Top 87 Bad Predictions about the Future

When predicting the future, it is important to keep certain points in mind.

In regards to predicting the future Howard H. Stevenson says, Prediction is at least two things: Important and hard. Important, because we have to act, and hard because we have to realize the future we want, and what is the best way to get there.

The act of predicting the future --both near and distant-- has always been fraught with difficulty. Certainly, it was hard prior to Nostradamus' day. Throughout history and pre-history it has been the purview of witch-doctors and shamans, scientists and inventors, stockbrokers and entrepreneurs. The wisest of the wise and the wackiest of con men have all tried their hand at the proverbial (or literal) crystal ball.

Hindsight can be quite fun here. Looking back and marveling at predictions that came true for those lucky few that said the right thing at the right time can be amusing. But the real excitement happens when someone steps in it big time and inserts their own foot in their mouth. Here's a few highlights from a nicely compiled list.

Everything that can be invented has been invented. - Charles H. Duell, an official at the US patent office, 1899.*

It will be gone by June. - Variety, passing judgement on rock 'n roll in 1955.

The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty, a fad. - The president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford's lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Co., 1903.

Would you like more? Check out the full list at Top 87 Bad Predictions about the Future.

*Note: Apparently, this quote from the patent office is a widely recycled misquote. A few of the others on the list are also debunked. Don't believe everything you hear.