Prediction is a statement indicating about things that would happen in future, usually but not always based on facts or past observations. Every human being up to a certain extent is gifted with this power of intuition. However the scope of their prediction varies. For some it may be as narrow as predicting the outcome of cricket match while some may take it to a completely another level by predicting or trying to predict the end of the world. Dr. Larder, Professor of natural Philosophy & Astronomy, University of College London, once predicted the speed with which Railways would travel in near future-
“Rail travel at high speed is not possible, because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia”.
Similarly, Western Union internal memo on giving their verdict on telephone said-
“This Telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication”
Today it is almost impossible to imagine our lives without these means of communication whether it be telephone or railway trains. However these examples very briefly acquaint us, with the fact that how wrong people or organizations can be with their predictions. At times even the most sensible people start believing the most nonsensical predictions. It’s true that many predictions have flabbergasted people by being correct but equally true is that many of them have been incorrect. The following 10 predictions has been selected as the 10 most famous Incorrect Predictions on the basis of the influence they held on general masses and the attention they gained worldwide.
10).Rocket Mail and Aviation
General Arthur E. Summerfield once said-
“Before Man reaches the moon, mail will be delivered within hours from New York to California, to Britain,to India or Australia by guided missiles. We stand on the threshold of rocket Science.”Although he gave his verdict on rocket mail after being a part of some successful experiments in this field however his dream could never be realized, on account of the large expenditure that was required to make this technology work. Another wrong prediction was made about the future of airplanes. In 1901 aviation pioneer, Wilbur Wright made the infamous quote ”Man will not fly for 50 years”. This statement was given by him right after Wright Brothers failed attempt in aviation. However Wright Brothers proved him wrong by making a successful flight, the first ever manned airplane flight in the year 1903.
Nikita Khrushchev who led the Soviet Union from 1953-1964 is known for pounding his shoe on the table at one of United Nation Session in 1960 showing the amount of confidence he possessed on the future of Soviet Union. He was of the opinion that there was nothing that could prevent capitalism from failing and Communism from prevailing. So he predicted “History is on our side….We will bury you”. At that period it was assumed that the end of USSR could be possible only with the “End of Everything” an outcome of nuclear war. But maybe History had something else in its mind, as USSR formally dissolved on December 26, 1991; proving his prediction wrong.
When Frank Knox gave his statement on December 4, 1941 stating that “Whatever happens the U.S Navy is not going to be caught napping”, it was almost unimaginable for any American to consider an attack on U.S.Naval fleet. However not just his but the prediction of every American was proved wrong in next three days with 353 fighters of Imperial Japanese Navy attacking the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on the morning of December 7,1941 leaving much of the fleet broken and burning. Around 18 naval planes and 188 planes were destroyed and over 2000 servicemen were killed.
When Decca Records executive gave his verdict to the band’s manager, Brian Epstein, after an audition in 1962, he said, ”The Beatles have no future in show business.” He further added, ”We don’t like your boys’ sound. Groups are out. Four Piece groups with guitars, particularly, are finished.” Today we all know that no other band has influenced pop culture the way Beatles have. It won’t be wrong if one quotes them “as the best things to have happened to the twentieth century”. Proving Decca Records prediction wrong they turned out to be the best selling band in the United States, received seven Grammy awards and an Academy award.
Prior to the ship’s voyage, the ship’s captain, Edward J. Smith, said, ”I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that”. Not just this Philip Franklin, Vice President of the white star Line, even added,” There is no danger that Titanic will sink. The boat is unsinkable and nothing but inconvenience will be suffered by the passengers”. Unfortunately Titanic could not live up to those expectations. Titanic sailed, hit an iceberg on April 15, 1912 and sank in the North Atlantic Ocean, causing the death of 1502 people.
Robert Metcalfe is the founder of the 3Com digital electronics company and a professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Along with it, he holds a PhD from Harvard and most importantly he is the co-inventor of Ethernet. Despite so many achievements, he’s more known for his inaccurate prediction. In the 1995 issue of InfoWorld, he famously gave his prediction on Internet. He predicted that “Internet would soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse”. He even promised to eat his words if proven wrong. And finally when proved wrong he very modestly, during the Sixth WWW International Conference put his own column in a blender and consumed the pulp to prove his word.
4).Online shopping will flop
Imagine a world without Online shopping! well no matter how difficult it may seem today but in 1966, TIME came up with an essay called “The Futurists”, which tried to give a peek of what world would be like in the year 2000. TIME felt that Remote shopping while possible, would never be a hit because “Women like to get out of the house, like to handle the merchandise, like to be able to change their minds.” Well that may be true but this prediction in every way was off the mark. In fact online shopping is only trending upward, thanks to the advantages it carries. So it won’t be wrong if we quote TIME’s prediction as an incorrect one.
Well if we are talking about global catastrophes that weren’t, Y2K is surely one of the all-time greats. As the year 2000 approached, computer experts realized that most of the softwares were written with the last two digit representing the year instead of all four digits. So just before the advent of the year 2000, they feared that computers all over the world might consider last two digits ’00 as meaning 1900 instead of 2000 which may wreak unseen havoc in digital documentation. Different names like millennium bug and Y2K, were given for this problem. However the day came and went without any serious consequences.
2).1992 Stock market Prediction
Irving Fisher’s, was a famous 20th century economist, also called by Milton Friedman as the “Greatest economist the United States has ever produced”. However his repute was damaged beyond despair when his prediction “Stock markets have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau” proved wrong. He gave this statement just three days before the phenomenal Wall Street market crash which costed him heavily both in terms of money and reputation.
Well this was not another “sky is falling” prediction like Y2K…
Nor was it some political conspiracy to produce an ambience of fear.
And it was certainly not a Hollywood flick story….
This was a prediction given by ancient Mayans and many other civilizations and that too CENTURIES ago…
December 21 2012 was the date created by the ancient Mayans Long Count Calendar as the beginning of a new Cycle for Mankind. Maya Calendar used by pre-Columbian Central American cultures, from 2000 BC to the sixteenth century consisted of three separate calendars namely-The Long Count Down, The Tzolkin, and the Haab. Hence it was predicted that the doomsday was about to fall on December 21,2012.So the entire world waited for an explosion to occur at 11:11 UTC,the predicted time. Amidst the environment of fear and confusion, even police had to intervene in order to maintain law and order in some places. Luckily the Doomsday proved just another wrong prediction.