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The Wired July 1997 issue is available on [Archive.org](https://archive.org/details/eu_Wired-1997-07_OCR/mode/2up) and the article the Long Boom is archived on [Wired.com](https://www.wired.com/1997/07/longboom/)


>In 2020, information technologies have spread to every corner of the planet. Real-time language translation is reliable. The great cross-fertilization of ideas, the ongoing, never-ending planetary conversation has begun. ...and has long since devolved into a global bar brawl, everyone drunk off their ass on each other's disinfo.




If it’s any consolation the fact that this notion is better understood by the denizens of the global conversation represents a necessary and healthy evolution in discourse. Understanding how potently terrible unlimited, hyper catered info can be is a good lesson. We are actually learning.


I agree. Although this is a silver lining, or an optimistic outlook that I think is still hard to fully grasp in the midst of what feels like a burn-it-all death spiral. But I feel like the younger generations are becoming far more adept at sussing out misinformation, and just generally inured to it. That, along with the rising awareness of how exactly view-optimizing algorithms play into our basest instincts (and the likely changes to the model which will have to come out of growing public repudiation) will only continue to build the base-layer savvy, or skeptical filter, that will become the standard for the post gullible generations.


>I feel like the younger generations are becoming far more adept at sussing out misinformation Do you have any evidence for that?


Not the original poster but at the high school I teach at, digital and news literacy as well as evaluation of sources have taken priority in social studies and english curriculums. The students are doing pretty well and are pretty savvy . Only anecdotal but the first statewide assessments are starting this year so we may have some data in the upcoming years.


This is very good to hear. Around the late 2000s is when I started finding out many research/library classes were getting cut nation wide in the US, and feel like that heavily contributed to what we are dealing with today.


Ability? No. It is enforced upon us, even for those of us who dn't want it. You have no idea how hard it is to get google to give you opinions and results for things that it thinks are outside of your bubble.


The weird thing is that a lot of the time is not even a conscious choice, it's just the best way for social media to get people to stay for longer on their platform; people not realising that they do live in a bubble of social media imo is actually quite a problem, and can lead to a lot of misunderstandings and unnecessary confrontation.


You just perfectly explained Reddit. This place is nothing but an echo chamber.


To be fair, this is what the majority of us experience in our social media interactions. I imagine scientists, engineers and other creators massively benefit from increased information sharing. It just mostly happens behind the scenes. The covid 19 vaccine is a good example of instantaneous information sharing being used for the public good.


disinformation is indeed one of the biggest threats to human kind now let's introduce really good and easy to make deepfakes


Its weird seeing the word 'meme' used in 1997.


It was brand new then and was being used by all the cool kids.


It was twenty years old back then. Dawkins wrote about them 1976.


Dawkins used it to refer to a viral idea, but it became part of the zeitgeist when the internet came along.


When Metal Gear Solid 2 came along it introduced it to an entirely different group than would be expected.




I heard that


Colonel... I'm trying to sneak around, but I'm dummy thicc and the clap of my asscheeks keeps alerting the guards!


Fuckin hell that’s the first time I looked up that word.


People weren't using "meme" as it's used today in 1997 even on the internet. This was a reference to Dawkins' definition of meme.


It means the same thing still.


> People weren't using "meme" as it's used today in 1997 even on the internet. yea i spent time almost every day on the internet from 99 on wards and it was not common at all, not even enough for me to remember seeing it once, until well after I graduated in 04


Finally an another meme historian.


*SIGH* meme historian and meme creators are real jobs that are actually posted on Indeed.com https://www.indeed.com/m/jobs?q=Meme


I always heard you lose your love for hobbies when you start to monetize them. I feel like among my friends I am regarded as a top tier memer and I don’t think I want to lose the crown posting shity memes for the man.


How did you meet my mom?


Didn't Snow Crash consider the virus a meme?




