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How wrong can you be?

Predicting the future is easy - but getting it right is almost impossible.

Unfortunately, not only do we need to know which technologies will take off - and which won't - but also when the changes will happen.

In 1950 an article in a magazine called Popular Mechanics predicted that homes of the future would have plastic furniture, rugs, curtains. It also predicted floors that could be cleaned with water sprayed from a garden hose, but don't try this at home!

In 1966, the science fiction writer Arthur C Clarke wrote an article for Vogue magazine in which he suggested that houses would be able to fly by 2001.

He believed that entire communities would head south for the winter, or simply move to new locations when people got bored of the view from their windows.

Here are some other famous examples of predictions that turned out to be wrong:

'I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.' Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

'I do not hesitate to forecast that atomic batteries will be commonplace long before 1980.' David Sarnoff, chairman of the Radio Corporation of America, 1955

'By the turn of this century, we will live in a paperless society. 'Roger Smith, chairman of General Motors, 1986

What is "Atom"?
What is "Climate change"?
What is "Electricity"?
Fascinating WRONG fact
Fascinating WRONG fact

Imagine the future
Imagine the future

Dr Clive Sinclair
Dr Clive Sinclair

Paperless office!
Paperless office!