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The Most Far-Sighted Accurate Predictions Ever


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#1
Futurist

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Which accurate predictions do you consider to be the most far-sighted ever?

As for me, here is one of my candidates for this:

French political theorist Alexis de Tocqueville predicted that a Cold War between the U.S. and Russia would eventually occur over a century in advance:

 

http://www.bartleby.com/73/2045.html

 

"There are now two great nations in the world which, starting from different points, seem to be advancing toward the same goal: the Russians and the Anglo-Americans. Both have grown in obscurity, and while the world’s attention was occupied elsewhere, they have suddenly taken their place among the leading nations, making the world take note of their birth and of their greatness almost at the same instant. All other peoples seem to have nearly reached their natural limits and to need nothing but to preserve them; but these two are growing…. The American fights against natural obstacles; the Russian is at grips with men. The former combats the wilderness and barbarism; the latter, civilization with all its arms. America’s conquests are made with the plowshare, Russia’s with the sword. To attain their aims, the former relies on personal interest and gives free scope to the unguided strength and common sense of individuals. The latter in a sense concentrates the whole power of society in one man. One has freedom as the principal means of action; the other has servitude. Their point of departure is different and their paths diverse; nevertheless, each seems called by some secret desire of Providence one day to hold in its hands the destinies of half the world."



#2
JCO

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Terrifyingly accurate. The picture that it paints of the source of the strength also show how they may be weakening. America no longer has a frontier to explore and exploit and Russia has run out of battles they can safely fight. I wonder how effective these 2 empires will be at adapting to the future.


Confirmed Agnostic - I know that I don't know for sure and I am almost certain no one else does either.


#3
Futurist

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Terrifyingly accurate. The picture that it paints of the source of the strength also show how they may be weakening. America no longer has a frontier to explore and exploit and Russia has run out of battles they can safely fight. I wonder how effective these 2 empires will be at adapting to the future.

Agreed.

 

Frankly, I suspect that the U.S. will be more successful than Russia at adapting to the future; only time will tell for sure, though.



#4
TheComrade

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Friedrich Engels' vision of future WWI for 40 years before it actually happened... not sure, does it count as "far-sighted"? Anyway, it was amazingly accurate:

 

Germany would put about five million armed men into the field, or ten per cent of the population, the others about four to five per cent, Russia relatively less. But there would be from ten to fifteen million combatants. I should like to see how they are to be fed; it would be devastation like the Thirty Years’ War. And no quick decision could be arrived at, despite the colossal fighting forces.

 

The devastations of the Thirty Years’ War compressed into three or four years, and spread over the whole Continent; famine, pestilence, general demoralization both of the armies and of the mass of the people produced by acute distress; hopeless confusion of our artificial machinery in trade, industry and credit.

 

All of this will be ending in general bankruptcy; collapse of the old states and their traditional state wisdom to such an extent that crowns will roll by dozens on the pavement and there will be nobody to pick them up; absolute impossibility of foreseeing how it will all end and who will come out of the struggle as victor.


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#5
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Friedrich Engels' vision of future WWI for 40 years before it actually happened... not sure, does it count as "far-sighted"? Anyway, it was amazingly accurate:

 

Germany would put about five million armed men into the field, or ten per cent of the population, the others about four to five per cent, Russia relatively less. But there would be from ten to fifteen million combatants. I should like to see how they are to be fed; it would be devastation like the Thirty Years’ War. And no quick decision could be arrived at, despite the colossal fighting forces.

 

The devastations of the Thirty Years’ War compressed into three or four years, and spread over the whole Continent; famine, pestilence, general demoralization both of the armies and of the mass of the people produced by acute distress; hopeless confusion of our artificial machinery in trade, industry and credit.

 

All of this will be ending in general bankruptcy; collapse of the old states and their traditional state wisdom to such an extent that crowns will roll by dozens on the pavement and there will be nobody to pick them up; absolute impossibility of foreseeing how it will all end and who will come out of the struggle as victor.

Yes, that counts as far-sighted. :)



#6
TheComrade

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Another amazingly accurate politics-related prophesy. F.Dostoyevsky and his "Some quite special remarks about the Slavs" written in 1877, where he describes the relation of future independent Eastern European Slavic states (didn't even existed by then) towards Russia:

 

"Russia never will have and never has had anyone who can hate, envy, slander, and even display open enmity toward her as much as all these Slavic tribes will the moment Russia liberates them and Europe agrees to recognize their liberation... I repeat: after their liberation they will begin their new life by asking Europe - England and Germany, for instance - for guarantees and protection of their freedom, and even though Russia will also be part of the concert of European powers, they will do this precisely as a means of defense against Russia...

