“Whether they foresee runaway technology or runaway government, rampant poverty or vanishing morality, a majority of Americans predict a future worse than today,” according to a recent article from The Associated Press.
Based on a December 2013 survey from the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, the AP reported that 54 percent of those surveyed expect American life to go downhill, while 23 percent think it will improve.
“Whites are particularly gloomy,” the article said. “Only 1 in 6 expects better times over the next four decades. Also notably pessimistic are middle-age and older people, those who earn midlevel incomes and Protestants.”
“Even groups with comparatively sunny outlooks — racial and ethnic minorities, the young and the nonreligious — are much more likely to say things will be the same or get worse than to predict a brighter future,” the article said.
What about you? Do you believe the future will be worse in 40 or 50 years than it is today or do you expect things to get better? People have tried to predict what the next 50 years would look like without much success.
It’s easy to get a glimpse of future technology by visiting a Consumer Electronics Show or estimating the global population based on its growth rate today. But guessing what conditions will be like five decades from now is nearly impossible.
For example, on Aug. 16, 1964, the New York Times ran an article by Isaac Asimov, a Boston University biochemistry professor, on a “Visit to the World’s Fair of 2014.” Asimov, best known for his science fiction writings, asked his readers, “What will life be like, say, in 2014 A.D., 50 years from now?
While his guesses about the world’s population and certain advancements in technology were understandably close, here are excerpts of his best predictions for 2014, published in the New York Times of 1964:
“By 2014, electroluminescent panels will be in common use. Ceilings and walls will glow softly, and in a variety of colors that will change at the touch of a push button.
At the New York World’s Fair of 2014, General Motors’ ‘Futurama’ may well display vistas of underground cities complete with light-forced vegetable gardens.
“In fact, the IBM building at the 2014 World’s Fair may have, as one of its prime exhibits, a robot housemaid [that is] large, clumsy, slow-moving but capable of general picking-up, arranging, cleaning and manipulation of various appliances.
“The appliances of 2014 will have no electric cords, of course, for they will be powered by long-lived batteries running on radioisotopes. The isotopes will not be expensive for they will be by-products of the fission-power plants which, by 2014, will be supplying well over half the power needs of humanity.
“There is every likelihood that highways at least in the more advanced sections of the world will have passed their peak in 2014; there will be increasing emphasis on transportation that makes the least possible contact with the surface. There will be aircraft, of course, but even ground travel will increasingly take to the air a foot or two off the ground. Bridges will also be of less importance, since cars will be capable of crossing water on their jets, though local ordinances will discourage the practice.
“Most surprising and, in some ways, heartening, 2014 will see a good beginning made in the colonization of the continental shelves. Underwater housing will have its attractions to those who like water sports. Indeed, the most somber speculation I can make about A.D. 2014 is that in a society of enforced leisure, the most glorious single word in the vocabulary will have become work!”
That’s what this brilliant scientist predicted for our time. Predictions made in 1900 about the year 2000 were even more preposterous. ABC News ran a story called “1900 Predictions of the 20th Century.”
The December 2000 article said, “Scientists thought we’d talk with Martians, and that perhaps they’d resemble giant dragonflies with 72-foot wingspans. Andrew Carnegie hoped warfare would ‘become the most dishonorable’ profession, and Secretary of the Navy John D. Long held the common belief that war would be abolished.”
Theodore Waters of The New York Herald wrote, “That there will be drunkards is probably out of the question. Cancer, which is rapidly passing tuberculosis in the race for the human race, would be stamped out, because its first appearance could be guarded against. The same would apply to other maladies.”
Obviously, opinion polls, even by so-called experts, fall way short of what the future holds. On the other hand, have you ever read what Jesus Christ predicted for our time nearly 2000 years ago? Instead of predicting a utopian society without wars or diseases, Jesus foretold exactly what we are seeing today.
Read Matthew chapter 24, Mark chapter 13 and Luke chapter 21. Not only does it describe today’s major problems accurately, but it foretells good news for all those putting faith in God’s Kingdom, His Son and His Word.
Of course, we can always choose to put our trust in the predictions of humans. I mean, how far off can they be? Really? Need I go on?