As the old saying goes, making predictions is tough, especially about the future. Here are some old forecasts about what 2014 is supposed to bring.
1964: Buckminster Fuller said “the word ‘worker’ will have disappeared . . . We will have to look it up in the dictionary.” The futurist who popularized the geodesic dome was convinced computers and robots would free mankind to think and create, thanks to “fellowships” from government and industry.
Result: CEOs found it cheaper to offshore.
1999: Bill Clinton was in the White House when the president’s own Office of Management and Budget declared that by 2014 America’s $3.7-trillion debt would be wiped out, and the country regularly running surpluses.
Result: America’s debt stands at $17 trillion.
2004: An online viral video called Epic 2014 predicted Google and Amazon would merge in 2008 to form “Googlezon” and that in 2014 the New York Times would give up its Internet effort to become a “print-only newsletter for the elite and the elderly.”
Result: The Times seems keen on the web. Its shares beat out Google and Amazon in 2013.
2004: Paul Moller, a Canadian-born inventor, toiled 40 years to build a flying car. He predicted within a decade the rich would be able to buy his Skycar model M400—a four-seat, vertical takeoff and landing craft that can be parked in a garage.
Result: The Skycar isn’t for sale, but its first manned test flight is in June 2014.