14 Predictions That Turned Out To Be Wrong
Since the dawn of time, humans have been making predictions about the future. Some of these predictions have been eerily accurate, such as world wars or the deaths of famous people. Experts and scientists disagree that the individuals making these predictions have superpowers. Instead, they often made vague predictions using history as an indicator. While occasionally getting it right, there are more predictions that turned out to be wrong.
Many of them are way off and not even close to being right. Some people predicted that essential items today would just be a fad that everyone would forget about in a short time. Others assumed online shopping would never become popular. One brilliant inventor even claimed that household items like furniture would consist of steel. Let’s take a trip back in time and check out some of the worst predictions.
14 Predictions That Turned Out To Be Wrong
1. The World Will End on January 1, 2000
As 1999 came to an end, experts and computer geniuses feared a technological doomsday dubbed “Y2K.” At the time, most computers ended in two digits. Therefore, the brightest minds assumed when the year turned to “2000,” all computers would register it as “1900.” Thus, a global and financial catastrophe would follow. Instead, the planet didn’t miss a beat. It’s one of the biggest prediction blunders in history.
2. Cinema Won’t Last
Charlie Chaplin first gained fame in vaudeville as one of the top stage performers. However, in the early 1900s, Chaplin began transitioning to cinema. Despite having some early success, Chaplin believed movies would soon disappear like every other trend.
Chaplin said, “The cinema is little more than a fad. It’s canned drama. What audiences really want to see is flesh and blood on the stage.” Chaplin went on to become one of the biggest movie stars of the silent era, proving his own theory wrong.
3. Cars Are Just a Fad
In the late 1800s, Henry Ford revolutionized the world when he created the automobile. Nowadays, it’s impossible to imagine life without cars. Well, not everyone saw the potential of the car. The president of the Michigan Savings Bank cautioned Henry Ford’s lawyer not to invest in the Ford Company in 1903.
As The Telegraph reported, the president of the bank said, “The horse is here to stay, but the automobile is only a novelty – a fad.” Luckily, this prediction didn’t come true.
4. Heavier Than Air Flight Is Impossible
Nowadays, airplanes leave airports all over the world, traveling to far and away places. At one point, air flight seemed nearly impossible. Despite many scientists and experts working tirelessly since the 1800s, several people still didn’t think it was possible.
In 1895, Lord Kelvin infamously stated, “heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” Eight years later, Orville and Wilbur, The Wright Brothers, invented, built, and flew the first airplane.
In 1903, the Wright Brothers conducted the first steady and maintained flight of a heavier-than-air aircraft. Like many inventions on this list, flying has changed our lives forever.
5. Online Shopping Won’t Be a Thing Because Women Change Their Minds
Amazon and online shopping make it possible to purchase items without ever leaving the house. Well, back in the late 60s, the idea of shopping from home seemed ridiculous.
A 1966 Time magazine article titled The Futurists discussed the likely failure of home shopping in 2000. It noted. “[R]emote shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop – because women like to get out of the house, like to handle the merchandise, like to be able to change their minds.”
6. Television Won’t Last
The invention of television threatened the movie industry. For years, movie theatres and the radio dominated entertainment. However, TV allowed people to stay home and watch the latest episode of their favorite show. There was one person in Hollywood who didn’t fear the tiny box, Darryl F. Zanuck.
From 1944 to 1956, Zanuck was the head of 20th Century Fox and was certain television was just a fad. “Television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months,” he said. “People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.”
7. The Light Bulb and Electricity Are Just a Fad
Inventor Thomas Edison’s creations are still impacting lives today. His work with electricity transformed how people live and communicate. Furthermore, the light bulb was a groundbreaking invention. When financier J.P. Morgan wanted to invest in Edison and his company, Morgan’s father tried to dissuade him.
Junius Morgan was confident electricity was just a fad that would become another forgotten relic. Furthermore, the president of the Stevens Institute of Technology, Henry Morton, believed the light bulb was a joke and a flash in the pan.
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8. Telephones Will Never Catch On
The invention of the telephone was another moment in history that changed life forever. In the late 1870s, Alexander Graham Bell received the first patent for the telephone. The creation of the phone changed communication and contributed to future technological advancements.
In 1876, Bell attempted to sell the patent to the president of Western Union, William Orton, for $100,000. Orton turned him down and mocked the phone as a “toy.”
In an internal memo, he said, “Why would any person want to use this ungainly and impractical device when he can send a messenger to the telegraph office and have a clear written message sent to any large city in the United States?”
9. Nobody Wants an iPhone
The phone has evolved dramatically since 1876. There isn’t a person in the world who leaves home without their phone. In 2007, Apple re-invented communication with the iPhone. It was more than just a phone. It was a tiny computer in your back pocket.
However, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer thought the iPhone would bomb worse than a stand-up comedian on amateur night. He said in a 2007 interview, “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.” Shockingly, the CEO of Microsoft made this bold and wrong statement.
10. Recorded Music Will Ruin the Industry
Music has been a part of life dating back centuries. Classical musicians like Mozart and Beethoven often performed incredible pieces for a live audience. Nowadays, the average person has thousands of hours of music on their phone. Well, one composer was confident that recorded music would end the industry forever.
In a 1906 article, The Menace of Mechanical Music, composer John Phillip Sousa cautioned the public about the dangers of recorded music, saying “it will be simply a question of time when the amateur disappears entirely and with him a host of vocal and instrumental teachers, who will be without field or calling.”
11. The Internet Won’t Replace the Daily Newspaper
The Internet changed how we communicate, consume entertainment, and get information. At one time, newspapers were the only way to get the news and stay up to date. The Internet changed how we consume news drastically, with the information now just a click away.
In 1995, Newsweek assumed the Internet could never replace it. In an article titled “Internet? Bah!,” writer Clifford Stoll felt the Internet was overhyped and unimpressive. Furthermore, he was confident it couldn’t replace the print media. “The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher, and no computer network will change the way government works,” he declared.
12. All Women Will Be Giants by the Year 2000
During the 50s, writers and scientists made bold predictions that didn’t pan out. For instance, Associated Press writer Dorothy Roe laid out an interesting position in a 1950 article. Citing supposed scientific evidence, Roe proclaimed that all women would be giants by the year 2000.
She claimed, “Her proportions will be perfect, though Amazonian because science will have perfected a balanced ration of vitamins, proteins, and minerals that will produce the maximum bodily efficiency, the minimum of fat.” While a world full of giants would be fun, it didn’t work out that way.
13. The Hose Is the Wave of the Future
In the 1950s, traveling sales associates would go door to door selling various cleaning products. In a 1950 New York Times article titled “Miracles You’ll See In Fifty Years,” science editor Waldemar Kaempffert predicted the water hose would change house cleaning. He told the fictional story of a housewife, Jane Dobson.
He predicted, “When Jane Dobson cleans house, she simply turns the hose on everything. Why not? Furniture (upholstery included), rugs, draperies, unscratchable floors – all are made of synthetic fabric or waterproof plastic. After the water has run down a drain in the middle of the floor (later concealed by a rug of synthetic fiber), Jane turns on a blast of hot air and dries everything.”
14. Everything Will Be Steel
Along with Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison is a vital figure in history. He invented several products that continue to impact humanity. However, Edison was only right some of the time. In a 1911 Miami Metropolis interview, Edison predicted that all products would consist of steel. He literally meant every item.
He said, “The baby of the 21st century will be rocked in a steel cradle; his father will sit in a steel chair at a steel dining table, and his mother’s boudoir will be sumptuously equipped with steel furnishings.” Even geniuses get things wrong sometimes.
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