The Fu­ture Is Now

Pre­dict­ing break­throughs in 1996, we were far too con­ser­va­tive

Bloomberg Businessweek (Europe) - - CONTENTS -

What we missed: In 2009, the mys­te­ri­ous “Satoshi Nakamoto” pro­posed that bit­coins be “mined” from data rather than is­sued by a cen­tral bank. At press time, a bit­coin was trad­ing at $569.

This spring, an an­ti­body in some HIV pa­tients re­stored hope for a vac­cine. In 2015, in a move we didn’t fore­see, “anti-vaxxer” par­ents in­flu­enced by Jenny McCarthy and Don­ald Trump helped make measles scary again.

It’s not as en­dear­ing as The Jet­sons’ Rosie, but the iRobot Roomba, an au­tonomous vac­uum cleaner, has sold more than 10 mil­lion units.

In 1996, Al­cor, a Scotts­dale, Ariz., com­pany, had 67 heads and bod­ies in deep freeze, cryosus­pen­sion await­ing re­vival. Now it has 146. Walt Dis­ney isn’t among them, but Ted Wil­liams is. “He doesn’t give us a hard time,” says Al­cor’s Diane Cre­meens. “He keeps to him­self.”

When David and I pub­lished Re­al­ity Check: Here’s the Real Fu­ture 20 years ago, some pat­ted us on the pro­peller beanie and told us nice try, but you’re far too boos­t­er­ish. The tech break­throughs we’d fore­cast on a time­line, they told us, were go­ing to take far longer to ar­rive than we and our ex­pert sources sug­gested. So did they?

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