Just reading this book now. Why the fuck is Zucc using madness and concepts from this dystopian ass book to market his megacorp


In 2009, Peter Thiel, the first investor (edit: one of the first few investors?) in Facebook, [wrote:](https://www.cato-unbound.org/2009/04/13/peter-thiel/education-libertarian/) > ...I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible... The 1920s were the last decade in American history during which one could be genuinely optimistic about politics. Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women—two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians—have rendered the notion of "capitalist democracy" into an oxymoron... In our time, the great task for libertarians is to find an escape from politics in all its forms... Because there are no truly free places left in our world, I suspect that the mode for escape must involve some sort of new and hitherto untried process that leads us to some undiscovered country; and for this reason I have focused my efforts on new technologies that may create a new space for freedom. He also invested in [Curtis Yarvin](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtis_Yarvin)’s startup. Yarvin is usually cited as the originator of the movement that would become the [Dark Enlightenment](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Enlightenment), which closely mirrors Thiel’s thoughts in the above quote. Yarvin also claims to have coached Thiel. [Others have talked about this before in some more detail (and with more speculation).](https://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/j2sugf/rep_alexandria_ocasiocortez_asked_the_sec_to/g78ntfe/)


The metaverse is arguably the least dystopian thing in the book. In fact, the way it is described it is actually quite utopian, compared to what Zucc wants to create: It is described as a distributed system, held together by shared protocols (like email) rather than a walled garden controlled by a single entity (like facebook). L. Bob Rife is described as merely controlling the underlying hardware rather than the software. At least, that is how I read it. So that's the irony: He takes the only utopian concept from the book and turns it into a dystopia.


It's been around since Richard Dawkins used it in 1976. It's not new. And the concept has been around as long as people have gathered in societies.


So not an expert or anything but just going to do my best to elaborate on the idea of a "meme" a bit. So there is a theory known as "memetic theory" which is of course based on Richard Dawkins works. Its a theory that basically postulates that a "meme" is any idea that gets shared from one brain to another. You could actually think of any meme as being a living thing that gets born, grows, evolves, and gets reproduced much like a virus. The thing is though literally every single idea, skill, knowledge, basically everything you know is a meme. Knowing how to drive a car is a meme, knowing how to program a computer is a meme. Religion is a meme. Everything is a meme. We are basically walking breathing collections of memes. Everytime someone teaches you something or you teach anyone else something you are passing on a meme like a virus. Everytime you share an idea, etc. Conversations are basically humans sharing their meme viruses with each other like std's in an orgy. And yes, memetic theory itself is also a meme.


You're a meme!


No, YOU'RE a meme!


Oh, it's all meme meme meme!


Except for original ideas. There's a fair argument that almost anything a person creates is a derivative or alternative work to things they've seen, but I believe it's still possible to have true originality and come up with ideas that have never been communicated. Also by definition, ideas that don't take hold and spread are not memes.


Some say it's older than when the Joker did ballet


1997, wired: Meme! Tired: 56k modems


I meme, you're not wrong.


Maybe I missed it ...where was it used in this photo?


Its in the article.


I was still calling ‘em “mee-mees”


“BUT THERE'S A NEW, VERY DIFFERENT A BAD - a contagious idea - began spread¬ ing through the United States in the 1980s: America is in decline, the world is going to hell, and our children’s lives will be worse than our own. The particulars are now familiar: Good jobs are disappearing, working people are falling into poverty, the underclass is swelling, crime is out of control. The post-Gold War world is fragment¬ ing, and conflicts are erupting all over the planet. The environment is imploding - with global warming and ozone depletion, weTl all either die of cancer or live in Waterworld . As for our kids, the collapsing educational system is producing either gun-toting gangsters or burg¬ er-flipping dopes who can’t read. By the late 1990s, another meme began to gain ground. Borne of the surging stock market and an economy that won’t die down, this one is more positive: America is finally getting its economic act together, the world is not such a dangerous place after all, and our kids just might lead tolerable lives. Yet the good times will come only to a privileged few, no more than a fortunate fifth of our society. The vast majority in the United States and the world face a dire future of increasingly desperate poverty* And the environment? It’s a lost cause.“ Damn that’s spot on. Practically none of the good stuff happened. We are not walking on Mars. People don’t live to 120, and we as a world society constantly work against our long term self interests for short term gains because by and large leaders are on a shorter timeline than the results of global warming. They correctly predicted China’s ascendancy without realizing what it would mean. They made assumptions their correct predictions with technology, but had real utopian aspirations that were not realistic and didn’t account for how it would be utilized as a broad weapons of mass disinformation and isolation with the exception of their more cold realistic terrible predictions.


On a different note, i love looking at old pc adds and seeing how much their prices has come down. You rarely see a non gaming pc advertised over 1k bucks these days.


Very true. I can tell you...the mid to late 90s were both an amazing time, and a horrible time to be a PC gamer. Amazing because it seemed like every year, there was a quantum leap in either graphics, design, or online playability. But horrible, because each one of these leaps had a way of instantly rendering your $2K PC obsolete. Especially in the early days of 3D cards, when nobody had quite settled on a standard, and you had about a dozen options...all expensive. Pick the wrong one, and six months later, you have a $300 card that pretty much only supports the software that came with it.


