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2020 Predictions That Didn't Come True

Where's my monkey butler?

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Posted by Roger Eddowes on 16/12/2019 @ 8:00AM

It's hard to believe that we're at the end of another year. The world turns, we grow a little older and civilisation changes around us. But what did futurologists from decades ago think was going to happen? And how accurate were they?

Apparently, in 2020 we'll never have to work again as technology will be doing everything for us!

Apparently, in 2020 we'll never have to work again as technology will be doing everything for us!

copyright: nexusplexus / 123rf

The first prediction I'd like to cover is that we'll all have personal helicopters! Who hasn't wanted to step out of their front door, climb aboard, and be at the office within a matter of minutes? This prediction from a magazine in 1951 claimed that in 2020, every family would have at least one helicopter in the garage!

"Next up is a bit of a weird one!"

That we would have evolved so quickly that our feet would just be one big toe. The Royal College of Surgeons thought that way back in 1911 that evolution was progressing at such a pace that all those bones in our feet would fuse together into one digit. Let's hope the nerves in our 'one big foot' had evolved so that it hurt less when we kick the corner of the bed in the dark!

Apparently, the letters C, X and Q will no longer be part of the English alphabet! So, no more queuing, playing the Xylophone or even chomping on chocolate! And we'll be speaking in compressed sentences to communicate more efficiently, with little or no grammar. That last part is already happening if you read any young person's text messages, but whatever next? We'll be communicating in hieroglyphs? Oh, hang on ...

The inventor of AC current, and renowned lightning tamer, Nikola Tesla, predicted that people would no longer smoke tobacco or drink tea and coffee. Thankfully he was right about tobacco, but who amongst us could cope without a nice cup of tea? I wonder if he thought we'd get our stimulants from electric shocks?

Well, this is a strange one. All roads will become tubes! In 1957, it was thought that we'll travel from home to a tube station, drive into the tube and be fired pneumatically to our destination! Hmmm ... channel tunnel anyone? Thankfully, we don't have to drive the 22 miles under the sea as a handy train will take us and our vehicle while we relax.

Did you know that in 1966, Arthur C Clarke predicted that by 2020, our houses would float in the air and we could move them anywhere in the world? Well, we have houseboats which can move, but all of them? A very strange prediction for such a renowned author. I wonder if he'd watched too much Jetsons?

And finally, for this blog post, the last prediction that I discovered was that everyone would be as rich as lords and no-one would have to work anymore. In 1966, Time Magazine predicted that our society would be so automated by 2020 that machines would produce absolutely everything for us and we'd all earn £300,000 a year for doing nothing!

So there you go. Some of my personal favourite wild predictions from the 20th Century, and I haven't even mentioned monkey butlers!

Until next time ...

Business Godparent


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About Roger Eddowes ...


Roger trained at Edward Thomas Peirson & Sons in Market Harborough before working at Hartwell & Co, followed by Chancery, as a partner. He started Essendon Accounts and Tax with Helen Beaumont in 2014 as a general practitioner with a hands-on approach.

Roger loves getting his hands dirty, working with emerging, small-to-medium and family businesses to ensure they receive the best possible accountancy advice. Roger utilises an extensive network of business contacts to leverage the best guidance and practical solutions.