From nuclear energy to telephones almost every new technology had its detractors. These are 25 famous predictions that were proven to be horribly wrong.
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"There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will." -- Albert Einstein, 1932
"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." -- Decca Recording Company on declining to sign the Beatles, 1962
"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." -- Western Union internal memo, 1876
"Reagan doesn't have that presidential look." -- United Artists executive after rejecting Reagan as lead in the 1964 film The Best Man
"Rail travel at high speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia." -- Dr. Dionysius Lardner, 1830
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." -- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
"X-rays will prove to be a hoax." -- Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society, 1883
"Everyone acquainted with the subject will recognize it as a conspicuous failure." -- -Henry Morton, president of the Stevens Institute of Technology, on Edison's light bulb, 1880
"The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty—a fad." -- -The president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford's lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Co., 1903
"Television won't last because people will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night." -- -Darryl Zanuck, movie producer, 20th Century Fox, 1946
"No one will pay good money to get from Berlin to Potsdam in one hour when he can ride his horse there in one day for free." -- King William I of Prussia, on trains, 1864
"There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home." -- -Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), in a talk given to a 1977 World Future Society meeting in Boston
"If excessive smoking actually plays a role in the production of lung cancer, it seems to be a minor one." -- -W.C. Heuper, National Cancer Institute, 1954
"No, it will make war impossible." -- -Hiram Maxim, inventor of the machine gun, in response to the question "Will this gun not make war more terrible?" from Havelock Ellis, an English scientist, 1893
"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to no one in particular?" -- -Associates of David Sarnoff responding to the latter's call for investment in the radio in 1921
"There will never be a bigger plane built." -- - A Boeing engineer, after the first flight of the 247, a twin engine plane that holds ten people
"How, sir, would you make a ship sail against the wind and currents by lighting a bonfire under her deck? I pray you, excuse me, I have not the time to listen to such nonsense." — Napoleon Bonaparte, when told of Robert Fulton's steamboat, 1800s
"The idea that cavalry will be replaced by these iron coaches is absurd. It is little short of treasonous." — Comment of Aide-de-camp to Field Marshal Haig, at tank demonstration, 1916
"I must confess that my imagination refuses to see any sort of submarine doing anything but suffocating its crew and floundering at sea." — HG Wells, British novelist, in 1901
"The world potential market for copying machines is 5000 at most." — IBM, to the eventual founders of Xerox, saying the photocopier had no market large enough to justify production, 1959
"The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys." — Sir William Preece, Chief Engineer, British Post Office, 1878
"It'll be gone by June." -- Variety Magazine on Rock n' Roll, 1955
"And for the tourist who really wants to get away from it all, safaris in Vietnam" -- -Newsweek, predicting popular holidays for the late 1960s.
"When the Paris Exhibition [of 1878] closes, electric light will close with it and no more will be heard of it." -- Oxford professor Erasmus Wilson
A rocket will never be able to leave the Earth's atmosphere." — New York Times, 1936
I quit smoking back in April when our Apartment Building (owned by the Lutheran Church) announced that they would be banning smoking in the building come August. I had been a regular smoker for 52 years (ever since I was 16) and I still do not show any signs of lung cancer so....
"We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell."
- From a rejection slip mailed to Stephen King, rejecting his novel Carrie
"It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA."
Dial Press, New York, in a letter to George Orwell, rejecting Animal Farm
"The girl doesn't, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above 'curiosity' level."
- From a rejection slip rejecting Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl
At least two of these - about computers in particular - were true at the time they were said. Computers were so large and expensive in 1943 that building more than five of them would have seemed outlandishly impractical. Likewise, computers were still so large and expensive in the 1970's, and so few people could program one, that not many people would have wanted to have one cluttering up their home for no good reason.
It's only with the benefit of hindsight that we can see how both the size and expense issues were dealt with, and with the invention of the BASIC programming language, computing "for the masses" became a reality.
To be fair, some of these predictions were accurate if you limit them to the versions of the technology at the time. There really was only a market for about 5 of the multi-million dollar range, gymnasium sized computational engines that were available in the forties. You could accomplish the same tasks they did for less by filling the same gymnasium with salaried, abacus-wielding mathematicians. It is only when they shrunk to fit into a room that wasn't purpose built for them while simultaneously becoming more powerful and less expensive that the market grew. Others really should have been true. Edison's light bulb, for instance, was the worst of about half a dozen different light bulb designs available at the time and was only slightly less expensive than Tesla's far superior (in terms of efficiency and brightness) fluorescent bulb.
