2020 science expectations vs. reality


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Adventure Science Center Blog

Science Educators and guest authors exploring our world and the science and technology that connects us.



2020 science expectations vs. reality

2020 once sounded like a far off, mystical time. Now, it’s almost upon us. We are taking a look back at some of the predictions for a futuristic 2020 to see what came true – and what didn’t!

Expectation: In 1911, Richard Clement Lucas made a  prediction that the "useless outer toes" of humans would become used less and less, so that "man might become a one-toed race."

Reality: We have all 10 toes still as a species, but scientific advancements have led to bladed prosthetics for amputee athletes that continue to develop in efficiency and comfort.

Expectation: In 1994, the RAND corporation predicted: “During the 21st century, those houses that don't have a robot in the broom closet could have a live-in ape to do the cleaning and gardening chores. Also, the use of well-trained apes as family chauffeurs might decrease the number of automobile accidents.”

Reality: Self-driving cars are becoming more and more popular – and perhaps a bit more reliable than intelligent ape chauffeurs!

Expectation: In 2014, Michael J. O’Farrell predicted: “In the pending nanomobility era, I predict telepathy and teleportation will become possible by the year 2020—with both commonplace by 2040.”

Reality: Nanotechnology has come a long way, especially in healthcare, but we’re still waiting on the power of teleportation. Here’s hoping it happens in 2020!

Expectation: In 1997, Wired magazine published an article that predicted astronauts would land on Mars by 2020: “The four astronauts touch down and beam their images back to the 11 billion people sharing in the moment. The expedition is a joint effort supported by virtually all nations on the planet, the culmination of a decade and a half of intense focus on a common goal.”

Reality: Mars travel is coming! NASA is working on a plan to reach Mars by 2030 – if we’re really lucky.

Expectation: In 1937, Nikola Tesla predicted that “within a century, coffee, tea, and tobacco will be no longer in vogue… The abolition of stimulants will not come about forcibly. It will simply be no longer fashionable to poison the system with harmful ingredients.”

Reality: While we haven’t given up coffee and tea, he was right about tobacco usage falling dramatically. However, technology has led to tobacco replacements like e-cigarettes, the effects of which scientists still don’t fully understand.

Ready to celebrate the future? Join us for a retro-futuristic party at ACME Feed and Seed on New Year’s Eve! Our Learning Specialists will be onsite from 7 -10 p.m. with fun science experiences at this 21+ event!

The future is now! Let’s see what the dawn of a new decade will lead to in scientific discovery and achievement.

Posted by Carly Vaughn at 11:12 AM
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