Take a second and think of what the world will be like 25 years from now. Hover cars? Teleporters? The new, new, new iPad? Far out, or relatively modest, nailing predictions a quarter of a century into the future is no easy task. Yet, back in 1987, a number of science fiction writers had a go at guessing what 2012 would look like. Let’s see how they went.
To save us having to trawl the bowels of the internet, Writers of the Future has a handy compilation of predictions from 1987. It includes a number of fascinating predictions, including this completely off-the-mark one from Tim Powers, who believed necro-solicitors would be all the rage:
Probate and copyright law will be entirely restructured by 2012 because people will be frozen at death, and there will be electronic means of consulting them. Many attorneys will specialise in advocacy for the dead.
And there are others, such as Orson Scott Card, who managed to get a few details right:
Worldwide economic collapse will have cost America its dominant world role; but it will not result in Russian hegemony; their economy is too dependent on the world economy to maintain an irresistible military force … If America is to recover, [it] must stop pretending to be what [it was] in 1950, and reorder [its] values away from pursuit of privilege.
More than a few are a combination of surprisingly accurate and totally wrong, such as this message from Sheldon Glashow:
What will life be like in the year 2012? There will have been no nuclear war, and the threat of such a war will have been removed by the mutual nuclear disarmament of the major powers … Japan will be the central economic power in the world, owning or controlling a significant part of European and American industries … Many diseases will be curable: diabetes and gout, for example, will be treated by ‘genetic engineering’ techniques. Multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease will be effectively cured. However, AIDS will not yet have been controlled.
A good many feel we’d have people on Mars by now or, at the very least, a couple of moon bases to Earth’s name. Others are hopeful we haven’t been wiped out by war, famine or disease. Despite the negativity, most express some optimism.
Time to get 2012’s predictions ready for the 2037 time capsule. Anyone care to have a shot?
Image: Wikipedia (Public domain)