Sunday, January 03, 2010

The Shape of Things to Come

It's day three of this New Era, and already the public is consumed with anticipation as to what the future has in store for them. Rather than wait to find out, we cracked open our copy of The Book of Predictions, authored in 1981 by the creators of the People's Almanac. Within its pages, there are the predictions of futurists, Las Vegas psychics, and mathematicians. In its final chapter, the authors offer their own guesses about the form of the future. It's unclear how likely they considered these developments, but here's what they wrote for 2010:
    • A robot can now cross a busy highway without being hit
    • Football coaches still direct their teams from the bench, but their teams consist entirely of robots.
    • Because of rising inflation, the U.S. issues a new currency to soften the impact of high prices. Many realistic people turn to barter.
    • There is an open market for used and reconditioned body parts.
    • An artificial brain, as complex as the human brain, proves to have conscious thoughts and emotions.
    • Authoritarian governments in various nations are using mind and behavior control chemicals on their subjects to suppress dissent.
    • The Soviet Union attempts to to change its history by using tachyons.
    • The black pope of Rome transfers the Vatican to Jerusalem.
    • International terrorists, employing nuclear weapons, destroy a major world capitol. This leads to police repressions, which in turn leads to a worldwide disarmament conference. As a result all nuclear-weapon systems are scrapped.
    • One million people are living permanently in space colonies.


Obviously 2010 is going to be a very incredible year. It's a shame that a world capitol is going to be destroyed, and I'm not sure how I feel about the Soviet Union coming back, but at least we'll have robots that can play football.

Source: Wallace, Amy; Wallace, Irving; and Wallechinsky, David. (1981). "The Chronology of the Future." The People's Almanac Presents the Book of Predictions. 468: pp. 11-20. ISBN: 0-553-20198-0. Buy it here for a single penny and learn the secrets of tomorrow.


  1. We are living in the future
    I'll tell you how I know
    I read it in the paper
    Fifteen years ago

  2. Flyin' in our rocketships, talkin' with our minds.

  3. That John Prine is timeless.

  4. But could "futurists" have predicted that John Prine would be timeless?

  5. The future ain't what it used to be.