Yup, I had (well, still have, somewhere) a PC that, while not top of the line or anything, but could play pretty much anything on good to great settings. By the time the next generation came around, everything was obsolete, and to upgrade anything meant upgrading everything since all the form factors changed on me.


Boom, indeed...


Apocalypse Bingo.


That's a bingo!!


Is that the way you say it?


u just say bingo


Gor la mi


First best Italian.


It’s just bingo.


BINGO! How fun.


I would like a different bingo card please.


Bingo, shit we're 10/10, that's Blackout!


Ehhh, I'd say 9.5. COVID is bad, but fortunately it wasn't 200m bad, only a few million. 🤷


*so far....


I’m playing blackout


Aren't 5 correct guesses enough for bingo? I could have done with just 5/10


Is it really bingo when all the boxes are colored in?


Omg, spoilers


Not spoilers anymore since we've seen all of those occured.


Lets hope the 200 million dead isnt a spoiler…


Cancer mortality is dropping, at least [in developed nations](https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0923753419374113). But 9/10 is still pretty bad.


Cancer mortality dropping won't lessen the burden on the healthcare system that arises from an increase in cancer. If anything, it would probably overwhelm the healthcare system even more, as even more people will need treatment and other resources since they survived. The metric you should be looking at is the trend in cancer diagnoses.




Hey now... come on... we didn't hit ALL of them...


Depending on your interpretation we did.


Some of them are factual/statistically untrue, but they certainly FEEL true. Crime is at record lows, but fear is at an all time high. Renewable energy is getting cheaper and cheaper but greed and what I'll call a lack of political will make things hard. 10 is dead on and what I'm most worried about.


I mean, it said crime and *terrorism*. 9/11 happened after this was published and it certainly changed how we live our lives. That was a real thing that happened, not just media hyperbole.


Not to downplay 9/11 because that was freaking huge and painful, but it was a single event. That's what I meant by feeling true. In other countries terrorism was/is a hazard in daily life. Imagine risking your life to go to the grocery store.


I only count 6 direct or near-direct hits. #9 is a partial. I'd have to see the article's predictions to judge #2 but I'd call that one a total bust. #8 is the same boat as #2; energy advances are slower than we want but it's not super expensive and it is making progress. #7 gets oddly specific with cancer. Healthcare wasn't really overwhelmed either outside the pandemic, which is covered by another point and so that overwhelming is separate. We can maybe call it a partial hit with the general poor health due to environmental factors. That, or lump it with #9 to make one complete hit. So I'd argue 8 hits tops. Horrifying, but not all for what that's worth.


With #9 the number is 200 million. Only 5 million have died from covid so far.


India, as of probably a month ago, was showing 450,000 deaths. But because of how hard hit they were and with lack of healthcare and reporting ability, those numbers are super low. The most accurate guess for covid deaths at that time in India alone is over 4 million. Even still, it's a far cry from 200m.


Under no "interpretation" are we bordering on a hot war with China (or even in a true "Cold War" for that matter), have new technologies been a "bust" with productivity gains continuing apace, has famine exploded due to climate change, has a surge in cancer overrun our health systems, has there been an explosion in crime or terrorism, or have energy prices gone so high as to stall the global economy. Even their "plague" scenario doesn't really fir. COVID has killed 5 million, not 200 million. Nor has the EU "broken down. That's eight wrong right there. Let's not get hyperbolic with the doomerism.


I think 9/11 and the subsequent terror attacks for the last 20 years count as a significant increase in terror from 1997. Especially if you throw in mass shootings which are effectively terror attacks and those have absolutely exploded. I’m with you on the rest not being completely correct or correct at all, but several are pretty damn close.


If the aftermath of 9/11 proves anything, it's that the threat of terrorism is greatly exaggerated. It's the reaction to it that is the real threat to the country.


Exactly! Terrorism isn't about killing people, it's about disruption and initiating backlash.


In other words, to create terror.