The Decca executive wasn't being as stupid as people think. Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper died in that plane crash; Jerry Lee Lewis was in prison, and Elvis was drafted into the Army: many people seriously believed that rock & roll was on the way out. The success of the Beatles took everyone by surprise.
Prediction #1. By 1936, Goddard already had nearly 10 years of experience working with liquid fueled rockets.
British scientists during WWII said rockets would never work in outer space because there is no air for it to push against about the time that Germans started dropping V-2's on London.
I just read up on it, and you're right. The stagnating trench warfare of WW1 was the direct result of the machinegun :)
My bad, I has gotten in my mind that interlocking fire had made charges over no mans land impossible and thus ended trench warfare, but I see now that this was wrong :)
Trench warfare was the result of the Maxim and other machine guns, as well as other modern weapons of war. Previously battles were fought in the open, with armies lined up in ranks. The trenches were dug in order to protect men from these new weapons of war.
+Gammareign Are you serious? It made trench warfare impossible, sitting in a tench being bombarded with shells, having an average life expectancy of 6 weeks.
If you don't think the maxim machine gun made war less terrible, you have no empathy.
That was actually horrible, the economy did gain insane amounts of gain but it did cause panic through alot of people, it was from a mayan calender, now it's thought that it meant a new age, not the end of the world.
It is easy to look at these lists with hind sight but predicting the future is mostly impossible because we cannot tell what innovation is coming and from where.
when the prediction of only 5 or 20 computers would ever be needed it was a time when a computer was the size of a house.
You could add 100% of long term weather predictions to the list we are @ over 900 and 0 but global warming is legit?
when your government throws 5+ billion at global warming scientist it is to purchase a result that is not science.
Let's see if I can paste when I edit a comment, since I can't when I first write it.
Why yes, yes I can!
"space travel is utter bilge" Richard van der Riet Woolley, British Astronomer Royal, 1956. This was a year before Sputnik and thirteen years before the first Moon landing.
+PokeEmblem 692 It's about the head-mounted display. I've heard many sources that say you don't need it to immerse into the game. However, I don't remember any of them. Except for this webcomic here: http://www.npccomic.com/comic/2015/10/09/game-immersion/
"The Horse is here to stay", I think he got that one right. As we Humans evolve our technology, we will move past the need for Automobiles. It is most likely that Horses will still be around at that time.
However, horses will not be the number one source of land transportation that they once were.
Or, at least, this is what the Horses and I all hope.
Also- all of the flags placed on the moon (they are all American flags as nobody else has ever landed on the moon) are now completely white!!!!! The direct sunlight - has bleached all of the flags. It does not happen on Earth - due to our atmosphere!!!!!!
You have to understand that Thomas Edison DO NOT invent the light bulb!!!!!!! At the time - it cost about $4.75 to make a light bulb which meant that the shelf cost would be about $10!!!!!!! Edison simply made a light bulb that cost 7 cents to make and about $0.50 cents to sell commercially!!!!!!!!
After World War One, the US had a captured German battleship, and no one knew what to do with it. Billy Mitchell, an Army officer, wanted to try an experiment: to see if a modern steel-hulled battleship could be sunk by bombs dropped from an airplane. The Secretary of the Navy volunteered to stand on the bridge of that ship when the bombs came down. Old-time Navy officers wept as they watched the ship sink.
Despite the use of air power in World War One, the old-timers clung to the belief that airplanes were just toys for rich people. (Twenty years earlier, they said the same thing about the telephone). Just another example of the experts being proved wrong, and being dragged kicking and screaming into the future. P.S. Go to Amazon and order a copy of "The Experts Speak - The Definitive Compendium of Authoritative Misinformation" by Christopher Cerf and Victor Navasky. P.S. The same pollsters who failed to predict the re-election of Benjamin Netanyahu, and the yes vote on Brexit, assure us that Hillary will be our next President; my money's on Trump.
+MrAnimepredator You don't seem to understand that they were viewing the future from the past.
There was no way to know certain things. Hell, 15 years ago I NEVER would have imagined that we'd have smart phones. Touch technology was almost unheard of other than the rare kiosk and they were big, bulky, and barely worked correctly.
0:10 Actually, that quote has been taken out of context. Einstein never thought about using neutrons to start the nuclear fission process, he was talking about alpha particles (using alpha particles for that is a complete waste that produces no energy return, so he was right in that regard).
