Fourth Industrial Revolution

How good are we at predicting the future?

Image: REUTERS/Morris Mac Matzen

Arwen Armbrecht
Writer and social media producer, Freelance
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One-hundred years ago, what did people think today’s world would look like?

Between 1899 and 1910, Jean-Marc Côté and other artists made a series of images predicting what the world would look like in the year 2000. These images originally appeared in the form of paper cards which were stuffed in cigarette or cigar boxes or as postcards. In total, 87 images are known to have been produced. The examples below show how difficult it is to accurately predict the technologies that will shape our future.

Can we do a better job at predicting the future today? What will the world be like in 2100? Sifting through data and examining trends, it might be possible to make realistic projections about population, economics or climate change. But at the current rate of technological advancement, putting our finger on the future of technology is a near impossible task; unless you’re Bill Gates.

800px-France_in_XXI_Century._Air_battle 800px-France_in_XXI_Century._Air_cab 800px-France_in_XXI_Century._Air_postman 800px-France_in_XXI_Century._Barber 800px-France_in_XXI_Century._Divers 800px-France_in_XXI_Century._Electric_scrubbing 800px-France_in_XXI_Century._Fishing 800px-France_in_XXI_Century._Flying_police 800px-France_in_XXI_Century._Helicopter 800px-France_in_XXI_Century._Intencive_breeding 800px-France_in_XXI_Century._Little_robbers 800px-France_in_XXI_Century._Race_in_Pacific 800px-France_in_XXI_Century._Robot_orchestra 800px-France_in_XXI_Century._Rolling_house 800px-France_in_XXI_Century._School 800px-France_in_XXI_Century._Toilette_madame 800px-France_in_XXI_Century._War_cars 800px-France_in_XXI_Century._War_plane 800px-France_in_XXI_Century._Whale_bus Face3-540x362 France_in_XXI_Century._Air_firefighters France_in_XXI_Century._Farmer France_in_XXI_Century._Latest_fashion France_in_XXI_Century._Water_croquet

Author: Donald Armbrecht is a freelance writer and social media producer. 

Image: A man trys out 3D goggles at the Vodafone stand at the CeBit trade fair in Hanover. REUTERS/Morris Mac Matzen 

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Fourth Industrial RevolutionEmerging Technologies
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