When predictions go wild and a little crazy

November 6, 2007 at 3:00 am Leave a comment

Kim photoAs regular ThinkingShift readers know, I love stuff about future predictions. Part of me just wants to be able to hang around for the next 500 years (without getting old of course) and witness all the mind blowing technology that will no doubt emerge. Not too sure I want to hang around though to see if the planet totally blows a gasket or if the world will be a dark, dystopian place.

So on 2spare.com, I found some wild predictions about the future that went a little awry. 87 to be exact. The front runner for number one crazy prediction has to be that of Nikita Krushchev, former leader of the now kaput USSR, who uttered confidently in 1958 that the mighty Soviet Union would bury the West – Communism would triumph over greedy Western capitalism. Oops. Alas, the Milton Friedman-style rampant, destructive global capitalism model is what we’re now all facing. Privatization of public infrastructure using taxpayer’s dollars so that corporatists can make obscene profits. But that’s another post.

Back to the classic predictions. Charles Darwin clearly underestimated the impact of his survival of the fittest theory when he wrote in 1869 “I see no good reasons why the views given in this volume should shock the religious sensibilities of anyone”.

“They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist….”. These were the last words uttered by General John Sedgwick, spoken as he looked out over the parapet at enemy lines during the Battle of Spotsylvania in 1864. Seems the elephant was well and truly hit.

Margaret Thatcher clearly wasn’t gazing into her crystal ball in 1969 when she was quoted as saying “It will be years – not in my time – before a woman will become Prime Minister.” Some people might say it would have been better if she hadn’t become PM. And I wouldn’t want this dude as my doctor – Dr Peter Duesberg said in 1988, “That virus is a pussycat”, when he was referring to HIV.

And my all time favourite? A 1926 prediction.To place a man in a multi-stage rocket and project him into the controlling gravitational field of the moon where the passengers can make scientific observations, perhaps land alive, and then return to earth – all that constitutes a wild dream worthy of Jules Verne. I am bold enough to say that such a man-made voyage will never occur regardless of all future advances.” Note to Lee DeForest, American radio pioneer and inventor of the vacuum tube, don’t come out with bold utterances, they may come back to haunt you. And you’d think this dude being an inventor might have had a wilder imagination.

The 87 predictions are arranged into various categories: technology; rockets; atomic and nuclear power; radio; film; computers; television and so on. Go off and have some fun.

Let’s just hope that those of us who might suspect that KM is dead, dying or teetering on the brink don’t one day regret making bold assertions :)-

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Entry filed under: Future predictions.

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