Here's How One Optimistic Parent From 1989 Imagined 2014

Is it cruel to have children when the world is so terrible? That's not a new question. And when a newspaper columnist in Michigan asked it in 1989, he came down on the side of no. The world of the future — the world of 2014, to be exact — was going to be just wonderful enough that having kids was a great idea. Was he… » 6/22/14 11:02am 6/22/14 11:02am

Here's What The Top Prediction Models Say About The World Cup

The World Cup kicks off in a few hours, which means the results of the many, many prediction models that have popped up in the last few weeks will finally be tested. Below are some of the best examples; this is a good time to remind you that betting markets are usually the strongest predictors of all, if you're just… » 6/12/14 3:20pm 6/12/14 3:20pm

How Mad Men-Era Americans Imagined the World Would Look In 1970

The AMC show Mad Men is in its final season, with its mid-season finale (yeah, I don't know what that means exactly either) airing this past Sunday. The show started with 1960 as its backdrop, and we now see characters in the world of 1969. A lot changed in that decade and, of course, it's a fictional representation… » 5/27/14 6:21pm 5/27/14 6:21pm

5 Predictions For The Future That Aren't So New After All

Today, the New York Times asked seven entrepreneurs and tech executives about what's in store for the future. It's a fascinating snapshot of futurist thinking in 2014. But these aren't just the dreams of tomorrow — most of them are the dreams of yesterday's tomorrows as well. » 5/02/14 3:23pm 5/02/14 3:23pm

Flash Boys Author Michael Lewis's Old Predictions For the Future

Author Michael Lewis is best known for uncovering hidden corners of our present, whether in baseball (Moneyball), the financial collapse (The Big Short), or high frequency trading (this month's Flash Boys). But in the September 26th, 1996 issue of the New York Times Magazine, Lewis took a swing at predicting the… » 4/08/14 4:39pm 4/08/14 4:39pm

The Best "Psychic" Scam of All Time

Why do we believe people can predict the future? Usually because we remember the hits and forget the misses. Or in some cases, the misses are hidden from us. Like in my favorite "psychic" scam ever, which also happens to be the plot of a classic 1957 Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode, "Mail Order Prophet." » 11/07/13 1:33pm 11/07/13 1:33pm

This IBM Scientist Predicted Netflix Before The Internet Even Existed

If you predicted the decline of deadtree books or the rise of services like Netflix streaming, say, 25 years ago, you'd be considered a damn good prognosticator. But what if you predicted those things back in 1964—before the internet even existed? Amazingly, a scientist from IBM did just that, long before any of these… » 10/02/13 3:38pm 10/02/13 3:38pm

Asimov's 2014 Predictions Were Shockingly Conservative For 1964

In 1964, sci-fi legend Isaac Asimov penned a piece for the New York Times with his predictions for the world of 2014. Looking at the World's Fair of 50 years hence, Asimov imagined 3D TV, underground cities, and colonies on the moon. Many people online have hailed this as an incredible example of prescient thinking,… » 8/29/13 4:24pm 8/29/13 4:24pm

The Inspector Gadget Tech That Ended Up Becoming Real

Back when many of us were still kids and many more had yet to even be twinkles in our mothers' uteri, Inspector Gadget was the apotheosis of all of technology's promises—many of which, it turns out, came true. Vanity Fair has a wonderful little collection of those gadgets of the inspector's that were particularly… » 7/11/13 4:14pm 7/11/13 4:14pm