 

It will be particularly pleasant for the liberated Slavs to announce and trumpet to the whole world that they are educated peoples capable of attaining the heights of European culture, while Russia is a barbaric country, a gloomy northern colossus that she does not even have pure Slavic blood and is the oppressor and hater of European civilization.

 

Russia must seriously prepare herself to watch all these liberated Slavs rushing rapturously off to Europe to be infected by European forms, both political and social, to the point where their own personalities are lost; and so they will have to undergo a whole long period of Europeanism before comprehending anything of their own significance as Slavs...

 

Of course, the moment there is any serious disaster they will certainly turn to Russia for help. No matter how much they may spread hatred, gossip, and slander against us in Europe as they flirt with her and assure her of their love, they will always instinctively feel (in a moment of disaster, of course, but not before) that Europe is the natural enemy of their unity...

 

Russia will have nothing at all to borrow from the Slavs, either from their ideas or from their literature; they have a lot of maturing to do before they can teach us anything. On the contrary: through this whole century, perhaps, Russia will have to struggle against the narrow outlook and stubbornness of the Slavs, against their bad habits, against their certain betrayal of Slavdom for the sake of the European forms of social and political organization they are so eager to embrace..."

 

Damn true!



#7
Recyvuym

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Did the Slavs hate Russia even more than Hitler did? I don't know that much about them.

 

I think 40 years is still relatively prescient. It would be like someone predicting the specifics of WWIII in 2056 today. So much could change between now and then, getting the whens and whos and whats right would be impressive.

 

Of course, we only tend to see the predictions that did end up coming true, not the many, many false prophesies out there.

 

I'm a fan of the 'crowns will roll' quote. First heard it from Dan Carlin.


I loudly predicted the second wave of the Global Financial Crisis would begin by the 31st of March 2017. But I was wrong! Observe my well-deserved public humiliation here, here and here. Let this be a warning to all of you who try to guess the future. Yes, that means you, reading this now! Put that prediction back in your pocket! Do it now, before it's too late! (Also check out my userpage, it's even funnier.)


#8
TheComrade

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Did the Slavs hate Russia even more than Hitler did?

 

Not sure about Hitler. Anyway he was just a person. I don't think modern Germans (as a whole nation) suffering from some anti-Russian hatred. Other hand, I've read many Ukrainian forums (long before their maidan-2013) and they are 100% coincides with this Dostoyevsky's quote: "we, Ukrainians, are educated Europeans and Russia is a barbaric country, they doesn't even pure Slavs, they are oppressors and haters of European civilization". I also saw many posts where those "educated Europeans" dreaming and fantasizing (with detailed descriptions) how they will torture captured "moscals" and their children. And not Ukrainians only... Right now, Poles are busy destroying the last Soviet WW2-era war memorials. So yes, these "Slavic tribes" hate us, sincerely and passionately.

 

From Russian side, i've never seen anything similar. For example, the most common feelings towards modern Ukrainians is a mixture of pity and despise, indeed: "we have nothing at all to borrow from them, they have a lot of maturing to do before they can teach us anything". Typical Russian-Ukrainian online "battle" looks like this:

 

Spoiler

 

...and i took part in many such "battles" :) This is, of course, only my personal (probably very biased) point of view.



#9
Yuli Ban

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John Elfreth Watkins, Jr.

Predicted: Television and mobile phones in 1900.
Mr. Watkins was a civil engineer, a railroad man who became a curator at the Smithsonian Institute after suffering a disabling accident. In 1900, he contributed an article to Ladies’ Home Journal titled “What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years”. Within this article, Mr. Watkins made lots of predictions, large and small, for the next century; some of these proved, despite their counter-intuitiveness, to be amazingly accurate. Among the more astonishing predictions—and keep in mind this was over a hundred years ago:
“Man will see around the world. Persons and things of all kinds will be brought within focus of cameras connected electrically with screens at opposite ends of circuits, thousands of miles at a span.” —could apply to satellite television, the Internet, or both.
“There will probably be from 350,000,000 to 500,000,000 people in America.” —most were guessing much higher at the time, as the American population was exploding.
“Ready-cooked meals will be bought from establishment similar to our bakeries of today.” —Freeze-dried and packaged foods, not to mention electric refrigerators, were still far on the horizon.
“Photographs will be telegraphed from any distance. If there be a battle in China a hundred years hence, snapshots of its most striking events will be published in the newspapers an hour later . . . . photographs will reproduce all of nature’s colors.” —digital photography and picture sharing. And perhaps most impressive of all:
“Wireless telephone and telegraph circuits will span the world. A husband in the middle of the Atlantic will be able to converse with his wife sitting in her boudoir in Chicago. We will be able to telephone to China quite as readily as we now talk from New York to Brooklyn.” —nobody on the planet not named Tesla was thinking along these lines, except apparently Mr. Watkins.
Unfortunately, Watkins died before seeing a single one of his predictions come to fruition, in 1903.

