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87 Failed predictions of the future


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14 replies to this topic

#1
Roh234

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http://www.2spare.com/item_50221.aspx

What is true, just, and beautiful is not determined by popular vote. The masses everywhere are ignorant, short-sighted, motivated by envy, and easy to fool. Democratic politicians must appeal to these masses in order to be elected. Whoever is the best demagogue will win. Almost by necessity, then, democracy will lead to the perversion of truth, justice and beauty. -Hans Hermann Hoppe


#2
truthiness

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Right now, somewhere, Ray Kurzweil is laughing.
You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one

#3
Prolite

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I see a trend. People tend to negate and doubt future technology right after it comes out, or maybe 7-10 years before.
I'm a business man, that's all you need to know about me.

#4
OrbitalResonance

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This is my favorite

«Dear Mr. President: The canal system of this country is being threatened by a new form of transportation known as 'railroads' ... As you may well know, Mr. President, 'railroad' carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of 15 miles per hour by 'engines' which, in addition to endangering life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring the livestock and frightening women and children. The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed
Martin Van Buren, Governor of New York, 1830

We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers. - Carl Sagan


#5
Logically Irrational

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This kind of thing shows the positive and negative sides of Future Timeline. On one hand, it proves that even reliable sources, such as the ones used here, can be dead wrong. On the other hand, it's exciting to know that even some of the really "out there" prediction on the timeline may themselves be underestimations. Of course, you could argue that we're much better at predicting things in modern times than in the 1800s.

My personal favorite:

"And for the tourist who really wants to get away from it all, safaris in Vietnam"»
Newsweek, predicting popular holidays for the late 1960s.

Posted Image

Good call Newsweek, good call.
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!

#6
jjf3

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My Favorite: "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." --Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977 But seriously a lot of future predictions could be very wrong popular science always has an article from their past of impracticable devices that people were dreaming up in the fifties
"Did you really expect some utopian fantasy to rise from the ashes?" Thomas Zarek-- Battlestar Galactica.

#7
Zachemc2

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In 2016, we'll add the Chinese superpower stuff to this list after their property bubble bursts and their economy collapses.

#8
Caiman

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This is a great list indeed. I do feel we're probably going to get better and better at predicting our technological future indeed, though I wonder if there's any authoritative dismissals around and accepted right now that will be laughed at in 100 years like we do some of these... crazy to look back and think educated and scientifically minded people thought that devices like the light bulb, telephone, aeroplane and computer had no prospects!

~Jon


#9
Yuli Ban

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My Favorite: "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." --Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977 But seriously a lot of future predictions could be very wrong popular science always has an article from their past of impracticable devices that people were dreaming up in the fifties

Remember "Dinner pills" or whatever they were? Flying cars and jetpacks represent technology that has come into fruition but just isn't practical.

 

This is my favorite ┬źDear Mr. President: The canal system of this country is being threatened by a new form of transportation known as 'railroads' ... As you may well know, Mr. President, 'railroad' carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of 15 miles per hour by 'engines' which, in addition to endangering life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring the livestock and frightening women and children. The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed.┬╗ Martin Van Buren, Governor of New York, 1830

Holy crap, this is amazing.

Guest list, you've come through for me again.


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


#10
FutureOfToday

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I wish Margaret Thatcher's prediction had come true. This country would be a better place if that bitch had never been PM.

#11
Squillimy

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This kind of thing shows the positive and negative sides of Future Timeline. On one hand, it proves that even reliable sources, such as the ones used here, can be dead wrong. On the other hand, it's exciting to know that even some of the really "out there" prediction on the timeline may themselves be underestimations. Of course, you could argue that we're much better at predicting things in modern times than in the 1800s.

 

I think we're alot better at predictions now because our predictions are actually based on scientific data. It's like how some people claim longevity is impossible today, but we're already proving some of the causes of aging. Or people claim that artificial intelligence is impossible, but there's evidence of it already and at the rate that computer power has been going for 100 years, we will simulate the brain itself in maybe 10 years time. Perhaps there is no use for Augmented reality? But we can show concept videos right now that are very possible with the right hardware / software.

 

Alot of these predictions were just based on intuition and not scientific progress or paying attention to already existing trends. A similar argument would be saying "Genome sequencing will never become useful in medicine as it is too expensive and holds too much information" when the human genome project was first announced; yet one can obviously tell now that it's getting cheaper and cheaper. Alot of us educated people have learned our lesson in society, especially when using articles like this as a reference.

 

Artificial intelligence will soon surpass human intelligence, and bionic body parts will soon pass human ability. Virtual reality can be taken in place of natural reality, which itself can be enhanced through augmented reality. Natural every day environments will begin to be replaced with improved ubiquitous computing and intelligent ones. This will be the start of an era where we begin to transcend the limitations of biology, nature, and reality itself.. The politicians need to get ready for this era - the era of post-humanism - because it's coming fast.


Edited by Squillimy, 23 September 2013 - 07:14 PM.

What becomes of man when the things that man can create are greater than man itself?


#12
ralfy

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http://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/



#13
JCO

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This is a great list indeed. I do feel we're probably going to get better and better at predicting our technological future indeed, though I wonder if there's any authoritative dismissals around and accepted right now that will be laughed at in 100 years like we do some of these... crazy to look back and think educated and scientifically minded people thought that devices like the light bulb, telephone, aeroplane and computer had no prospects!

