The New Year is a time for remembrance, resolutions and plans for the future.
As we gear up for 2013 and make personal resolutions unlikely to survive the first month of the year, let’s look at failed predictions of the past as well as future predictions that may or may not come to fruition:
The first failed prediction goes to the Rolling Stones’ first talent agent, Eric Easton, who said this of his band, “The singer will have to go; the BBC won’t like him.” Fifty years later, the Rolling Stones and their lead singer, Mick Jagger, are still performing and expected to join us at the Coachella Music Festival this year. I am not sure what ever happened to Mr. Easton.
Dr. Peter Duesberg, a molecular biologist at U.C. Berkeley said this of the HIV/AIDS virus in 1988, “That virus is a pussycat.” Tens of millions of deaths later, we are nearing a cure but do not have one as yet. As for Duesberg, he continues to deny that HIV causes AIDS while working at U.C. Berkeley.
Tom Watson, the Chairman of IBM and not the golfer, said this of computers in 1943, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” While a ten year timeline proved this statement accurate, looking out a few generations makes the statement look silly.
Margaret Thatcher who Sean Hannity reported as having died on August 12th despite the complication of still breathing made this prediction in 1969, “It will be years…not in my time…before a woman will become Prime Minister”. She became prime minister of the United Kingdom ten years later.
Continuing with the ten year timeline, the New York Times said this of space flight in 1936, “A rocket will never be able to leave the Earth’s atmosphere.” Ten years later, the first rocket left our atmosphere.
One of the most absurd statements goes to W.C. Hueper, MD of the National Cancer Institute who said this of smoking in 1954, “If excessive smoking actually plays a role in lung cancer, it seems to be a small one.” I think his ‘MD’ stands for ‘major dumba**.’
The Futurist magazine has reported the following predictions on our near future:
Robert Moran of the Brunswick Group predicts that the United States will enter a ‘Rateocratic Era.’ Moran defines this ‘Rateocracy’ as a society where people rate everything – their employers, the products they purchase, the stores they attend, their teachers, etc. As a result of this, corporations, schools and people will become hyper-aware of their reputations. He made no mention of government though.
The National Institute of General Medical Sciences believe that researchers will begin using ‘virtual’ rats instead of live rats in lab testing. I believe this may lead to the elimination of the virtual cold and virtual cancer. How this affects live versions of these illnesses is anyone’s guess.
A seemingly likely futuristic item is roll-out of solar ivy that ‘grows’ on walls. The University of Utah is working on a fake ivy similar to the fake trees that serve as cell phone towers. This fake ivy will host photovoltaic panels that will create solar power.
Lastly, the University of Haifa in Israel is working at keeping mosquitoes away from us by having us spray on the smell of their natural predators. I am looking forward to outdoorsmen doused in Eau de Dragonfly or Parfum á Damselfly.
On that note, I want to wish you a New Year filled with happiness, health and prosperity where all of your predictions come true.