Thinking Out Loud

November 10, 2014

When People Try to Guess The Future

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 2:51 pm
It’s just about that time again…

In an article in The Futurist magazine, writer Laura Lee catalogues some of the worst predictions of all time:

“Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope for further developments.” —Roman engineer Julius Sextus Frontinus, A.D. 100

“The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon.” —John Eric Ericksen, surgeon to Queen Victoria, 1873

“Law will be simplified [over the next century]. Lawyers will have diminished, and their fees will have been vastly curtailed.” —journalist Junius Henri Browne, 1893

“It doesn’t matter what he does, he will never amount to anything.” —Albert Einstein’s teacher to Einstein’s father, 1895

“It would appear we have reached the limits of what it is possible to achieve with computer technology.” —computer scientist John von Neumann, 1949

“The Japanese don’t make anything the people in the U.S. would want.” —Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, 1954

“Nuclear powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality within 10 years.” —Alex Lewyt, president of the Lewyt Vacuum Cleaner Company, quoted in the New York Times, June 10, 1955

“Before man reaches the moon, your mail will be delivered within hours from New York to Australia by guided missiles. We stand on the threshold of rocket mail.” —Arthur Summerfield, U.S. Postmaster General under Eisenhower, 1959

“By the turn of the century, we will live in a paperless society.” —Roger Smith, chairman of General Motors, 1986

“I predict the internet … will go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse.” —Bob Metcalfe, InfoWorld, 1995

Aren’t you glad your faith does not rest on human words?

~

 

The Futurist, (September/October, 2000), p. 20–25

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