China certainly overtly thinks they're in a cold war with us, their idea of it is just colder than what the USSR's was. Economic and cyber attacks are a constant occurrence. On tech, automation has replaced a significant number of jobs and very few people - far less than have been replaced by it - reap the benefits of that. Famine I dunno, not a situation I follow. Cancer, no. But replace that with heart disease and that has absolutely been on a steady incline since 97. And it's getting worse at an increasingly rapid pace thanks to the whole "body positivity" crap telling people it's fine to be grossly overweight. Crime and terrorism? Seriously? Here's a wiki entry on Islamist terror attacks. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Islamist_terrorist_attacks There were like 8 total between 1970 and 2000, and nearly *300* between 2000 and today. There were more in the *last two years* than there were in the first 20 years counted. And this is just terror attacks by Islamic groups. Like honestly, you can't be serious lol. Energy prices haven't stalled the global economy, you can count that one. But COVID sure did, and Brexit hasn't helped. It's more spot on than you're giving credit for, by a lot.


Not an explosion in terrorism, but the terrorist attack on 9/11 caused the most powerful nation and oldest democracy to invade Iraq and cause convulsions in the Middle East. It also causes many Americans to pull back in fear, so much so that a "Muslim ban" is a key piece of a political platform 15 years later. Alternate energy sources didn't fail to materialize but were disincentivized, thus never fully materializing. I think the terrorism of 9/11 and subsequent attacks in Africa and Europe have significantly influenced the regressive political climate of today.


America, oldest democracy? I don’t want to make a big thing about it but 99.9% of the world would disagree.


Yeah that made me do a double take. Oh well, yet another american lost to their own indoctrination.


Thank you, was hopping in to the thread to say this. For anyone who gets here: [Crime has dropped](https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Crime_drop#:~:text=Criminal%20offenses%20against%20life%20declined,dropped%20by%2015%25%20to%20223.9.) [Productivity has increased](https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/labor-productivity-per-hour-PennWorldTable?time=1997..2017) (and obviously smart phones, personal computers, expansion of the internet, renewable energy, clearly some important tech here) Global warming has gotten worse, but many countries are making commitments to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. [Per capita emissions are going down in many developed countries](https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/co2-emissions-and-gdp?time=1997..latest) and [solar and wind have gotten absurdly cheaper, now being the cheapest sources of energy in the world](https://ourworldindata.org/uploads/2021/02/Price-of-electricity-new-renewables-vs-new-fossil-no-geo.png) and [air pollution has gotten much better](https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/death-rates-from-air-pollution?time=1997..2017&country=~OWID_WRL) [There is less undernourishment](https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/share-undernourished-region?facet=none) [Terrorism went up, but likely not as much as some here think] (https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/fatalities-from-terrorism?tab=chart&time=1997..2017&country=~OWID_WRL)


Productivity has increased while wages have stagnated mean all the extra work has been siphoned off by American oligarchs.


Productivity has increased but wages have not kept pace with [that increase](https://www.epi.org/productivity-pay-gap/), and they certainly haven’t come close to [keeping up with inflation](https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2021/11/10/inflation-has-taken-away-all-the-wage-gains-for-workers-and-then-some.html). In many developed nations, especially the US, [income inequality is getting worse](https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/sep/09/inequality-is-it-rising-and-can-we-reverse-it); it’s actually worse now than during the [French Revolution](https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/09/us-income-inequality-its-worse-today-than-it-was-in-1774/262537/). As for climate change, the most recent IPCC report warned that major climate changes are [already inevitable and irreversible](https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/aug/09/humans-have-caused-unprecedented-and-irreversible-change-to-climate-scientists-warn) and the news out of COP26 is really not very encouraging. The very urgent and sweeping changes needed to keep us at even 1.5c (originally our goal was to keep it below that, but that’s looking [dimmer by the year](https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2020/1/3/21045263/climate-change-1-5-degrees-celsius-target-ipcc)) are just not being made. Our window to prevent cataclysmic disaster is small and shrinking rapidly. Your post is very nice and optimistic, but it’s also not very realistic. It would be lovely to just be able to be optimistic and positive, but that really hasn’t gotten us anywhere when it comes to taking action. That optimism breeds complacency, but realism and the very human drive for survival breed action. It’s great to be hopeful, but you’ve got to pair that hope with action and advocacy and drive.


Nice to know this truly is the worst timeline


Definitely the stupidest timeline


Welcome to Costco, I love you




As bad as our timeline is, there's one that saw Trump win in 2020, or one worse... he lost but succeeded on Jan 6. Small blessings


It'll be back on track to being a shit show of stupidity and hate when 2025 rolls around. REMEMBER! The filibuster is WAAAAAAAAAAY more important than ending partisan gerrymandering and expanding the right to vote. /s


That'll just be all the more reason to vote blue in 2027 and 2029, surely the people we vote in will make sure that no more nightmare scenarios can ever happen again! /s


It is so hard to figure out whether the demkcats fail to change any of this is bc of incompetence or bc they don’t actually want change.


