8 ways we’ve been completely wrong about the future

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak this week spoke out about his Artificial Intelligence fears. “Computers are going to take over from humans,” the 64-year-old told the Australian Review.

Even Tesla CEO Elon Musk (the man behind a car with self-driving abilities) believes something similar, saying the AI technology poses the “biggest existential threat” to humanity.

Truth is, predicting that AI would be the end of us has been a “threat” since Reconstruction. People have always predicted all the different ways we’d be taken over by technology or what it would be like today, especially in movies.

So, to ease your AI fears, here are some other predictions that were wrong before:

  • Self-driving cars? No. Well, if “Back to the Future II” is our guide, we should have flying cars. We barely just accomplished hovering skateboards, so we’re a long way from flying cars. We also should be on the 19th Jaws sequel, but nobody wants that.
  • “Demolition Man” had us thinking we would cryogenically freeze prisoners beginning in 1996, leading to 2010 being the last year for a homicide. They also said that Taco Bell would have been the only fast food franchise by 2032.
  • In 2007, Stephen Ballmer, a Microsoft CEO, (now famously) said the iPhone had “no chance” of getting a significant market share, when in fact, as well all know, that isn’t true. You might be reading this on one right now.
  • The 1930 film “Just Imagine,” set in 1980, predicted names would be replaced by numbers, airplanes would replace cars and food would be consumed in pill form. They also showed couples getting newborn babies from vending machines. Let’s be happy that one never happened.
  • 1994’s “Timecop” told us time travel would be possible in the early 2000s and Jean-Claude Van Damme did we believe it.
  • The classic “Blade Runner,” set a few years off in 2019, predicted interplanetary job opportunities, flying cars and then that whole thing with the replicants. But, hey, we still have a few years.
  • 1997 Manhattan should have been a maximum security prison gone wild if “Escape From New York” meant anything.
  • Even Bill Gates gets things wrong sometimes, saying in 2002 that 5 years later, the tablet would be the “most popular form of PC sold in America.” Seventeen years later and that’s still not true.

Films that take advantage of Artificial Intelligence as a future determinant predict a lot further out than 2015. The titular film, “AI: Artificial Intelligence” takes place in the late 21st century, but it takes 2,000 years after for the robot intelligence to turn into a silicon-based form.

Contact Kristen DeSilva at 702-477-3895 or kdesilva@reviewjournal.com. Find her on Twitter: @kristendesilva

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