List of predictions

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There have been various notable predictions made throughout history, including those by scientists based on the scientific method, predictions of social and technological change of futurologists, economic forecasts, religious prophecies and the fictional imaginings of authors and science fiction. Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke wrote three laws of prediction.

Utopias and dystopias[edit]

Scientific prediction[edit]


  • Doomsday equation (1960): Heinz von Foerster extrapolated historical population data to predict an infinite human population for 2026.
  • Future Shock (1970) by Alvin Toffler considered change moving too fast for humans to cope.
  • Engines of Creation (1986) by K. Eric Drexler which involves molecular nanotechnology changing the world, and introduces the grey goo scenario.
  • The End of History and the Last Man (1992, by Francis Fukuyama) heralded the arrival of the "end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government." Its thesis has since been disavowed by its author.
  • The Clash of Civilizations by Samuel P. Huntington, published in Foreign Affairs, Volume 72, Number 3, Summer 1993 and later expanded into a book, states "the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future."
  • The Coming Technological Singularity (1993, by Vernor Vinge) - a prediction of imminent acceleration of progress caused by increasing speed of computers and developments in AI.
  • An Illustrated Speculative Timeline of Future Technology and Social Change (1993-2008, by J.R. Mooneyham)[1]
  • Ray Kurzweil is concerned with the idea of the singularity and many more optimistic technological and transhumanist predictions.
  • "Why the future doesn't need us" (April 2000, by Bill Joy) - an essay warning about the dangers of robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotechnology to humanity. The essay has achieved wide exposure because of Bill Joy's prominence.
  • Sir Arthur C. Clarke's Predictions :


Visions of the World to Come[3] (November 2001, by Arthur C. Clarke) - Clarke presents a speculative timeline of the 21st century.

  • Our Final Hour by Martin Rees in 2003. The book presents the notion that the Earth and human survival are in far greater danger from the potential effects of modern technology than is commonly realised. Hence the 21st century may be a critical moment in history when humanity's fate is decided. Rees gained controversy, and notoriety, by estimating that the probability of extinction before 2100 AD is around 50%. This is based on the possibility of malign or accidental release of destructive technology and gained some attention as he is a well-regarded astronomer.
  • Dark Age Ahead by Jane Jacobs in 2004. As it implies the book warns of a pessimistic future, in this case caused by a decay in science, community, and education.
  • Tomorrow Now: Imagining the Next 50 Years by Bruce Sterling in 2002. A popular science approach on futurology, reflecting technology, politics and culture of the next 50 years.

Economic forecasting[edit]

  • In 1987, Ravi Batra predicted an economic depression in his best-selling book, The Great Depression of 1990. He subsequently wrote other books on surviving economic upheaval.
  • In 1996, economist Alan Greenspan famously stated that there was irrational exuberance in the stock market on Dec 5, 1996, and indeed, may well have contributed to it as a result of his policies as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. His warning went unheeded and the stock market continued to boom in the late 1990s until the stock market downturn of 2000 and 2001, when it became evident that the warning had been correct.

Religious prophecy[edit]

Science fiction[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]