9 Covid


I wanted Biden to do better things. Trump just despoiled things left and right. But Biden hasn't stopped any environmental damage - we have new oil pipelines, new coastal drilling, new coal leases, no new healthcare, no better water, no better education, no student debt rollback, no better min. wage, no better career transition support.....


Non-American here, so excuse me if that question sounds dumb, but aren't all of these things something the Republicans in the House and Senate would have to vote "yes" on if proposed by the current administration? I know executive orders are a thing, but you can't really run a country based on those, as they'd immediately be overturned by the next Republican administration. Or is there some other process of turning those things into laws in the US that I'm unaware of?


It's because in the US congress is really in charge of a lot of that. And a 50-50 senate with the filibuster is stopping everything. Had it been 52-48 or 53-47 I think we'd have way more of what was promised.


This ain't the sacred timeline. That's for sure.


If we were in the sacred timeline, Elongated Muskrat would be small potatoes next to the guy flying around in a suit of armour.


Granted all those scenarios weren't far-fetched. The US, Russia, and China have been the clear players for decades. Pollution has been a huge issue for decades. Climate change has been known about for decades. A pandemic has happened so often that it'd be unusual *not* to have one. And ours hasn't killed 200 million people... This is more about the writers of the article being good journalists than anything.


> This is more about the writers of the article being good journalists than anything. Well that's another thing that's disappeared ...


Kinda thinking it's a little too much to be a coincidence, tbh


If I was a conspiracy nut, this list sure looks more like a How-to than a warning.


Y'all are reading so much into this. Look at this list objectively. 1. Tensions between China and the US are on nothing even close to the cold war. 2. Technologies have not turned out to be a bust at all. If anything, they have become too productive to the point where they trivialize certain types of labor. 3. Russia is basically run by a mafia, but has lost global military power and does not threaten Europe. 4. Eastern and Western Europe have reunified to a large extent, though inequality remains. 5. This one is very real and has not even fully materialized. Certainly will be accurate. 6. 9/11 was a huge deal, and domestic terrorism continues to be a threat. But it doesn't affect day-to-day life or prosperity in the way this suggests. 7. No evidence of this. 8. Has not happened at all. Alternative energy is getting cheaper and the main oil price problems have been when it is oversupplied. 9. Only 5 million deaths, but it certainly ground the world to an economic halt. Probably the most salient of the predictions. 10. Hasn't happened yet and doesn't appear likely.


1. agreed 2. agreed 3. Ukraine would like a word 4. Brexit 5. agreed 6. Patriot Act, TSA, local police militarization 7. agreed 8. a few supply chain hiccups recently but agreed 9. the prediction was off only in scale. and COVID isn't done with us yet 10. Sheeee-it. If you don't think Trumpism in the US and the rise of authoritarianism globally isn't a backlash to social progress I don't know what to say


>prediction was off only in scale. By two orders of magnitude.


I dont understand. Everything is a scale. Some of those things happened to some degree, but like... > 25 years of vast global economic expansion that would bring increased prosperity That literally happened. We live in the best timeline under that ideal. Global GDP per capita in inflation adjusted $PPP increased by almost 60% in 1997. Prosperity has never been anywhere close to this high for humanity. Extreme poverty is not only at an all time low, but it's lower than our wildest dreams. Every report made in 1985-1990 when the worlds developed nations made their pledges to end global extreme poverty estimate absolute best case scenario we'd lower it to 10-12% by 2025. It's 7% in 2021. It was ***40%*** in 1985. The pessimism on reddit is astounding to me sometimes. We've lived in the greatest economic boom humanity has ever seen the last 25 years, yet we act as though the opposite occurred.


I think the feeling is that this boom came about due to economic exploitation of poor countries and immense environmental damage, and it’s enriched a lot of awful people to absurd amounts. So it’s basically unsustainable and it feels like our chickens are about to come home to roost.


Elites use dystopian predictions as blueprint. Always have.


I was thinking it looks to have been taken as a list of instructions since it was published.


I remember this


Yeah I remember reading this article in 97


I was born in 2002 and reading your comment almost blew my mind for some reason. It felt oddly strange to see that someone has already read the article back in 97 and commenting about it in the present time. The concept of time is really weird.


I feel you. It always sort of blew my mind that people I knew actually witnessed the moon landing, but then here I am with vivid memories of 9/11 that must give you a similar feeling. Wild.








