PREDICTIONS ENTERED INTO THIS FILE BY THE PROPHECYMASTER ON JANUARY 24, 2000 FOR THE MIT CLUB OF BOSTON
Some, perhaps many, people might consider these two speculations whimsical. There were just a few alums in the 1950s who, even then, thought about the future of natural language communication. And so I suggest, for 100 years from now:
1. Computer aided translation in the hands of individuals, and at modest cost, will routinely be used for government documents, User's Manuals, business correspondence, journal articles in science and engineering, but not yet for novels, plays and surely not for poetry. The input-output devices might not look at all like our present personal microcomputers.
2. English as a second language will be routine for more than half of the world's population. At present English as a first, second, or nth language is used by less than 10% of the 6 billion people on all of the world's continents.
1] Late in the 21st century, in the United Webocracy of America, we will reach the point where more people believe in the electron than in fairies.
2] Late in the 21st century, the United Webocracy of America will finally convert to the international system of weights and measures.
The SETI project will detect another civilization's entertainment broadcasts and they will have laugh tracks.
The SETI project will detect musical broadcasts from another civilization and be able to translate parts of them. They will tell a story of an individual losing its spousal unit, having its zarg die, and having its fleeb break down. SETI will be unable to tell whether they're listening to country & western or grand opera.
It will turn out that we're running out of fossil fuels after all.
Hotels will sell isolation weekends in which the customer is waited on only by humans and sees no electronic media; individuals enjoying these weekends will have to turn off their communications and entertainment implants.
Some cancer cures, weight-loss drugs, high-bandwidth handheld devices, cheap reliable fuel cells, room-temperature superconductors, and a cure for the common cold will all be found; anti-aging treatments, faster-than-light travel, cold fusion, and a way to get people to avoid using their high-bandwidth handheld devices at the table next to you will not.
Railroads will be replaced by maglev transport.
Scholars will spend the next hundred years writing analyses of what some will call the Internet Bubble and others call the Internet Revolution. All of their research will be paid for by grants from foundations started by successful Internet entrepreneurs.
One hundred years from now, pundits will still be predicting the following: the replacement of printed books by electronic media, the widespread adoption of Unix, a Massachusetts tax cut, a ban on tobacco sales, global warming, and salary equality between Sloan School grads and Harvard Business School grads.
I predict that the lesser "known" body energy systems, such as the Chinese Chi and Acupuncture meridians, and the thresholds between life and death will become measurable and more scientifically defined.
On the day when the religious right realizes how blessed they are to share with many gay couples the moral values of honesty, love, and commitment, they will end their hateful and ill-informed war against gay marriage and gay Americans, and begin seeking reconciliation and forgiveness for their actions.
Cancer will be prevented by a vaccine, but a new disease, dancer, will emerge to kill most of us.
In this century: we will learn how to travel faster than light!
We will stop and reverse aging and this will be okay. We will overcome the problems this will create.
We'll develop a powerful world government.
Atomic bombs will be used by terrorists resulting in their ultimate control by world government.
Life on Earth will become more and more beautiful!
No one will have a good debugger.
The educational system will be completely overhauled and actually get good.
Global warming will prove to have been correct, and New York will be tropical.
Harvard Business School will have lost its preeminence and will be a good but not exemplary school.
We will finally be blessed with a cure for AIDS, cancer, Alzheimer's disease etc..
There will finally be a woman president.
100 years from now, the smoot lengths will still be repainted on the Mass. Ave. bridge.
Syria and Israel announced their hopes for a peace settlement within the coming year.
In 10 years, there will be a bizarre genetics accident (completely predictable under chaos theory) that will allow a virus to escape from the International Baywatch Genetics Institute, infecting the entire population of Earth causing all men to look like David Hasselhoff.
Humans will be working, living and vacationing (ie traveling) between Earth and Mars like we do between the US and Europe in the year 2000.
Global weather shifting (now) and global warming (future) will make winters in Boston more bearable. No comments on the summers.
They will be a major war or natural catastrophe that triggers a significant global political realignment.
The distinction between robotics and prosthetics will disappear.
Fossil fuels will no longer be the dominant global energy source.
Men's formal wear will not change significantly.
You'll barely be able to read this.
Life will continue to surprise us.
All all of the other predictions in this capsule are wrong.
Life expectancy over 100.
Individual vehicles will be computer-controlled.
U.S. loss of manufacturing and balance of trade deficit will become a huge problem.
MIT will be premiere university in the world.
The Red Sox will not have won a World Series.
A major oil shortage will cause several wars.
At least one thermonuclear device will be detonated in a major city.
At least one cancer cure will be discovered.
The new Labor Party will win the White House which in turn will cause financial markets to crumble.
Molecular biology and micro/nano-electronics will one day converge.
The curse of the Bambino will turn out to be Y2K noncompliant.
Molecular biology will be so sophisticated that we will be able to reconstruct defective cells.
Jet-thrusted ice skates, skis and snowboards will exist.
MIT will still be a great institution.
In a recent issue of "Technology Review" Class Notes went back to the class of 1913. In 2100 the notes will go back to the Class of 1999.
MIT will acquire or merge with another college or university.
Man and woman on Mars by 2030.
Social Security will not run out.
Managing the planet to sustain human life will be a top global priority.
The Americans psyche will be severely challenged by the economic and military ascendancy of the People's Republic of China. Negative expressions of frustration over this will be very dangerous.
World population in 2100 will be lower than in 2050.
Fathers will become more important in families.
Health care will become nationalized.
Affirmative action will be demolished.
Universities, schools over the Internet.
More interactive entertainment (virtual reality; motion sensors).
Increasing the communication bandwidth of communications-integrating video with audio real-time.
Portable devices integrated with communications and lifestyle (audio entertainment, etc.).
All-inclusive travel vacation packages accessible to Internet - "create your own vacations".
The American media will start asking hard-hitting questions about the "millennium bug" in about six months when they suddenly remember how to count to 1000 and realize that 2000 is the actual last year of this millennium. Here comes the "Y2K plus one" bug!
Poverty (as we know it) will be eliminated.
Lifespan - average will exceed 112 years of age.
Population will be world's No. 1 concern.
Mars will be teeming with as much life as earth by 3000 A.D.
MIT will not exist.
People will wear bodysuits on which they will project the clothing they want to appear to be wearing (virtual clothing). The best programmers will be wearing the best clothes.
Bioengineered bodies will make humans more "perfect", but will remove much diversity.
The first nuclear war will not be as cataclysmic as we feared.
Easy energy sources (oil) will be gone.
We will find out if life on Mars ever existed and/or is feasible.
Black will still be in style.
Leisure suits will never come back.
2100 will see a rash of 80 and 90-year-olds seeking surgery to remove the tattoos and seal the piercings of their fad-driven youth..
Scarcity of natural resources will lead to dramatic social upheaval, and at least a partial return to more primitive technologies.
Someone will read this prediction.
The Internet will be more pervasive, but less world changing than anyone in the midst of this bubble would suspect.
By 2005 the dollar will be the currency of the Americas.
Dow=50,000 by 2005.
Gillette will sell an 8 bladed razor.
All cancer will be cured.
Humans will inhabit other galaxies beside the Milky Way by 3000, most of the solar system by 2100.
New fruits and veggies..
Janet will stand me up.