Predictions from the past

In 1931 the New York Times ask some smart people of the day for predictions of life in 2011.

The predictions are pretty remarkable. Many of them were surprisingly accurate, especially the one from William James Mayo (Mayo Clinic) that said that the average life span would increase from 58 to 70 by 2011. (it’s 77)

Interestingly, the really big failures were the ones that predicted the enormous benefits of applying scientific method to government. Apparently they forgot that it would be politicians applying those methods.

Also, I’d like to point out the dangers of the Doctor Disease, that propensity to assume that because you know a lot about one thing that you are just as smart about everything else. The most accurate predictions were made by people about their own fields. The least accurate were made about things outside their expertise.

Imagine that.

Anyone care to make a prediction about 2091?

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2 Responses to Predictions from the past

  1. Robb Allen says:

    Yeah. I won’t be here.

  2. mike w. says:

    Anyone care to make a prediction about 2091?

    Yeah, we’ll still be arguing over things like

    What’s better, Glock or 1911? T or A?

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