The thing about the future is … it doesn’t really exist. Like the horizon, or the end of the rainbow, no matter how you try to approach it, you never get any closer. It doesn’t make very good reading, anyway. Global warming, a natural cataclysm, a worldwide financial market meltdown or Donald Trump becoming POTUS. All have been ‘predicted’ … and that’s not counting the people who quote Nostradamus or the Book of Revelations.
Far better to go back to the past; see what it was predicted that the future would hold then … and see what really happened. And some of the things that did happen that seemed beyond our wildest dreams.
I’m looking at the early 50s; Britain was starting to recover from the Second World War, British goods were widely coveted, we had a new, young Queen on the throne … and I’d just started secondary school.
My reading of choice was a magazine … they refused to call it a ‘comic’ … called the Eagle, and they were pretty good at predicting some of the things to come. For instance ‘ever-flying aeroplanes’ could be used to make live television broadcasts possible from anywhere. These days, we call them ‘satellites’. They missed out on their prediction that flying boats would be the ‘airliner of the future’ … although it did make sense; the ‘runway’ would be almost indestructible, and not take up valuable land.
Some predictions got ‘pooh-poohed’ by those who ‘knew’:
‘Colour television? Never happen in my lifetime! We won’t be able to afford it anyway’
‘Fly to the Moon? As if we hadn’t enough to do on Earth!’
A quote from the Eagle Annual of 1953:
‘ … some day, give us robot factories which will produce pots and pans and clothes without any human labour at all’
Pots and pans and clothes? They can even produce aeroplanes and ships with only minimal human intervention.
But, even the far-sighted Eagle couldn’t predict the things we take for granted today. Even twenty years ago, I never dreamt I could communicate with friends on the far side of the world instantly and inexpensively. If anyone told me I’d have a video camera I could put in my pocket; a whole library of books on a device the size of a postcard or a music collection on something so small I keep misplacing it … I’d have laughed in his face!
So, no matter how gloomy predictions of the future are … always remember:
‘Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday’
To see more of what the future may hold, go to