Failed Predictions of the Future

Here is a list of Failed Predictions of the Future

  • In 1969, Margaret Thatcher (British Prime Minister between 1979 and 1990) said “It will be years, not in my time, that a woman will become Prime Minister”
  • In 1943 Thomas Watson (the chairman of IBM) said “I think there’s a world market for maybe 5 computers.”
  • In 1988 Dr Peter Duesberg (molecular biology professor at U.C. Berkeley) said “That virus (HIV) is a pussy cat”.
  • In 1859 Associates of Edwin L. Drake denied his request to drill for oil by saying “Drill for oil? You mean drill in the ground to find oil? You’re crazy”
  • In 1936 the New York Times proclaimed “A rocket will never able to leave the Earth’s atmosphere”
  • in 1964 a United Artist Executive didn’t give Ronald Reagan (former US President) a role in a movie with a Presidential Candidate theme saying “Reagan doesn’t have that presidential look.”
  • Eric Easton (first manager of the rock band the Rolling Stones) is quoted as saying “The singer (Mick Jagger) will have to go, the BBC won’t like him.” to his partner after watching them perform for the first time.
  • Dr Dionsys Larder (1793 – 1859) predicted that “Rail travel at high speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia.”
  • When Napoleon Bonaparte was told of Robert Fulton’s steamboat in 1800, his statement was “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.”
  • Martin Van Buren, Governor of New York, in 1830 wrote to the president that “The canal system of this country is being threatened by a new form of transportation known as ‘railroads’ … As you may well know, Mr. President, ‘railroad’ carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of 15 miles per hour by ‘engines’ which, in addition to endangering life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring the livestock and frightening women and children. The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed.”
  • In 1895 Lord Kelvin (Scottish mathematical physicist and engineer) proclaimed “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.”
  • After the first flight of the Boeing 247 (a twin engine plane that has seating for 10 people) a Boeing engineer is quoted as saying “There will never be a bigger plane built”
  • In a memo at Western Union in the late 1870s its stated that “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.”
  • Oxford professor Erasmus Wilson predicted in 1878 that “When the Paris Exhibition closes, electric light will close with it and no more will be heard of it”.
  • n 1878, British Post Office gave a statement that “The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys”.
  • Ernest Rutherford predicted that “The energy produced by the breaking down of the atom is a very poor kind of thing”. He gave his statement just after splitting the atom for the first time. He further stated that “Anyone who expects a source of power from the transformation of these atoms is talking moonshine.”
  • In 1901 British Novelist HG Wells stated “I must confess that my imagination refuses to see any sort of submarine doing anything but suffocating its crew and floundering at sea.”
  • In 1903, the president of Michigan Savings Bank advised Henry Ford’s lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Company. He said “The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty – a fad.”
  • In 1916, Aide-de-camp passed his comment to Field Marshal Haig at the tank demonstration that “The idea that cavalry will be replaced by these iron coaches is absurd. It is little short of treasonous.”
  • In 1932, Albert Einstein stated “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.”
  • n 1946, Darryl Zanuck (a movie producer for 20th Century Fox) predicted that “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.”

We live in the day and age where new technological advances are made every day. It would not be surprising to have failed predictions like these ones posted about today’s inventions 100 years from now.

Speaking of Technology, check out the classifieds in our Hi-Tech categories for gadgets that have proved these predictions wrong.

Henno Kruger

Digital Marketing Campaign Coordinator at Junk Mail Publishing.

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