Can I come over to the fun side, now?


Wow. Who signed up Cassandra to write this. Much more accurate than I would have thought possible.




They didn't listen to her either.


Why is everyone saying #7 happened? Cancer may have increased, but certainly not to the point where it has overwhelmed our medical system.


Cancer hasn't increased. Edit: source https://ourworldindata.org/cancer The only way someone could claim that cancer has increased is if they failed to account for increasing or aging population. It's a common misconception to think that cancer rates or deaths are increasing. The truth is that modern medicine has been making slow and steady progress.


What a fantastic reality shock. Age normalised cancer deaths have decreased 15% over the last ~30 years.


Absolutely - cancer survivorship has increased even since the 90s, it’s just that it’s obfuscated by an ageing population. The numbers are particularly obvious when looking at younger age groups: https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/incidence/age (UK, but trend is similar in most western economies)


I'm pretty excited about the crisis that will take place once we realize health science can be too good. Another popcorn event for me.


I want to know how many of these that is true hasn't already been true in 1997 when it's published.


We’re closer to a remake of Mad Max and we’re all part of it!


We're in the prequel. LOL


Boys, we are one war with China short of punching all 10 points on our Apocalypse Rewards Card and getting a free infrastructure collapse.


Hot war with China was just extra credit, we already punched all 10!


Here in the worst timeline we do everything 100%


When us humans fuck things...we fuck them hard.


…and it’s predictable.


Yeah. It’s crazy how many people are commenting “but they all didn’t come true exactly” when this was a predictive article written 25 years ago that got *pretty damn close to a whole lot of things that actually came to pass.* if even a couple had been close it would have been interesting, but like 75%+ came true in some way. That’s frightening.


JFC, this is depressing. And don’t get me wrong, 1-8 are terrifyingly accurate, but the combination of 9 and 10 just feel so fresh and devastating.




I’m worried shitless about all of them, but if we can’t get people to acknowledge the issues, and even stop working against our collective interest with disinformation etc. we’re screwed.


Looks like our global leaders read the article and thought this was some kind of playbook to world domination… 🤦‍♀️


Some idiot filed this under 'to do'


They sure didn't predict that people hate black text on a red background.


That’s the idea


Scary how a lot of them are already clearly developing. 1. The only reason why this is not immediately apparent in the same way as the cold war was is becouse China just buys nations instead of using military pressure. So its less of a cold military war but more a cold economic war. But a large conflict none the less. 2. The internet. It was supposed to revolution the way the world communicates and would bring everyone together. In reality its used as a weapon to sow internal conflict and undermine progress. Right now it made people a lot of money, but it may very well be the cause of the next depression if not brought under control. 3. Wrong, but only becouse they picked the wrong things for Russia to devolve into. If they were just going to say its not a liberal democracy. It would be correct. 4. Nailed it down perfectly. Eastern and western Europe are two completely different areas with extremely different ideas. This fracture may prove to much to heal. In the best case scenario we see the return of the Iron curtain with a liberal democracy on the west and a far right authoritarian regime on the right. But a collapse of Europe with various new conflicts can in the long run not be ruled out. 5. Not yet. But if nothing is done, its just a matter of when this one starts. 6. Sort of. While the average person is not scared of being blown up. Terrorism is going mainstream as a method in political debates. With threatening aggressive actions seen more and more as a justifiable means of protest and defended by politicians when they see fit. Its not do what I say or we will blow up another school. But more do what I say or we will disrupt national transportation or riot. Smaller scale acts of terrorism like burning down buildings are also becoming more common as a result of this. 7. While the hospitals are not overrun with cancer. Pollution is starting to make large impacts on city planning with housing projects or roads being disrupted by concerns of negative health effects. Its not a case where being to late is causing the disruptions. But our efforts to prevent this just not being free of economic consequences. 8. Check. Europe went through a mayor gas crisis a few months ago with prices doubling in just a few weeks time and fuel jumping 50 cents per liter. Things have stabilized now, but the effects still haven't fully hit the consumer yet. The political rammifications of being this dependent on Russian gas for a while also arent clear yet. 9. The number was just a guess so may prove to be wrong. But its undeniable a near perfect prediction of Corona. 10. You just have to look at backlash towards measures to combat climate change, obesity, Corona or other mayor issues to see this one in action.


I would say Putin runs one of the most successful kleptocracys the world has ever seen...


