BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS
Bah humbug! Is what I say to those “Experts”!
Why do we allow ourselves to be manipulated by these so called “Experts” with their incessant doomsday predictions & outlandish claims as to what will or will not happen in the near future (anything from a few years to a few decades)?
There isn’t a week that goes by where some naysayer, somewhere, with credentials to prop up their claims, is quoted in the media, or has a “Scientific” report published.
As a Digital Nomad I am very interested in what the future (especially the next decade) has in store for society as, if I can get ahead of – or at least keep up with – the curve, I can leverage that into income!
Here are some examples of what I’m talking about:
The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.
This statement was made by Sir William Preece, Chief Engineer of the British Post Office in 1876.
“Television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.”
Stated Darryl Zanuck of 20th Century Fox in 1946. Had the appearance of the television not progressed, he would probably have been quite correct. In those days the difference between watching a TV at home and going to the cinema was vast, and Zanuck couldn’t foresee the advance in screen size and quality of picture on a television set.
“Everyone’s always asking me when Apple will come out with a cell phone. My answer is, ‘Probably never.’”
I don’t think there is any excuse for this most misguided prediction from David Pogue in the New York Times in 2006, as the first iPhone was introduced in 2007!
“Two years from now, spam will be solved.”
Was an observation by Bill Gates of Microsoft in 2004. He doesn’t predict how spam will be stamped out, but he was way off the mark as spam currently accounts for over 90% of all emails sent!
“No-one will need more than 637kb of memory for a PC”
Bill Gates (again) in 1981 – although he denies ever saying it – mind you, I think I’d be denying that one!
“There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.”
Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corp.
“I predict the Internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse.”
1995 Robert Metcalfe, founder of 3Com, inventor of Ethernet, tech pundit and columnist
“We’ll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Internet? Uh, sure.” (as in no way!)
Clifford Stoll, astronomer and author 1995
“There’s just not that many videos I want to watch.”
Steve Chen, CTO and co-founder of YouTube. Chen’s concern in 2005 about YouTube’s long-term viability was put to rest two years post-launch, when Google paid $1.65 billion to acquire the site.
“We will never make a 32-bit operating system.”
Bill Gates, co-founder and chairman of Microsoft 1989
“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
Thomas Watson, president of IBM, 1943
“Nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality within ten years.”
Alex Lewyt, president of Lewyt vacuum company, 1955
With hindsight it’s easy to scoff at all of those but, at the time, these people were recognised experts in their fields & yet they were oh so wrong!
Then there are the academic & scientifically based “Time bombs”. Here’s a couple of quick examples:
In 1968, Paul R. Ehrlich wrote “The Population Bomb” and declared that the battle to feed humanity had been lost but going on to claim that there would be a major food shortage in the US. “In the 1970s … hundreds of millions are going to starve to death,” and by the 1980s most of the world’s important resources would be depleted. He forecast that 65 million Americans would die of starvation between 1980-1989 and that by 1999, the US population would decline to 22.6 million!
Hasn’t happened (so far) although this guy is still paraded out by the media as an “Expert” in the field every time world population & overcrowding is brought up!
As an aside – with our population at 7 billion, if every person on the planet lived as densely as they do in Manhattan (New York, USA), the whole world could easily live in New Zealand! (source: http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/08/what-if-all-71-billion-people-moved-to.html)
During the 1970s the media promoted global cooling alarmism with dire threats of a new ice age. Extreme weather events were hyped as signs of the coming apocalypse and man-made pollution was blamed as the cause. Environmental extremists called for everything from outlawing the internal combustion engine to communist style population controls. Time magazine even ran a cover story in 1972 Called, “The Big Freeze” Noted scientist Sir Fred Hoyle even wrote a book on the matter – aptly named “Ice”.
We’re still waiting on that one – which brings us to Claim three…..
In 1989: “Using computer models”, researchers concluded that global warming would raise average annual temperatures nationwide two degrees by 2010.” (Associated Press, May 15, 1989).
The actual result: According to NASA, global temperature has increased by about 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit since 1989. And U.S. temperature has increased even less over the same period.
This one is still raging but the bottom line is this – none of the United Nations Council for Climate Change predictions has come true in over 30 years of published research & yet, year after year, their report on the so called state of our climate is give traction by a headline hungry media.
Strangely enough, that council’s operating budget continues to increase & governments, globally, are in on the act with all sorts of levies & taxes in the “Fight against climate change”.
Be very wary of accepting anyone’s predictions about the future – especially the so called experts who, in my opinion, are simply giving it their best guess. Let’s face it, 99% of those in the finance & banking industry didn’t see the GFC coming in 2008 & those that did were (mainly) trying to cover it up anyhow – leaving us all in the dark.
The future is an uncertain place for us all – wanting to “Know” what lies ahead is a natural instinct but believing the guesswork of others is something that no intelligent, reasoned, person should be doing.
Don’t be lazy – if you see a prediction that scares or intrigues you – research it (thoroughly) & come to your own conclusions. At least that way you will be able to exert more control over your life – and your future!
One thing about our future that is certain – information is going to continue to be more accessible, so there really is no excuse for accepting anyone else’s word at face value.