Alright: 2020 has come and gone… and that means we’re officially living in the future! Right?
Heck, the year “2020” itself even sounds futuristic – so it’s no wonder that so many predictions have been made about this specific year. Humans have always been fascinated by what’s coming next… and sometimes, we even believe we can predict it.
Of course… things didn’t go exactly as ANYONE expected. And while hindsight may be 20/20, it’s clear from these past predictions that “futuresight” is a bit weaker. Here are 7 predictions people have really made about the world we should be living in now.
1. First off, our houses should be flying… or at least 100% mobile.
The first failed prediction on our list comes from Arthur C. Clarke, renowned futurist and science fiction author known for 2001: A Space Odyssey. He certainly knew his stuff when it came to the future… but this one was a little off.
In 1966, Clarke stated:
“Given a compact power source…the house of the future would have no roots tying it to the ground. Gone would be water pipes, drains, power lines; the autonomous home could therefore move, or be moved, to anywhere on earth at the owner’s whim.”
While he was wrong about the flying part, he’s right that houses are becoming more self-contained. Just look at the trend in smart homes and eco-friendly power sources!
2. And forget driverless cars – APES should be responsible for driving us around. In fact, ALL animals should have entered the labor force by now.
In 1994, the RAND Corporation suggested that apes would become part of the workforce – even to the extend that they would be driving cars. They envisioned this as an alternative to robots, saying that “those houses that don’t have a robot in the broom closet could have a live-in ape to do the cleaning and gardening chores. Also, the use of well-trained apes as family chauffeurs might decrease the number of automobile accidents.”
We have too many questions here… so we’ll just say we’re happy we went the robot route on this one.
3. Also, our feet should have become one big toe by now.
This prediction dates back to 1911, when an optimistic surgeon named Richard Lucas stated that our “useless outer toes” would be used less frequently, even going as far as saying that man would become “a one-toed race”.
Err, thankfully that hasn’t happened (yet). Can you imagine stubbing that toe?!
4. We shouldn’t be using “C”, “Q” or “X”
At the turn of the 20th century, John Elfreth Watkins Jr., the curator of mechanical technology at the Smithsonian Institution, was asked about his predictions for the future. His response? Get rid of those pesky extra letters: “C”, “Q” and “X”.
Well, we won’t say anything about whether or not that’s a silly idea… but we WILL say it’d make our language “kwite eks-siting”, wouldn’t it?
5. Everyone should be rich and nobody should need to work.
Our favorite prediction of the bunch, this one comes from Time in 1966. They suggested that “machines will be producing so much that everyone in the U.S. will, in effect, be independently wealthy”.
They predicted that the average family would earn an income of around $300,000 (adjusted for inflation). Which sounds great… until you realize you could easily make twice that by creating Uber For Apes.
6. And hey, why isn’t everyone vegetarian yet?!
Sorry, meat lovers – your days are apparently numbered. Back in 1913, the former president of the American Meat Packers Association, Gustav Bischoff, predicted that “even the most wealthy will become vegetarian”.
His reasoning was due to the increasing cost of meat, so he was considering scarcity. However, trends have shown that vegetarian and vegan diets are indeed on the rise, so this one’s not too far off.
7. Finally, predicting the future should be a thing of the past by now.
We all love predicting the future. In fact, there’s even a “Chief Futurist” at Cisco Visual Networking. His name is Dave Evans, and in 2012, he believed he’d be out of a job by now.
“By 2020, predicting the future will be commonplace for the average person,” he told Mashable. “We are amassing unprecedented amounts of data… New image and video analysis algorithms and tools will unlock this rich source of data, creating unprecedented insight. Cloud-based tools will allow anyone to mine this data and perform what-if analysis, even using it to predict the future.”
In some ways, he’s already correct – just take the smart scale, for example. They help you monitor your body, then use the data to predict how it will react in the future.
In other ways, Dave was spot on – he left his role as Chief Futurist in 2014, shortly after making his prediction.
How about you – what did you hope for in 2020 (aside from, you know, not having to deal with a global pandemic)? Have any of your dreams for “the future” come true? Let us know in the comments below!