Thomas Edison's 1911 Predictions for 2011

The 23 June 1911 issue of the Miami Metropolis featured predictions by Thomas Edison about life in America one hundred years hence. Here's a selection from of prophecies of "the Wizard", as the author refers to Edison:

But the traveler of the future, says a writer in Answers, will largely scorn such earth crawling. He will fly through the air, swifter than any swallow, at a speed of two hundred miles an hour, in colossal machines, which will enable him to breakfast in London, transact business in Paris and eat his luncheon in Cheapside.

The house of the next century will be furnished from basement to attic with steel, at a sixth of the present cost -- of steel so light that it will be as easy to move a sideboard as it is today to lift a drawing room chair. The baby of the twenty-first century will be rocked in a steel cradle; his father will sit in a steel chair at a steel dining table, and his mother's boudoir will be sumptuously equipped with steel furnishings, converted by cunning varnishes to the semblance of rosewood, or mahogany, or any other wood her ladyship fancies.

What do you think life will be like in the year 2111? via Geekosystem | Photo: Library of Congress

It is more like 730 MPH in a gigantic machine (Airbus A380) now.

He was obsessed with steel. That would be a horrible house to live in and very uncomfortable.
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To heck with flying cars, where's my damned jetpack? I am supposed to have one my wall I can easily pick up and fly off with. Stupid 21st Century and it's non-flying cars and no jetpacks. :(
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While the modern single-family-house is usually built and furnished with high-tech wold products, the modern office is very like his steel predictions.
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Modern kitchens are often furnished in stainless steel - at least the appliances and plumbing, and sometimes the countertops (though that is much more common in restaurants). And my cookware is almost entirely stainless steel (actually they are laminated with aluminum and copper in the bottoms).
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Just to throw my hat into the prediction business, in 100 years perhaps we will be able to use antimatter conversion to power spaceships. If so, then the limits to speed in interplanetary or interstellar flight will be to prevent the occupants from being fried by the relatively accelerated particles the ship is continuously running into.

Either that, or society will have collapsed as a result of continuing wars over food, water and space and a failed attempt at global governance. Huge numbers of people (perhaps 1 billion) will be refugees of war and climate change, whether colder or hotter.
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Before you look down at Thomas Edison with scorn today, have a look at his biography first. It's quite an adventure and he has made some huge inventions or at least clever improvements.
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A steel dresser with a varnish like wood....My freshman year dormroom came with such a wonder of technology and it was easy to move as it was on wheels.
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Well Edison seems to forget that steel isn't all that comfortable to sit on and not very pretty to look at. But he was a scientist so you can forgive him for thinking practical. His major mistake was not predicting the rise of plastic and aluminum which are both large components in a modern house.
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He was obsessed with steel because he was in the steel industry's back pocket. It's no secret that he was friend to steel workers and companies in his time.
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Edison wasn't entirely off base. Most modern houses are constructed of aluminum, PVC, and vinyl (studs, window frames, garage doors, siding). It is very rare to see houses that are constructed mostly of wood any more.
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This is a prove that this man didn't know anything about physics neither human behaviour, all his "best inventions" has been stolen from employees or another less known people. In the best cases Edison "invented" a thing through trial and error tests... very scientific! having money, could give you the luxury

Come on old man! your best invention was your non falling chair...uh no, the rocking chair existed from long ago before and is far better that your solution... well I could say that your best invention was the electric chair, but no, I prefer remember that is the invention that describes you better.

Edison, the pathetic man honored by pathetic people, but the history is written by the winners, in this case I prefer to honor another millonaire more humanitarian.
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2111? Crystal ball says...

Advances in medicine and disease prevention will have raised the life expectancy to more than 100 years. Power generation through the incineration of waste biomass will be commonplace. Railroads will be a mere memory. Landfills and small dumps will be the goldmines of the day as "prospectors" search for recyclable petroleum-based plastics they can sell. Two failed missions with total loss of life will spell the end of efforts to establish a permanent facility on Mars. Out-of-control inflation and skyrocketing oil prices spark gas riots forcing the president of the once-powerful US to declare martial law in several major cities. Electric charging stations are overwhelmed as consumer rush to buy electric vehicles. The wait for office visits increases again as physicians endure yet another round of union strikes against government health care mandates. The dollar is devalued once more against foreign currency as markets drop it from trading. Protesters in Washington DC burn stacks of $1,000 dollar notes...
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I think the big corporations will rule the world and we will all be slaves for the wealthy. Oh, what am I saying? I thought this was a prediction for 2011!

2111? hmmm I think the big corporations will rule the world and we will all be slaves for the wealthy.
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Studs are not made from PVC, Vinyl or Aluminum.

They're either steel or douglas fir.

Wood-framed windows have a higher R-value, even if they are clad with Al or vinyl.
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Didn't anyone else read the article? He thought that we would be able to convert steel into solid gold! o_O
That was a common belief amongst alchemists at the time however, so you can't really blame him.

It's virtually impossible to accurately predict that far ahead. Even world experts fail to accurately predict the state the world will be in regarding their particular field 15-20 years into the future. At least he had a good shot at it.

