Saturday, October 04, 2014

On Prognositication

The Internet did not catastrophically collapse in 1996 as Robert Metcalfe (co-inventor of the Ethernet) predicted. Apple was not ‘dead’ by 1997 as Fortune, Business Week and the New York Times told us. Neither wireless nor airplanes made war impossible – Marconi and the Wright brothers got this wrong.

I don’t use a nuclear powered vacuum cleaner nor do I live in Arthur C. Clarkes’ vision of the autonomous home that flies into the air to head south for the winter. Apparently I was supposed to in 2001 when not travelling around in my Fred Freeman 1999 Rocket Belt or taking saucer shaped flying ships to NASA’s permanent moon base which still hasn’t appeared after 50 years of prediction. Edison’s prognostication that Gold would become worthless never came true. My automated vehicle of the 1980s that David Rorvik assured us that we would get, never turned up. Without a getaway vehicle, it’s fortunate that Donald Michael’s warning that by the 1980s we would be replaced by intelligent machines never actually happened. Of course, I could have escaped to my 2014 underwater city of Isaac Asimov … except it’s not there. Nor am I taught by electrocution, Fireman do not have flying wings and I’m still waiting for my personal helicopter in my garage (I was supposed to get that in 1968).

Prognostication is a very sorry business.