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Predictions: The History of the Future

A Contrafabulists Production

"Books will soon be obsolete in schools," Edison predicted in 1913. "I think there is a world maket for maybe five computers," Thomas Watson, the president of IBM, said in 1943. "Within a generation ... the problem of creating 'artificial intelligence' will substantially be solved," Marvin Minksy said in 1965. "In 50 years, there will be only 10 institutions in the world delivering higher education and Udacity has a shot at being one of them," Sebastian Thrun predicted in 2012. "We will reach Mars by 2025," Elon Musk insisted in 2016.

Technologists love to predict the future. Indeed, there is an entire Wikipedia entry devoted to the predictions of futurist Ray Kurzweil. His track record for getting "the future" right is... not good.

This Contrafabulist project will track the predictions being made about the future of science and technology. Who's right? Who's wrong? And who are the loudest voices shaping not so much the future itself as much as our imagination about what the future is supposed to look like?

The Week in Predictions: 9 December 2017

(You can also stay up-to-date via this project's blog.)

Image credits: Bryan Mathers