moving Drawing Room."
French artist Jean-Marc Côté took a more organic approach with vehicles like the whale bus, which would transport people underwater thanks to the help of an accommodating whale.
John Elfrith Watkins, Jr. was working as curator for the Smithsonian in 1900 and, according to the same post, foresaw entertainment in the form of concerts and operas being pumped into peoples' homes within a century. He also predicted the ability to transmit photos instantly around the world, and "ready-cooked meals … served hot or cold to private houses" via “automobile wagons.” He wasn't far off with these, but his other predictions have not quite panned out. Mr. Watkins also said we would drop extraneous letters from our alphabet (here's looking at you C, X and Q), and kill off roaches, mice and every wild animal on earth.
And finally, Time.com shares the following predictions from history:
- 1933: Humans will evolve into one-eyed creatures
- 1951: Television will lead to widespread illiteracy
- 1966: Every kind of food will be made from kelp, which will be harvested underwater by frogmen
Maybe we don't see many cyclopses running around, but we must remember the story isn't over yet. Perhaps many, if not all, of these prognosticators were correct — it's just too early to tell.
Whatever 2020 actually holds, we wish you a year of health, growth and above all, life to the fullest.
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