This month was all about the wonderful future that never was, and futures never imagined that came to pass.

Here’s a list of books and articles we explored for the topic:

  • Book (inspiration for this topic): Popular Mechanics The Wonderful Future that Never Was: Flying Cars, Mail Delivery by Parachute, and Other Predictions from the Past – Gary Benford –
  • Article: Eight Disney Tomorrowlands of the Past, Present and Future –
  • Article: What people in 1900 thought France in the year 2000 would look like – The Washington Post –
  • Book (focus is on how much actually came to pass): Tomorrowland: Our Journey from Science Fiction to Science Fact – Steven Kotler –

To get the conversation going, I asked people beforehand to think about 3 things imagined when you were much younger (for example, 12 years old), and three things you never imagined then that in fact came to pass. Here are my responses:

  • 3 things imagined/didn’t happen:
    • Personal jet-pack travel point-to-point everywhere.
    • Colonies on the moon.
    • Global starvation (arguably is happening – 800 million people/13.5% of global population per UN World Food Programme)
  • 3 things not imagined/did happen:
    • Ubiquity of the Internet
    • Continued increased lifespans (U.S. – male: 76 years , female: 81 years, was 67 and 74 in 1970)
    • Transgender rights as a front and center issue (didn’t even know about the concept then)