Popular Mechanics recently released a list of predictions for the future, titled “110 Predictions For the Next 110 Years.” While the list has its share of head-scratchers, the respected journal and its brain-trust showed remarkable deference to the challenges of prognostication. Editor-in-chief Jim Meigs even referenced his publication’s list from 1950 for both its prescience and its humorous miscalculations:
“Here’s the problem: Just because something is possible does not mean it is inevitable… Perhaps the trickiest part of making predictions is getting the timing right. Some advances are slowed by social inertia or economic impracticality. Others suddenly leap ahead as a result of a technological breakthrough such as the microchip.”
Surely, though, with 110 predictions across a 110-year period, and even with the impressive catalog of scientists, engineers, and journalists at the helm, some of them will look silly—someday, anyway. While analysis may vary, one thing is clear: These predictions seem a bit too focused on health and biology, as this category received far and away the most predictions. So it begs the question: Is our concern with health, like the agricultural and domestic emphases of past prognostications, reflective of ourgeneration? Or, is the technological pendulum actually, legitimately swinging toward this front—that is, the front of biological longevity?
To help answer this question, we’ve decided to pore through the list of predictions, and to hold up for scrutiny the various no-brainers and curiosities among them.