 

http://www.visualnew...-110-years-ago/


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#10
Yuli Ban

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From the 1660s: One day humans would transplant organs from one body to another

 

In a handwritten list from the 1660s, Robert Boyle made a number of guesses about what the future would hold including "the cure of diseases at a distance or at least by transplantation."

Considering he lived in the pre-Enlightenment era of magic and superstition, the idea of organ transplantation is incredibly forward-thinking. He also predicted GPS "the practicable and certain way of finding longitudes," and other modern innovations.

Source: The Royal Society

 

And a few more!


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#11
Recyvuym

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PhoenixRu, my point was more that the Third Reich churned up six million Slavs in concentration camps, lumping them next to Jews as the lowest of the low, pests to be exterminated. But I guess the Nazi reign only lasted a decade, whereas it sounds as though the Slavs and Russians have been going at it for centuries.


I loudly predicted the second wave of the Global Financial Crisis would begin by the 31st of March 2017. But I was wrong! Observe my well-deserved public humiliation here, here and here. Let this be a warning to all of you who try to guess the future. Yes, that means you, reading this now! Put that prediction back in your pocket! Do it now, before it's too late! (Also check out my userpage, it's even funnier.)


#12
Yuli Ban

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“There are at the present time two great nations in the world, which started from different points, but seem to tend towards the same end. I allude to the Russians and the Americans. Both of them have grown up unnoticed; and whilst the attention of mankind was directed elsewhere, they have suddenly placed themselves in the front rank among the nations, and the world learned their existence and their greatness at almost the same time.

All other nations seem to have nearly reached their natural limits, and they have only to maintain their power; but these are still in the act of growth. All the others have stopped, or continue to advance with extreme difficulty; these alone are proceeding with ease and celerity along a path to which no limit can be perceived. The American struggles against the obstacles which nature opposes to him; the adversaries of the Russian are men. The former combats the wilderness and savage life; the latter, civilization with all its arms. The conquests of the American are therefore gained with the ploughshare; those of the Russian by the sword. The Anglo-American relies upon personal interest to accomplish his ends, and gives free scope to the unguided strength and common sense of the people; the Russian centres all the authority of society in a single arm. The principal instrument of the former is freedom; of the latter, servitude. Their starting-point is different, and their courses are not the same; yet each of them seems marked out by the will of Heaven to sway the destinies of half the globe.”

Alexis de Tocqueville, 1831.

 

1831! At this point in time, I wouldn't be surprised if half of Russia had never heard of America (and the same vice versa)!

 

Check out Democracy in America. I know it's the OP for the thread, but it still gets me how dead-on he got it.


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#13
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Predictions1900.jpg


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#14
funkervogt

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Alvin Toffler's The Third Wave (1980) was frighteningly accurate. I'm still reading through it. At times, it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Here are a few random quotes I wrote down:

 

'Never before have so many people in so many countries--even educated and supposedly sophisticated people--been so intellectually helpless, drowning, as it were, in a maelstrom of conflicting, confusing, and cacophonous ideas...Every day brings some new fad, scientific finding, religion, movement, or manifesto...We see a mounting attack on establishment science. We see a wildfire revival of fundamentalist religion and a desperate search for something...to believe in.'
 
 
'Today, instead of masses of people all receiving the same messages, smaller de-massified groups receive and send large amounts of their own imagery to one another. As the entire society shifts toward Third Wave diversity, the new media reflect and accelerate the process.
 
This, in part, explains why opinions on everything from pop music to politics are becoming less uniform. Consensus shatters.
 
...Above all this, the de-massification of the civilization, which the media both reflect and intensify, brings with it an enormous jump in the amount of information we all exchange with one another. And it is this increase that explains why we are becoming an "information society."'
 
 
"The radical de-massification of the media, the invention of new media, the mapping of the earth by satellite, the monitoring of hospital patients by electronic sensors, the computerization of corporate files--all mean we are recording the activities of the civilization in fine-grain detail...we shall before long have the closest thing to a civilization with total recall. Third Wave civilization will have at its disposal more information, and more finely organized information, about itself than could have been imagined even a quarter-century ago."
 
 
'Today, cheap mini-computers are about to invade the American home..."Some day soon," chirruped a Dallas microcomputer retailer, "every home will have a computer. It will be as standard as a toilet.
 