Umm, 3 is bang on. Russia *is* a kleptocracy. Putin is believed to be the richest man in the world. The only reason it's not "run by the Mafia" is that it's not the Mafia when it's the Government - Russia is not *quite* pre-Revolution Cuba. They didn't foresee similar things happening in India and Turkey, but they haven't had the impact Russia's has - yet. 6 is also 100% correct - this is from 25 years ago. That's pre-9/11. If you're not old enough to remember the immediate aftermath of that, it was pretty much as called. 10 is Trump in a ~~nuthouse~~ nutshell.


At least we've avoided that major increase in cancer! Then we'd be really screwed.


You're right. Adjusted for population size the cancer rate has been decreasing. Source: https://ourworldindata.org/cancer


8 or 9 are dead on.


Covid has killed just over 5 million (probably undercounted by a million or two) While terrible, that is nowhere near the devastation of a virus that kills 200 million


We got very lucky twice. SARS-CoV-1 would have killed hundreds of millions but got stopped before it got out of control. It had high enough R0 to get out of control given enough antimasking don't tread on my rights type idiocy. SARS-CoV-2 thankfully is a lot milder than the first, but we infected a lot of animals with it so we'll see what kind of "deer COVID" we'll get in a decade or two. Still not over until its over. We may well end up with 20 million dead before the vaccine is universally available worldwide and/or everyone who could die of it dies.


You are correct. We are super lucky this wasn't a repeat of SARS-Cov1. The world was not in any way prepared for it, and we can see now that there was a serious lack of will to even try. Worse, a heretofore unrecognized will to sabotage remedies. We would have been super hosed.


Don't get too comfy. There's no reason to think there won't ever be a SARS-CoV-3.


I wonder how many deaths within, say, five years of infection that we will get though. For instance, from all the people who survived their hospital stay but now have lung function loss, liver, kidney or heart disease, totally reliant on oxygen etc. That could really bolster the number of deaths very quickly. Potentially we are just at the tip of the iceberg.


And count the consequences. The economic crisis this virus caused impacted directly on people's finances. Many already poor countries are going to die by the millions. They'll never make the headlines. But I can see it happening now. Central America, Africa.


[It’s not just underdeveloped nations; covid was exacerbated **by** economic inequality and then **it** exacerbated economic inequality.](https://abcnews.go.com/amp/Business/extreme-inequality-preexisting-condition-covid-19-widened-americas/story?id=71401975)


I'm one of those, you're 100% spot on.


Uh pretty sure 5 is about a decade out from being the reality. Multiple bread basket failure is a major concern. Also saltwater intrusion cutting off freshwater for entire states/regions of countries. South Florida is gonna be in big trouble if the Biscayne aquifer goes brackish.


Yup and 10 is starting to look very real as well. And freaking prophetic that they called it.


Thanks. I somehow skipped that one. Really the only one that was needed to ruin progress and send us hurtling back towards the dark ages. I have a decision to make: tequila or vodka.


Why not both? Make a 'The Room' smoothie.


9 is not really dead on, there are only about 5 million covid deaths world wide.


8's only wrong because the rich won't let the alternatives flourish.


Well a frightening number of these spoilers are currently happening so that sucks


10/10 High score, nice


I mean, I gotta cut 2 some slack. The internet's a bust at times only because 10.


It’s definitely not a 10/10. While there is major tension between China and the US it certain is not on the level of the Cold War. New tech is a mixed bag but overall has boosted the economy and productivity. COVID has been horrible in its own right but no where near as catastrophic as killing 200 million. While we are starting to see a bit of these scenarios none of them has come fully about and we still have a large change to solve them. But we can’t have people with the mindset of “we are doomed”. If anything is going to be the end of us, apathy is certainly going to play a role.


Sure we didn't get 100% of any of those sinarios. Instead we got 50% of all of them.






Is it apathy though? I think people do genuinely care and want change, but we have zero say. It's all in the hands of a few octogenarians in political positions and oligarchs who control most of the nations wealth. Look at things like UBI - a majority of the population wants it, but our opinion doesn't matter because we don't have the power to make it happen. Socialized medicine. Wealth taxation. Drug decriminalization. Price caps on medicine. The people want these changes, but we can't make it happen, even by voting. When it starts looking like we might make a change, gerrymandering makes it impossible. The whole system is rigged against us.


