The Most Inaccurate Technological Predictions


Technology is an excellent indicator of the level of development of a civilization. When we think about the future, we often imagine a world where every task is simplified, where machines are smarter than humans and do almost everything instead of us.

Traditionally, every few years we make predictions about the influence some new technological invention will have on human society. While some of these prognoses have been quite accurate, others have been way off. Here's a list of the most inaccurate predictions related to technology.

Useless telephones

The US National Archives safeguard an internal memo from 1876 by the company Western Union. It says, "Telephones have too many defects to be considered a form of communication. The devices in essence have no value to us." More than a century later, it is abundantly clear to everyone that this prediction was wrong.

X-rays - a charlatan's device

In a speech, The Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh from 1890–1895, claimed that X-rays were nothing but fantasy and that only a charlatan could claim that they could be used by medicine in any way.


Movies - a temporary fad

During the premier of "The Great Dictator", famous actor and director Charlie Chaplin said that film was a temporary fad that would soon die out because most people preferred to go to the theater.

Train travel - impossible

Irish scientific writer Dionysius Lardner, who popularized science and technology through his books, said at a science fair in London that travel by train at high speed is impossible because the passengers wouldn't be able to breathe and would die of suffocation.

Airplanes - science fiction

Throughout his whole life, Simon Newcomb, an American scientist living in the 19th century, held that it was impossible to create flying machines and even if someone did manage to create such a contraption, it would be impractical and insignificant to human civilization because it would be unable to transport cargo and people.

Vacuums - small nuclear devices

In 1990, the president of the largest vacuum manufacturing company in the world predicted that by 10 years' time, these home appliances would be nuclear-powered. Even now, in 2016, there is no presumption that the creation of such a device is possible.

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