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Why Scientific American's Predictions from 10 Years Ago Were So Wrong

Recently, we did an experiment: We took an outdated issue of a respected popular science magazine, Scientific American, and researched exactly what happened to the highly-touted breakthroughs of the era that would supposedly change everything. What we discovered is just how terrible we are at predicting the long arc… » 5/04/15 12:40pm 5/04/15 12:40pm

1970s Researchers Predicted Debit Cards Would Be Great For Surveillance

In late October of 1971 a group of academics and technologists gathered at a conference at Georgetown. They were given the task of devising the most comprehensive (yet invisible) surveillance program imaginable. What they came up with sounds an awful lot like our current debit card system. » 4/30/15 1:23pm 4/30/15 1:23pm

'Optimistic' Predictions From 1950 That Warned of the Coming Dystopia

It's so easy for us to look back at old predictions for the future and see them as quaint or overly optimistic. But when we take a closer look—when we stop to really process what's going on in these predictions—we often find that they weren't merely silly or naive. They were warning of the horrific, dystopian future… » 3/30/15 2:33pm 3/30/15 2:33pm

The Medical Miracle Headlines of the Future (from 1951)

On January 2, 1951, the Rex Morgan, M.D. comic strip featured a New Year's greeting insisting to readers that time is measured by progress instead of simply by years. And it's not a bad thought! But looking at the "headlines of the future" from 1951, one can't help but be a little bummed out. » 2/19/15 4:41pm 2/19/15 4:41pm

11 Ways The Future Could Turn Out Differently Than You Expect

Many of us, owing to an intuitive sense of where technological and social progress are taking us, have a preconceived notion of what the future will look like. But as history has continually shown, the future doesn't always go according to plan. Here are 11 ways the world of tomorrow may not unfold the way we expect. » 1/29/15 3:36pm 1/29/15 3:36pm

Nikola Tesla's Incredible Predictions For Our Connected World

We might complain that it's 2015 and we're still waiting on our hoverboards. But if Nikola Tesla were alive today, he'd probably wonder where the hell our fuel-free, super fast airplanes were. And who could blame him? Fuel-free planes aside, he actually predicted a lot of 21st century technologies quite accurately. » 1/06/15 3:15pm 1/06/15 3:15pm

We've Been Incorrectly Predicting Peak Oil For Over a Century

When the residents of Tulsa, Oklahoma buried a car in 1957 as part of an enormous time capsule, they included containers of gasoline. The good people of Tulsa reasoned that the folks of 2007 might not have any gas left to fill up the Plymouth Belvedere that they were interring for a fifty year journey into the… » 12/11/14 1:45pm 12/11/14 1:45pm

Driverless Cars and Eating Dogs: Predictions for Year 2000 from 1980

What do you imagine will be the biggest challenges that the world will face in 20 years? Energy or food scarcity? Overpopulation? What about our biggest triumphs? Cures for cancer and extended lifespans? Smarter humans? Well, these would all sound similar to the people of 1980 when they looked 20 years into the future… » 11/06/14 1:56pm 11/06/14 1:56pm

Letters, Ranked (by Futurists of 1900)

Do you like the letter C? Have any particular attachment to the letter X? How about the letter Q? Well, back in the year 1900, some people thought we'd be rid of them by now. And while they haven't actually disappeared, the futurists of 1900 were certainly right about that whole condensing of language thing. I mean,… » 10/02/14 12:49pm 10/02/14 12:49pm

1970s Kids Dressed Up For the Year 2000

What will people dress like in the year 2000? That was the question in 1978 when kids at Lincoln Middle School in Indiana were encouraged to participate in a dress-up contest for "Year 2000 Day." Their answer? Apparently a little bit Judy Jetson, a heavy helping of astronaut, and maybe a dash of... Darth Maul? » 9/30/14 12:07pm 9/30/14 12:07pm

Say Goodbye to Video Stores, Mailmen, Pennies...

The February 1989 issue of Life magazine predicted that, by the year 2000, many staples of modern American life might find themselves on the scrapheap of history. Life predicted that by the year 2000 people would need to say goodbye to everything from film (pretty much) to all-male clergy in the Catholic church (not… » 9/03/14 4:19pm 9/03/14 4:19pm

How One 1920s Feminist Imagined Our Futuristic High-Tech World

Josephine Daskam Bacon was an author known for her adventure serials that featured female protagonists. But in 1929, she took a break from her regular fiction writing and slipped on her futurist goggles for an article in Century magazine titled "In Nineteen Seventy-Nine." Bacon imagined just how much progress women… » 8/12/14 5:16pm 8/12/14 5:16pm