Why predicting the future is pointless

This cartoon that Hugh MacLeod of Gaping Void shared on Twitter this morning was printed in an issue of Popular Mechanics in 1950. Now Popular Mechanics is and I am sure was back then, a fairly well-respected magazine. In the 50 years between when this was created and the year 2000 actually began the world saw a lot of changes and innovation, but I will argue that between now and say 2058 we will see a rate of innovation 3 or 4 times that of the previous 50.

So what am I saying? Well if we were this far off predicting the future 50 years ago when innovation was moving at a slower pace, what is the point in trying today.

I would also like to point out a few humourous observations from the above cartoon.

  1. They never thought that over the next 50 years the role of women might change or their attire.
  2. The ashtray on the table. Come-on if you are predicting waterproof houses why not predict ash less cigarettes?
  3. Isn’t that giant drain a little bit of a hazard?
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