As for 2111, I believe 2 things are certain: overpopulation and inflation.
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Tell me what next week's lottery numbers will be. Then I will be impressed.

I believe that in 2111, Dick Clark's frozen, severed head will still be hosting New Year's Rockin' Eve on ABC.
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In 100 years we won't be much farther along than we are now. We may have flying cars or jet packs but in all reality we will just be humans. Back in Edisons day steel was a key furnishing for a rich person but what he didn't realize is the price of things would just increase. So we have been reduced to laminated partical board. Some future this is. We are polluting our air more now than we were then. We may live longer but almost half of Americans spend their life in jail or prison. Most cannot make their way to the next week with out a welfare check or some support from the tax payers.
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Call up Howard Ruff, he's a real prophet like a fortune teller, correct about 1% of the time and then only if it's totally obvious to everybody in the world.
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i really think that we all will be dead in the next year because 2012 is the end of 2000 years,we all wont be around to see whats going to happen at that time,and no one knows if the rich is going to make us slaves,they will leave this earth when we do,hahaha!
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Immortality will become possible,but only for Billionaires.
Nano-bots controlled by a SuperComputer will perform the
actual surgery transferring the Brain from the 100yr old
body to the 20yr old Clone.
There won't be any problem finding a Billionaire that can
get past the moralities involved.
Whatever Corporation offers immortality will charge at least $1,billion.
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Already, Mr. Edison tells us, the steam engine is emitting its last gasps. A century hence it will be as remote as antiquity as the lumbering coach of Tudor days

Ha, if Edison couldn't predict the future of tech, then no one can. Worth pointing out that steam turbines still produce about 80% of the world's electricity.
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Also some accurate things there about transportation. The steam locomotive was the predominant train during his time and these were eventually replaced by diesel and electric trains several decades after this prediction.

One could say his prediction about high speed electric trains was a good description of what happened in Europe and Japan during the 1980s.
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yes there are signs out there to predict the future not 100 percent but i would think 50 percent maybe . example i work at a pizza place for 6 years now i can tell when its going to be busy and i can also predict when they should call but it doesn't always happen. last sunday ago it got busy at lunch time then it ended at 2:30 how did i know well simple i know there was going to be a football game that sunday and when it turned 2:45 pm the phone rang i picked it up and said hi boss he sid hw did you know it was me i told him i got that gut feeling. and here is another example i live in phx az we bought a new house for 100,000 then the houses went for three times that value they told us there should be a Wendy's and office max right next to each other and a hark-ins some where in the same plaza but they stop building houses when the houses went for tripled in price then the house industry took a turn for the worst three to four years has past and they are building a hark-ins across from the circle kay so that proves you can predict the future there are sign to fallow and my dad says every ten years the home industry's almost crash i been around for 20 years now and saw the same thing twice. here is a clue for when to buy and sell houses when u see more than one crane in construction then its time to buy.
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In 2111, buildings housing businesses will be all different colors, not just gray. Transportation will be better and so everyone won't have to live in cities for convenience. There will be smaller hub cities, not just one big ones such as NY and Boston.

Space travel isn't faring too well and so we will learn to produce lush plant life in our deserts so we can inhabit them. Perhaps we'll have sea worlds, too, but I rather think we'll build up before we build out in the ocean.

Because people need to work, robots won't be as popular as people have imagined, although housework will definitely be easier to manage through clever, time saving inventions.

Shopping will be done through some kind of Internet system, and because the world will be so crowded, we'll all be more home oriented. In fact, we might have more family businesses operated out of the home as people did in the middle ages, but they'll be much more modern and efficient.

We'll still have governments and loyalties to our government, but we'll all have become so self sufficient that we won't have as much need for wars. Our interpersonal relations will start becoming more important than our relation to our governments. Ponderous government systems such as Fascism and Communism will seem even more cumbersome than they do now.

Clothes won't be scientific and efficient. They more advanced we become, the more we crave color and adornment.
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He predicted a light steel, so stainless is kinda out of the question, maybe something more like alloy, but one still has to keep the cost in mind seeing that he said it would be cheap.
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In 100 years from now, there will be only 4 or 5 countries, America, China, Europe, Africa and one more. The nuclear threat will be a thing of the past. The number of religions will have deminishe, and one religion will dominate over all others and it won't be Christianity. We will no longer have the Olympics and our homes will be mobile. And hopefuly teletransportation will be a few decades old in 2111.
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Light weight steel ~ aluminum siding. I wonder if he saw computers in our future? Anyone who thinks 2012 is dooms day needs to re~think the math. If 12/21/12 or 12/12/12 which ever is who ever's prediction, it's still off by a longshot. It wouldn't be 2012 because the numbers all have to be 1 & 2 so 12/12/2121 or 12/21/2112 would be more logical but I don't by into the hype. I won't won't even watch the movie 2012 becauae I won't support what I don't buy. How many fools does it take to change a light bulb?
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How many fools to change a light bulb? None. A fool has no clue he's in the dark. I made that up for Edison who would take claim for the 'change a light bulb' jokes if he were still alive. ;-)
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