My impression is that the list goes always a bit too far in its scenarios, but still things going in all those directions did happen. 1. While relations with China are indeed not good, overall they seem far from a cold war, let alone a hot one, with the markets still relying strongly on China and all. 2. The advent of smartphones and social media, and the detrimental role these technologies have played in mental health and politics could apply. But it's not like there was a big technological failure or anything, outside of maybe too much wide-eyed optimism regarding what the Internet would be socially. 3. Russia did not become a democratic country, and it is working on annexing some territories, but it's not to the extent that it threatens Europe. 4. The European Union's original momentum has slowed down, but it did achieve a union of most stable European countries. 5. Climate change has continued to become a bigger problem, though not in the way the article thinks. 6. There was no major rise of terrorism, but the effect was achieved nonetheless in the US and Europe with great success, thanks to just a few key, incredibly traumatic events. 7. Pollution remains a big problem, but only the poor actually suffer from it. The health system however, was indeed ill-prepared to face other problems. 8. There was no new energy crisis. The Middle East has problems though, but they didn't result in an energy crisis. 9. Turns out, it wasn't even necessary to get a terrible plague for the world's healthcare systems to crack... 10. There is undeniably a reactionary movement in the West. Is it going to send us back to the dark ages though? That seems unlikely, as it could also be the last gasps of a dying system. But time will tell.


To point 3. - russia threatens europe a lot. Just take a look at Ukraine / Belarus or ask some Polish, Estonian people. They are killing ruthlessly political enemies all over Europe etc..


Thanks for this level-headed response. Also: Note that the biggest actual negative event isn't on this list: The collapse of the financial system.


Such a good, balanced comment. I’d just started secondary school (high school) in 1997 and we were talking about all of these constantly back then. I’m a molecular biologist, so spent a lot of time talking about epidemiology and cancer, and what was meant back then by points 7 & 9 are nowhere near reality right now. For what we were thinking was coming in the early 2000’s, we got lucky with Cov 19. And a fucking good job too, because it turns out a ridiculously high proportion of western populations can’t wear a simple mask for the good of their neighbour.


> 5. Climate change has continued to become a bigger problem, though not in the way the article thinks. The biggest threat of climate change is increasing food insecurity. There are famines happening right now due to climate change, for example the famine in Madagascar. As for other natural disasters that are caused by climate change, the immediate impact of lives lost is indeed terrible, but they also impact agriculture and infrastructure which leads to a more fragile food system.


Oh wow, where’s the OG source?


[Here you go, sorry you posted faster than me :(](https://www.reddit.com/r/interestingasfuck/comments/qyigpc/comment/hlg6ck6/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3)


Unfortunately they missed the scenario that actually prevented their projection from coming true…the greed and self interest of those at the top to prevent the increased prosperity from trickling down to actually benefit society as a whole. COVID is actually a non-issue in the macro view of economic development over the past 25 years as we actually have seen global expansion and unprecedented levels of productivity. Wired just didn’t assume that the ruling class would keep all of it for themselves.


Did the powers that be read this and think it was a to-do list?


Good job, team! We've checked off everything on the list!


Looks like someone at Wired got to glimpse at the playbook.


This was a warning not a goddamn to-do list


So.... professional forecaster here. I get paid to make forecasts on future events for a company called Good Judgment. Feel free to research it and join the Open Competition if you can. In order to get invited to join the professional team you have to finish in the top ten in the world (out of tens of thousands of forecasters) over a year or so. One of the main items in any forecast is the question has to have a specific criteria for resolution, in a specific time frame, and specific wording that is not ambiguous. Every single one of these potential items fails all of the criteria. So none of these would even be acceptable questions for us to forecast. Why? Because every one could be subjectively answered as True or False at virtually any time with no cut off. Look at the China/US cold war one. A true question we might get at GJ would be "will there be a military fatality of a US soldier caused by the Chinese army by 1/1/22." Specific criteria, over a specific time with no ambiguity for resolution. The "technology is a bust" is atrocious, and not even anything close to specific or unambiguous. Some are routine parts of the cycle of the world (famines for example). When you have people that live in non-arable swaths of land famines happen. Especially when dictators control the food supply. I could go through every one, and will if anyone cares. But reading the comments it is clear to me that everyone reads the ambiguity in the questions and resolves them however they see fit. It's exactly what charlatans and psychics do.


I’ve never been so bummed to save a post


They jinxed it.


Not one point about the rampant capitalism and its oligarchy hindering the progress for imaginary money growth? I thought that was obvious since 1920


Meh. Any student of history could have come up with this. The seeds for most of this had already been planted and the rest, as they say, is history


Ok that's bananas. Should get that not so coveted Hate to Be Right award.


Good thing none of those 10 things have happened