But in 1939 Leo Szilard (a colleague of Einstein) visited him and explained how it would be possible to start a nuclear fission reaction using neutrons instead of alpha particles. Einstein realized that this could actually be done and so he changed his mind. Then Szilard wrote a letter to FDR, which Einstein signed, warning him about nuclear power and the possibility that the nazis could be developing atomic weapons...this is pretty much how the Manhattan Project got started.
1:11 Actually, that was probably the case in 1943, I wouldn't call that a prediction, I would call it awareness within a given historical context. Just remember that even in the 1990s most people didn't really see the advantage of having a pc or a cell phone, I still remember those times, it's truly a bygone age, XD. I mean, even in the year 2000 my parents were still reluctant to buy a pc and they didn't have cell phones.
2:53 Obvious sales pitch. "With this machine gun the number of casualties in each side will soar", that isn't a good slogan, don't you think? It's much better to use the "preventive" slogan instead, even if it's total bs.
I mean, now wars are only preventive, right? They don't say "let's kill and get killed because we want their resources", the sales pitch is "let's start a preventive war to avoid terrorist attacks/save people/other bs". Same logic applies here.
I mean, even the Romans built their empire using that same slogan, XD, "kill the barbarians before they invade us again" or "destroy Carthage before they hit us again".
Television might actually not last... I don't own a TV anymore and most of my friends don't have cable anymore either... The people with cable/satellite TV is decreasing. That one might actually be true.
+Get Shwifty Yeah but that is only, because a new medium came up. They never considered something like a computer could actually exist and do that sort of thing. The action of watching tv and watching netflix is the same.
I kind of find the HG Wells one about him not believing in a submarine to be the craziest...considering he was a great sci fi writer you would think he would be the picture perfect guy to envision something like that...makes me truly wonder if maybe he had a very dry sense of humor and the quote was misconstrued sarcasm..
#21 - Reagan looked like a clown, Max Headroom was based on him.
#17 - Cars *are* a fad, a century long one. Many people can't afford and don't want cars anymore. They're demanding and getting more public transit and bicycle roadway. We've hit peak oil, and batteries have limitations.
#14 - Digital Equipment Corporation (aka DEC) doesn't exist anymore.
There was this one person, i forgot his name but he was important. he sent 10,000 people to an island to help with all the hunger problems and he said "10,000 people is a lot of people! what if the island sinks?!"
im like "What the heck lol" an island isn't just floating on water its connected to the floor lol!"
That was the quote I was thinking of. As a person who has grown up with a "disability" I totally agree that you can't discover your limits until you push past your limits.
Test pilots call it, "pushing the outside of the envelope." The "envelope" is the limits that the plane can do. Max G's, max speed, max cargo weight.
"When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong." -Arthur C. Clarke
Your statement reminded me of that quote, so I looked it up and found it on Wikipedia. I quite like it. Here's a couple more of his too from the same page:
"The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible."
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Together they're known as Clarke's Three Laws.
+Dahniver sanguine a lot of that was because in the middle ages they had no schools or other ways of gaining knowledge. they were born and died farmers.
and those who did get education (church, royality, aristocrats etc) didn't freely share it with the masses, because knowledge = power.
without extensive knowledge that may rival our today's levels they wouldn't be able to build the pyramids for example. that stuff has been built with such precision that it still baffles current scientists how did they do it.
You forgot one of the most famous of all predictions proven horribly wrong: "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass..." - Jesus Christ. There are many people that interpret this to mean that Christ was talking about the people of his own time witnessing the signs of Revelations during their lives. He said he would return "soon." It hasn't been soon at all, yet believers throughout the ages keep trying to show the time is now. No, wait... now. Really this time it's now. (And so on to this day...) No prediction of future events has ever been more wrong more often.
+Monita Roy who knows. back when dinosaurs were the dominant species mammals were barely around, so it might be something unexpected.
or it could be chimps. they can learn things and teach others, use crude tools and they even go to wars with other chimp tribes.
or maybe it could be dolphins, they are pretty intelligent too. it'd be interesting to see intelligent aquatic species.
or maybe we'll end up breaking the planet so badly we'll drive the entire life on earth extinct and nothing will anymore.
My theory is that relative to something (or an axis independent of gravity), we already are traveling faster than the speed of light.
And, I'm not an idiot, I've watched minutephysics before to understand the current reasoning of the times.
Want horribly wrong predictions?
about the thing uh FNAF
FNAF 2: The mask is used to protect you from W.Animatronics but the Toys ones will kill u if you wear it
PROVED HORRIBLY WRONG
FNAF 2: The triangle is when an animatronic is in the office
FNAF 2: The triangle is when foxy is out
FUCKING HORRIBLY WRONG
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