I do not think predictions will improve in the future. The main reason for this is the predictions are made by humans and are based on individual hope and fears. The Future Timeline looks like it has a better chance of being more accurate as it tries to pull from many sources. That said the prediction based on anything but concrete plans will often be wildly wrong.


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


#14
Yuli Ban

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Here's the thing about future predictions: they're actually often right.

Think about it:  do we have robots, flying cars, jetpacks, space travel, and all that jazz? Hell yeah, we do.  But we forgot practicality. This is the difference between sci-fi and cy-fi, aka science fiction and cyber-fiction. Science fiction is entertainment about the future. Cyber-fiction is our lives in 50-100 years.

We simply do not need to go to the Centauri system. Phasers are cool, one of the coolest weapons sans lightsabers (which, as we've recently learned, is actually feasible) but why use laser guns? Why not electricity itself? Can't we be more creative with how we kill people? Do we really need to kill people at all?

We simply do need things like body augmentation, especially those whose body has failed them (or they failed their bodies). I could definitely use an advanced, smart-phone friendly version of the Emotiv Insight. Cyber telepathy? Hell yeah, that could be VERY useful. Especially in conjunction with Oculus VR, which already could be usable in global communications alongside entertainment.

The creation of nanites that can destroy cancer is USEFUL, so when we develop the means to create nanites, we'll create nanites and thus discover a myriad squared of new uses for them.

 

We have space travel. But who's doing the space traveling? Robots. Why? Because humans can't possible survive in space without Herculean protection. If we had mind uploading that would allow humans to take the body of space traveling robots, that would possible ease some of the problems, just as cybernetic augments would easily allow for future humans (and some present humans) to get to the Centauri system, no sweat. Er, oil. Whatever. But sci-fi (not cy-fi) claimed that we'd easily be able to jump to hyperspace, if we just ignore inertial, as our fleshy mortal selves.

Even that asinine Ancient Aliens program keeps harping that the "visitors" are "flesh and blood beings."  

 

Jetpacks of the past are not possible for a variety of reasons. Fuel is one of them. Weight distribution is another. But we do have them. In fact, you can buy them. Same with flying cars and mini-flying saucers (if propeller-lifted). And quadcopters? Want to create your personal robot swarm? There you go.

Robots in general. We expected artificial intelligence and robots replacing the working class by 1980 in some predictions. Why didn't it happen?

Because it's not possible? Oh wow, the  first answer must be the correct one! Even though it is equally incorrect. Robots circa 1980 were little better than robots 1970 and 1990 and 2010 for the reason that, 1- computer intelligence increases at a fixed rate (give or take) and we rely on a classical computing model rather than one that would actually replicate neural development; 2- the dexterity of machines is limited. Without muscles of their own, they'd need to be modular at a near molecular level to ever replicate the true efficiency of a human (though they've long been more accurate and precise than us). This would also conserve energy and even allow for energy storage alongside more human-like movement in nearly all aspects, from hands to walking and running to facial patterns.

Robots are only just now in the embryonic stages of art-muscular dexterity/art-neural intelligence. This means that our predictions of robots will come true now that they're becoming practical for usage. This is in itself a singularity because we've not a robot quite like that before so our past predictions won't be useful.

 

The point of this all is: we can predict the technology, but we can't predict what it leads to. Often, it leads to new technologies we possibly could have imagined if we had a tinge more creativity. No one could have ever thought that the Apollo missions would lead to smart phones, right? We assume that breakthroughs only affect their field. Space exploration only affects space exploration; communication tech only affects communication tech.

Video games came about through experimenting with computers, which were developed for seemingly everything but interactive gaming.

 

Will there be failed predictions on the timeline? You bet. I see your timeline and raise my own prediction: 3/4s of all the things on this timeline will not come true as stated, but in either a similar form, a form thrice cubed more amazing than could have been predicted because of an earlier innovation/invention leading to things that couldn't have been predicted, or falling short of what was predicted.

We don't have floating cities (not exactly practical), but we do have some of the most advanced shit mankind has ever seen (most of it practical).

If we think in terms of practicality, of how we can use this technology in our lives or apply it to a new development, then some things become more feasible than others right off the bat. Transhumanism is simply useful no matter which way you slice it.

Though Hermes took it a bit too far, replacin' something a bit too unreplacable/futurama reference

Though we still do have to have an open mind with practicality and not get too utilitarian. Sometimes tech surprises us. What we thought we'd never need winds up becoming a indispensable part of life.  After all "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home," right? And now we're hooking computers up to our brains.

So basically, my whole post might as well been written by a monkey on the world's most potent crack. Ignore.


Edited by The Young Homo Maximus, 01 October 2013 - 04:06 PM.

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


#15
Yuli Ban

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What I'm trying to say is: human life is not plotted. We don't live in a novel. Our story is very much character driven. And if you've ever read, seen, or played a completely character driven story, you know that it's predictably unpredictable. The actions of a person 10,000 miles away can directly affect your life and all of the human world, sooner or later.


Edited by The Young Homo Maximus, 01 October 2013 - 04:12 PM.

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





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