Bold predictions for the year 2112
Predicting the future is difficult, but that’s never stopped some clever folks from trying.
In 2112, people will still be buying this guy's 600-year-old book.
French seer Nostradamus is most famous. Among his many prognostications is that of his own death. Feeling ill, he told his secretary “You will not find me alive at sunrise” and he was right. He was found dead the next morning way back in 1566.
But the truth is that Nostradamus’ writings were so nebulous that future generations of crackpots were able to warp (or mistranslate) them into something resembling the facts of history. Truthfully, he struck out more than Babe Ruth and had zero home runs.
Less famous is John Elfreth Watkins Jr., a writer for the Saturday Evening Post who, in 1900 after interviewing the movers and shakers of the day, attempted to predict what life in America would be like in 2000. [See article]
Compared to Nostradamus, he was a genius. The Saturday Evening Post recently dug the 1900 article out of its archives and claims Watkins correctly predicted:
- Digital photography: In 1900, photos were black and white and snapping a pic of a friend doing tequila shots with Blondie was a lot more difficult that whipping a cellphone out of your purse or pocket. But Watkins wrote “photographs will reproduce all of nature’s colors… [They will be transmitted] 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.”
- Wireless phones: Local phone calls were rare in 1900 and long-distance phone calls were impossible because they relied on these old fashioned things called wires which had yet to span the continent. Watkins wrote “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.”
- TV: The ubiquitous boob tube was not commercially available until 20 years or so after Watkins wrote “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.” Watkins, like myself, failed to predict my $150 cable bill, however.
- The DeKalb Farmers Market: The ice box was patented in 1901 and quickly flooded U.S. homes, so it is not so remarkable Watkins wrote “Refrigerators will keep great quantities of food fresh for long intervals.” But he also predicted “Fast-flying refrigerators on land and sea will bring delicious fruits from the tropics and southern temperate zone within a few days. The farmers of South America… whose seasons are directly opposite to ours, will thus supply us in winter with fresh summer foods which cannot be grown here.”
Watkins also predicted Americans would grow two inches taller and the manufacture of military tanks, but his inherent optimism led him spectacularly astray.
- “A man or woman unable to walk ten miles at a stretch will be regarded as a weakling.” — A lot of folks are capable of walking long distances, but almost no one does it. Instead, obesity is the No. 1 health issue in America.
- “A university education will be free to every man and woman.” — The HOPE scholarship tried (thanks Zell!) but is going bankrupt and many Americans take on huge debt to get a degree. For-profit colleges are proliferating like lovebugs in August.
- “There will be No C, X or Q in our every-day alphabet. They will be abandoned because unnecessary.” — Perhaps it was late and Watkins was smoking weed?
- “Roaches will have been practically exterminated.” — He must not have been watching “Hoarders” on A&E.
I’d like to make a few bold predictions myself for the year 2112. Feel free to make your own in the comments section, but don’t cheat by writing rambling poems like a certain 16th Century prophet.
- No one will remember this article in 2112, much less write about it.
- The Falcons will struggle to score points in the playoffs.
- The Cindy Crawford homebot will be sold out.
- A woman will be president of the United States, but not tell voters she is bound by religion to do as her husband says.
- “Smaller government” will still be flying out of politicians’ mouths, but the size of government will be even bigger than the national debt.
- Minimum wage will be $100 an hour.
- It will be possible to “Google” something merely by thinking about it.
- Solar technology will advance to the point a panel the size of a hovercraft’s hood will power a home.
- MARTA rail will expand into Cobb County.