Famous Predictions that Never Came True

It's 2013, but hey, wasn't the world supposed to end in 2012? Well, a famous prediction bites the dust. This Buzzle write-up brings to you a list of such predictions that never came true for obvious reasons.
Predicting the future is a part of human psychology, and our experts made it a point to make predictions wherever they saw an opportunity. Be it the ones related to doomsday, natural calamities, or the ones in the field of economy, we have always come across famous people quoting stuff related to our future. However, hardly a few forecasts saw the light. It's high time we get a reality check on things that are out of mankind's reach. Let's take a look at a few such failed future forecasts.


# The Infamous Predictions
# Our Futuristic Movies
# Technologies we are still waiting for
# Quote, Unquote

The Infamous Predictions

The Mayan Scare

Mayan Prediction

The much-awaited date in the recent years, 21-12-2012 came and ended just like any other day. The Mayan calendar ended on this date, and there were speculations that the world would also come to an end on this date. Even in the past, there were many Mayan predictions that fell flat. Many experts claim that the December 2012 Judgment Day predictions were misinterpreted, and that the Mayan writings have predictions even after 2012. All said and done, the amount of hype that this prediction received cannot be matched.

Change of Poles?

Pole Reversal Prediction

One of those end-of-the-world predictions claimed that we were soon going to face a pole reversal, and this would bring life to an end. The Mayans predicted that the pole shift would begin in December 2012, and the world would come to an end. The theory cannot be completely discarded, but researchers claim that this switching had already begun many centuries ago. And hey, aren't we in 2013?
The Deadly Comets

Comet Prediction

Comets have been the safe source of a supposed apocalypse. Be it the Halley's comet or the Hale-Bopp comet, predictors have always claimed that they will be the reason for the world to end. Halley's comet was supposed to poison Earth, thus ending life. A few scientists claimed that the Hale-Bopp comet was sent to distract everyone from the Nibiru planet apocalypse! However, the reality is that the supposed apocalypse date has passed by, and the world hasn't come to an end.

The New Market Leader

Japan Market Leader Prediction

In the 1980s, Gore Vidal predicted that Japan will take over as the market leader. His prediction was backed by Lester Thurow, former MIT dean, who also claimed that in the 21st century, Japan will be the leader in world economy. The reality is that Japan's economy collapsed in the 1990s, and they are still taking steps to improve their economy.

Our Very Own Nostradamus

Nostradamus Prediction

Nostradamus doesn't get too many wrong, but he surely messed up with this one! In the Quatrain 72, he quoted,

L'an mil neuf cens nonante neuf sept mois,
Du ciel viendra un grand Roy d'effrayeur.
Resusciter le grand Roy d'Angolmois.
Avant après Mars régner par bonheur.

This writing was translated as,

The year 1999, seventh month, [or simply "sept"]
From the sky will come a great King of Terror.
To bring back to life the great King of the Mongols,
Before and after Mars to reign by good luck.

He predicted that in September 1999, there would be an apocalypse due to a King of Terror coming from the sky! No such known terror even descended from the sky, and we are way past 1999.


The new millennium gave rise to new apocalypse predictions. Many believed that in early 2000, computers would be the reason for the doomsday. Predictions ranging from nuclear holocaust to blackouts were making rounds. Following these hoaxes, people bought guns and started to make preparations to live in bunkers! However, we have stepped into the next decade of the new millennium, and the doomsday is yet to arrive!

Depleting Oil Reserves

We have been hearing this one for more than a century now! Earlier it was the U.S. Bureau of Mines that predicted that oil reserves will be depleted in 10 years, and this prediction has been backed repeatedly over the years. In 1951, the Department of Interior predicted that the US will run out of oil reserves in the coming 13 years! The reality is that with scientific advancements, new deposits are being explored, and alternate energy sources are being utilized.
Metcalfe's Internet Catastrophe

In 1995, Robert Metcalfe predicted that Internet would suffer a collapse in the same year. He said that he would eat his words if the prediction proved to be false. As it is evident, the prediction was indeed nothing more than a hoax, and he tried to eat his words in the form of a cake. In one of the WWW International Conferences, he blended the printed copy of his prediction, mixed it with a liquid, and ate the paper mass! So much for a failed prediction!

Telephone - Who Wants It?

In the 1800s, Sir William Preece thought that telephones were only needed in the US and that Brit messenger boys were enough to pass on the messages in Britain. He was one of the few believers of telephones who demonstrated the same to a group of British scientists. Looking at the strong technical background that Preece had, one will wonder why he quoted against telephone use in Britain! Today, everyone needs a cell phone, leave alone the telephone.

