May 16, 2050: Partly Cloudy

Cloud Cover

I have confidence that that will be a relatively cloudy day. I had a written assurance from a drunk weatherman.

Yeah right. When was the last time they got the weather correct from just two weeks away?

But then again, we should give the meteorology department some slack since in many other fields of study, people have made loud predictions that didn’t come true, like that Ice Age the earth was going into in the 1970s, or that the US was going to collapse by 2010, or that there would be “Peace for our time” in 1938. My point is that people like predicting stuff.

I didn’t even have to tell you that. You should already know. Even if it wasn’t something crazy like “Humans will be extinct by next week”, you have seen predictions, like a economic prediction of what will happen to Greece in the next few years, or how soon people will have self driving cars.

Don’t ask me why people like to predict things. Actually, do ask me, for I think that I have an answer.

But first let me split those who predict things into several groups: the doomsayers (Russia will collapse by next week!), the optimists (self tying shoes will be here by 2015!) and the never everers (The selfie stick will never be popular!).

The doomsayers are the most popular, with their loud predictions that there will be no polar ice caps by 2013 and the like, causing global panic and who knows what nonsense. Many of these doomsayers are pretty concerned and honest about their view, and are afraid of what could happen. There’s no problem with being concerned, but there is a problem if you’re busy predicting disaster that’s not going to happen. It worries people, and worry causes stress, which is sort of unnecessary. But maybe that’s the idea, and what they want is for you to act, to never use a stove again and sit in darkness for the rest of you life, to reduce your carbon emissions. That appears to work, with many people desperate about saving the polar ice caps, which seem to have no problem with saving themselves. To summarise, the doomsayers have big imaginations and need to be taken with several gallons of caution.

The next group are the optimists, those who say things like self driving cars will take over the roads by 2030 and the like, causing people to stop and say, “that’s nice” and then get on with what they were doing. Some of them are right, most of them are wrong, but they’re not a group to be worried about unless you really have a problem with self driving vehicles.

Then there are the never everers. Yes, I made that word up. The never everers are those who say things like horses will never be replaced by the automobile and things like that. Some say it from a lack of imagination, like the NY Times saying that rockets will never leave the atmosphere, or because of personal interest, like our dear Thomas Edison, who claimed that AC was a waste of time. Maybe he truly believed that, maybe he didn’t, but the point is, he probably said that in interest of business. Mostly, the never everers can’t see a world that is different from the one that they are living in, and although in this ever-changing day and age they have all but faded, you could probably still find a few of them here and there.

Unless you invented a time travel machine and actually went about using the thing, there really is no point for making grand, overgeneralised predictions about life, the universe, and everything, unless a) you like looking like a fool or b) its your job. The fact of life is, people don’t know enough about the world in any field, be it science, sociology, economics, and psychology to be able to make accurate guesses of what will happen in five years time. There is proof enough just by looking into the past to see what ridiculous things people have suggested to know that.

But if you thought by the headline I had that I was going to give a prediction, I’ll issue one. There’s going to be some body within the week predicting the end of (fill in the blank) again.

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