It’s interesting to think about what life will be like in the future. Watching The Jetsons as a kid made me wonder if we would fly instead of drive, have a robot take care of our every need, watch holographic TV in our living room and have a computer run the house. So far those types of things haven’t changed all that much, but progress has been made in other areas.
In 1961 an article was written predicting life in 2000. They got our mode of transportation very wrong, thinking we’d have rocket packs, that the family car would be soundless, vibrationless and self-propelled thermostatically and that the engine would be smaller than a typewriter. They thought there would be no common cold, cancer, tooth decay or mental illness (wrong on all counts) and that we’d be able to grow back amputated limbs. I chuckle at how wrong they were until I try to guess what life will be like 50 or 100 years and realize I probably wouldn’t do much better.
Knowing that makes it even more impressive that in 1900 a man named John Elfreth Watkins (dubbed “The Seer of the Century”) published an article in The Ladies’ Home Journal (which is still around by the way) predicting life in the future with impressive accuracy (for the most part).
The best I could find was a site with 29 of his predictions, although 13 and 26 are duplicates so I’m not sure how accurate the rest of the information is. It’s still interesting to see the types of things he expected to see in our day, and where he got things wrong or right.
Life in 1900 was so different than today, the things we now enjoy were probably just as outlandish to his readers as having personal rocket packs and living on the moon is to us.
If he were still living, I wonder what he’d predict for the next 100 years.