Mr. Know-it-all

Pat Robertson in his show, the "700 Club", claimed that he knew the exact date of the judgment day. He quoted on his show, "I guarantee you by the end of 1982 there is going to be a judgment on the world." We are in 2013, so definitely his prediction was nothing but a mere baseless comment. In 2011, he was awarded the Ig Nobel Prize (a spoof of the Nobel Prize), for teaching the world to be careful about mathematical calculations.
Our Futuristic Movies

If you thought that only famous personalities or psychics made baseless and false predictions about our future, think again! Remember the sci-fi flick, Back to the Future, which showcased a lot of futuristic devices, like the hoverboards? There are many such movies that went overboard with the idea of futuristic technology and devices. Let's take a look at these devices that we are still waiting for.

Blade Runner -- Hovercars

I guess the director of the movie took the cartoon series, The Jetsons rather too seriously. The film predicted that by 2019, we all will be traveling in a hovercar and will have robots for our assistance. Considering the current situation, I wonder if this will come true even in the next 10 years!

Terminator -- The Destructive Computers

Computer networks on a mass destruction spree is a rather farfetched thought for the plot of a movie. But, in the entire movie series, it was predicted that the world would end either in 1997, 2004, or 2011!

2012 -- Apocalypse

The film, like the Mayan calendar, predicted that the world would end in December 2012, and the reason for the destruction would be everything from Mayanism to the 2012 phenomenon. The film did cash upon the fears of many who believed the said to be true!
Technologies: The Ones We're Still Waiting For

In the past, there have been mentions of many technologies that experts believed would become reality in the years to come. Alas, that didn't happen! But let's be optimistic and hope that they see the light in the near future.
  • Robocops: I am not referring to Peter Weller but to the technology behind robocop. It will be fun though to watch robots as cops protecting us from evil!
  • Time Travel: The theories for this one are in place, but the implementation has not yet succeeded. Anyone interested in going back to the Stone Age?
  • Antigravity Technology: There is a lot of work being carried out on this concept. Ever wondered how the world will look like if this one succeeds?
  • Jet Backpacks: If this turns into reality, we all can fly to our workplaces!
  • Meals in Pill Form: Just like Popeye got his energy by eating spinach, we can get ours by simply popping a pill! Wonder how many flavors will be available in this one?
  • Teleportation: You can travel to the nearest movie theater, watch a movie, and then return home without having to use your car! Sounds fictitious? Many experiments are being carried out to make this a reality!

Quote, Unquote

Famous people cannot escape the media wherever they go, and whatever these celebs say makes it to the headlines. Be it a wrongly quoted quote, or an overambitious statement, they cannot escape the heat of the critics. This time around, we bring to you a few quotes from "the big daddies" whose futuristic comments didn't see any future at all!

"The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon."
- Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria (1873)

The first brain surgery was performed in 1884, and eleven years later, the first heart surgery was performed. Science has come a long way from what it was way back in the 1800s.

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM (1943)

Today, we have computers in every household, and there are a lot of people staying in this world! However, Mr. Watson claims that he was misquoted on this one.

"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?"
- H. M. Warner, Warner Brothers (1927)

The first sound film under the Warner Brothers banner was released in the year 1927! Wonder what made H. M. Warner change his mind. ...

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share."
Steve Ballmer, CEO Microsoft (2007)
iPhone's global market share grew to 25.1% in 2012. It is the second largest selling smartphone in the world market today!

"Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever."
Thomas Edison, American inventor (1889)

Almost all the appliances today use alternating current. Guess Mr. Edison wasn't quite happy with the invention made by his rival Nikola Tesla.

"Within two months, Sony will buy Apple. Sony will be the white knight who will pass in the main plan."
Gaston Bastiaens, Apple (1996)

There are rumors about Apple taking over Sony! It is not the other way round, Sir.

"That virus is a pussycat. It will not survive for a long time."
Dr. Peter Duesberg, speaking about HIV (1988)

Though doctors are trying to find a cure for HIV, the virus still lives on, affecting many lives.

"Rail travel at high speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia."
Dr. Dionysius Lardner, professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy, University College London (1793-1859)

The fastest train in the world runs at a speed of 302 mph, and passengers do come out alive!

"The cinema is little more than a fad. It's canned drama. What audiences really want to see is flesh and blood on the stage."
Charlie Chaplin, actor, producer, director, and studio founder (1916)

Every art has its own followers. Even though Mr. Chaplin predicted that stage dramas are the only ones that the audiences love to watch, today's cinema appeals to a bigger audience.

"Two years from now, spam will be solved."
Bill Gates (2004)

According to a survey by Message Anti-Abuse Working Group, about 90% emails sent in the first half of 2010 were all spammy. We are all eagerly waiting Mr. Gates, for our mailboxes to become spam-free.

We are way beyond all these predictions, and yes, the world's still safe. I am sure there will be more such forecasts in the near future. Till then, enjoy reading the ones that failed miserably.