Linked to banks, stores, government offices, to neighbors' homes and to the workplace, such computers are destined to reshape not only business, from production to retailing, but the very nature of work and, indeed, even the structure of the family.
 
...consumers have been deluged with hand-held calculators, diode watches, and TV-screen games. These, however, provide only the palest hint of what lies in store: tiny, cheap climate and soil sensors in agriculture; infinitesimal medical devices built into ordinary clothing to monitor heartbeat or stress levels of the wearer...'
 
 
'Telecomputing Corporation of America offers a service called simply "The Source," which for minuscule costs provides the computer user with instant access to the United Press International news wire; a vast array of stock and commodity market data; educational programs to teach children arithmetic, spelling, French, German, or Italian; membership in a computerized discount shoppers' club; instant hotel or travel reservations, and more.
 
The Source also makes it possible for anyone with a cheap computer terminal to communicate with anyone else in the system. Bridge, chess, or backgammon players who so desire can play games with someone a thousand miles distant. Users can send private messages to one another or to large numbers of people all at once, and store all correspondence in electronic memory. The Source will even facilitate the creation of what might be called "electronic communities"—groups of people with shared interests. A dozen photo buffs in a dozen cities, brought together electronically by The Source, can converse to their heart's delight about cameras, equipment, darkroom techniques, lighting, or color film. Months later they can retrieve their comments from The Source's electronic memory, by subject, date, or other category.'

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#15
funkervogt

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Another amazingly accurate politics-related prophesy. F.Dostoyevsky and his "Some quite special remarks about the Slavs" written in 1877, where he describes the relation of future independent Eastern European Slavic states (didn't even existed by then) towards Russia:

 

"Russia never will have and never has had anyone who can hate, envy, slander, and even display open enmity toward her as much as all these Slavic tribes will the moment Russia liberates them and Europe agrees to recognize their liberation... I repeat: after their liberation they will begin their new life by asking Europe - England and Germany, for instance - for guarantees and protection of their freedom, and even though Russia will also be part of the concert of European powers, they will do this precisely as a means of defense against Russia...

 

It will be particularly pleasant for the liberated Slavs to announce and trumpet to the whole world that they are educated peoples capable of attaining the heights of European culture, while Russia is a barbaric country, a gloomy northern colossus that she does not even have pure Slavic blood and is the oppressor and hater of European civilization.

 

Russia must seriously prepare herself to watch all these liberated Slavs rushing rapturously off to Europe to be infected by European forms, both political and social, to the point where their own personalities are lost; and so they will have to undergo a whole long period of Europeanism before comprehending anything of their own significance as Slavs...

 

Of course, the moment there is any serious disaster they will certainly turn to Russia for help. No matter how much they may spread hatred, gossip, and slander against us in Europe as they flirt with her and assure her of their love, they will always instinctively feel (in a moment of disaster, of course, but not before) that Europe is the natural enemy of their unity...

 

Russia will have nothing at all to borrow from the Slavs, either from their ideas or from their literature; they have a lot of maturing to do before they can teach us anything. On the contrary: through this whole century, perhaps, Russia will have to struggle against the narrow outlook and stubbornness of the Slavs, against their bad habits, against their certain betrayal of Slavdom for the sake of the European forms of social and political organization they are so eager to embrace..."

 

Damn true!

"a gloomy northern colossus that she does not even have pure Slavic blood "

Huh? Why is that? 



#16
Yuli Ban

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#17
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The article below sort of kind of fits this thread.  Although it is not a perfect match, I thought it better to post here than start another thread.

 

 

A historian explains how people of the past imagined the future

 

https://www.theverge...terview-science

 

Introduction:

 

(The Verge) People have always imagined the future, but starting in the 20th century, these visions involved more and more technology. So says science historian Peter Bowler, author of A History of the Future: Prophets of Progress from H.G. Wells to Isaac Asimov.

 

The Verge spoke to Bowler about the idea of progress and predictions of the past. This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

 

You write that a lot of the novels and popular science writing during the early 20th century were concerned with the “idea of progress.” Can you expand on that?

 

(Answer) During this period, “progress” was increasingly being seen in terms of technology. Throughout the 19th and 20th century, industrial progress was seen as very important and the sense of the future was shaped by the sense of what technology could do: rationally planned cities with your beautiful high-rises and airports on top of airports and helicopters, and all this giving people a better life.

 

In earlier periods, the utopian future tended to be defined in terms of the social relations put into place. But increasingly, people thought the utopian future (including these better social relations) would depend on the application of technology — which is why it was so easy for narrow-minded technophiles to focus on a particular technology which they see as going to give us all a wonderful new life


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls





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