Sunday, September 05, 2004
Hopelessly Wrong Predictions
Here's an amusing list of quotes about the future as assembled by Dennis List. A good deal are out of context, can't actually be identified as having failed yet, or could well have been true for the distance into the future the author might have been speaking of (e.g. 10 years from 1902).
Most instructive, in my mind, is the following quote:
The horse is here to stay, but the automobile is only a novelty." - President of Michigan Savings Bank, 1903, advising Henry Ford's lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Company.
Certainly amusing in retrospect, but (and you'll forgive me if my knowledge of the history of automobiles is off here) if I were to have seen a noisy, rickety, slow machine uncomfortably chugging down the machine, I certainly could see saying the same thing. It wasn't until better motors, cheaper construction, and smooth roads came along (I'm guessing) that it became obvious that cars were, ahem, going somewhere. I can't fault the speaker in this case for not realizing that man's drive to transport himself by something wholly of his own making is very strong indeed.