Here at Paleofuture, we love failed predictions. It’s kind of our bread and butter. But shockingly, some of the failed predictions being passed around on the internet are often misleading, frequently taken out of context, or sometimes completely fabricated.
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.
Back in 1996 a young boy wrote a letter for school with predictions about the year 2016. Christopher Janitz was just nine years old and little did he know his mother would save that letter and present it to him on his 29th birthday.
Stephen Hawking is at it again, saying it’s a “near certainty” that a self-inflicted disaster will befall humanity within the next thousand years or so. It’s not the first time the world’s most famous physicist has raised the alarm on the apocalypse, and he’s starting to become a real downer. Here are some of the…
There seems to be two occasions when people most enjoy making predictions: anniversaries (think the American Bicentennial, New Year’s, etc) and dates that include round numbers (any year ending in zero). Such was the case in 1950 when many people halfway through the 20th century enjoyed predicting what life would be…
Brave New World used to be one of the most terrifying stories about a false utopia. It gave us the concept of “test tube babies,” and its name became synonymous with technological progress run wild. But many of the things Aldous Huxley predicted are coming true, and it turns out they’re not so scary.
In 1993, sci-fi author Bruce Sterling testified in front of a House subcommittee about the future of the internet — specifically, what “the Net” would look like in 2015.
Donald Trump will not be our next president. Neither will Bernie Sanders, Jeb Bush, nor Hillary Clinton. How can I say this with such confidence? Because none of these people have beards. And that was supposed to be the style for US presidents by now. At least according to one random magazine from 1966.
Recent headlines are warning that the Earth will enter into a “mini ice age” in about 20 years because the sun is heading towards a period of very low output. Here’s why this scenario is extremely unlikely.
Given the vastness of space, it may only be a matter of time before we make contact with intelligent extraterrestrials. But how might an alien civilization react to such a monumental meet-and-greet, and can we possibly know their intentions? Here’s what we might expect.
We are apparently so desperate as a civilization for news of the next iPhone that there are Apple diviners who specialize in predicting when it will come. Now the best of these diviners, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, says he’s convinced the new iPhone is coming in August.
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…
The fields of biotechnology and medicine are rapidly evolving, and with them their associated employment opportunities. Here are nine biomedical professions to look for in the coming decades.
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…
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.
Arthur C. Clarke made it his business to look into the future. And just like the dozens of prognosticators who would come before and after him, he got a few things right and a few things wrong.
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.
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.
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…