Do you remember yourself at 14-years old? If someone asked you then what you thought you'd be like in 10 years, you'd probably say something like, "I bet I'm gonna grow a sick beard and work out and get super strong and never stop fucking!" Well look at you now: Single, unemployed, and the closest thing you have to a 'sick beard' is that diseased-looking splotchy collection of neck hair you keep forgetting to shave. In short, you are a massive disappointment to your younger, more idealistic self.
That's sort of how the world is, too. With the first decade of the 2000s out of the way, we decided to find a bunch of predictions people of the past had about life in the 2000s. We wish we didn't, because, cousin, we fucked up. For almost every prediction our ancestors made for us, we not only dropped the ball, but we stomped on it, spit on it, poured syrup on and ate the shit out of the ball. The only thing more depressing than how awesome the predictions were? They're all totally doable...
6The Natural World: Man Goes Nuts on Nature
What They Predicted:
People at the turn of the century fully expected that mankind would have utterly devastated the natural world by now. They envisioned an Earth with no wildlife whatsoever remaining, save for what we specifically bred and protected. And they had a word to describe this barren, lifeless wasteland:
Apparently the people in the past were pretty sure we would've finally gotten our shit together and won the war against Mother Nature that we all forgot we were waging. They saw a future where there were literally "no Mosquitoes nor Flies. Insect screens will be unnecessary. Boards of health will have destroyed all mosquito haunts and breeding-grounds, drained all stagnant pools, filled in all swamp-lands, and chemically treated all still-water streams. The extermination of the horse and its stable will reduce the house-fly." They not only thought we would have intentionally burned, paved over, and chemically sterilized all the world's marshland, but look at how they thought we'd reduce the house-fly problem: "The extermination of the horse." The horse. As in, the collective horse. The entire species.
And they fucking loved horses!
But the second the animals ceased to be useful, turn-of-the-century man fully expected our race to rise up and terminate all horse-kind, and then mount their mournful heads on pikes in our yards as a warning to the rest of the natural world: This is what we do to our friends, motherfucker, what chance do you have?
"Look at the wondrous variety of fish, Harold! ...Fire up the lasers!"
The 1900s did accurately predict Genetically Modified foods, stating that we'd all "be eating strawberries the size of apples" regardless of season, which was spot-on. However, they also expected that "figs will be cultivated over the entire United States." And man, we really dropped the ball on that one. To the extent that--unless a fig is a rectangular pad of dirt and grapes whose primary function is turning perfectly good Newtons into filth-pastries--most Americans don't even know what an actual fig looks like.
Is that... is that a fig? IS THAT WHAT FUCKING FIGS ARE?! I PUT THAT IN MY MOUTH! AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!
What We Have Instead:
Not only do we still have squirrels in the modern world, we actually have organizations solely dedicated to protecting them. We didn't just forget about the war on nature; we completely switched sides. Sure, there are still some hold-outs--people with McRib tattoos who think a "vegan" is something from Dragonball Z--but even those people aren't in favor of completely wiping out every single species of animal on the planet. Turn-of-the-century man had a scorched-earth policy for the Earth itself; the fact that you're not stabbing a raccoon right now absolutely sickens them.
5The Future of War: Road Warrior
What They Predicted:
Men of the 1900s generally thought people of the future would be flitting about in Wile E. Coyote-style ad-hoc contraptions slapped together from balloons, steam and top hats. They didn't really see a place for the car...outside of using them to kill the shit out of each other in epic steel machine-jousts that put Robot Jox to shame.
In the past, men envisioned the modern world as a dark dystopia where "war cars will be used for all modern ground combat" and "giant guns will shoot twenty-five miles or more, with shells that explode entire cities." And that isn't terribly far off from the scale of artillery we have now. However, they thought the only logical counter-measure to these god-bullets were gargantuan "bomb-proof forts, protected by great steel plates over their tops as well as sides. Huge forts on wheels that will dash across open spaces at the speed of express trains." Roving death forts dashing across the devastated landscape to destroy city-sized gun emplacements? Literally every man on Earth has experienced a moment of pure, simple joy and immediately thought "This is pretty good, I guess. But I wish it was a little more like The Road Warrior." The fact that our highways are not mostly paved with corpses can be considered nothing less than a vast disappointment to our ancestors.
What We Have Instead:
For some reason about 20 years ago, we started making all of our cars out of plastic and fairy wishes. As recently as the '60s, America seemed to be on the right path to commuting in war machines. With a few basic, bazooka-centric modifications and perhaps some liberal barbwire accessorizing, an Impala or a Charger could easily have doubled as a death chariot on a moment's notice. Now we have things like the KIA Rio and the Prius; vehicles more likely to lose a game of chicken with an actual chicken than to strike fear into the hearts of our enemies.
The only thing keeping 1900s man from turning the entire world into a game of Twisted Metal was the impracticality of mounting a flamethrower on a horse. We have the method and means to turn our daily commute into a deathmatch, but are reluctant to do so much as lay on the horn for fear of roadrage. They would weep if they could see the potential we are wasting. And when they were finished weeping, they'd probably slaughter us with their fire-horses (We said it was impractical, not impossible).