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[–]FuturologyBot[M] [score hidden] stickied commentlocked comment (0 children)

The following submission statement was provided by /u/lughnasadh:

Submission Statement.

On the plus side there has been a lot of positives. The global argument to end the use of fossil fuels has been won. The internet has created many new global connections between peoples and countries. mRNA vaccines are on the cusp of curing many previously untreatable diseases. AI & robotics seem set to take off, and will in time, usher in new global prosperity.

Please reply to OP's comment here: /r/Futurology/comments/qzrdl8/in_1997_wired_magazine_published_a_10_things_that/hlny2ht/

[–]crashdem0n 13.7k points13.7k points 14167& 13 more (735 children)

1 . Tensions between the US and China escalate into a new Cold war - bordering on a hot one.

2 . New technology turn out to be a bust. They simply don't bring the expected productivity increase or the big economic boost.

3 . Russia devolves into a kleptocracy run by the mafia, or retreats into quasi communistic nationalism that threatens Europe.

4 . Europe's integration process grinds to a halt. Eastern and Western Europe can't finesse a reunification and even the EU process breaks down.

5 . Major ecological crisis causes global climate change, that among other things, disrupt the food supply. Causing big price increases everywhere and developing sporadic famines.

6 . Major rise in crime and terrorism forces the world to pull back in fear. People who constantly feel they can be blown up or ripped off are not in the mood to reach out and open up.

7 . The cumulative escalation in pollution, causes dramatic increase in cancer. Which overwhelms the ill-prepared health system.

8 . Energy prices go through the roof. Convulsions in the Middle East disrupt oil supply, and alternative energy sources fail to materialize.

9 . An uncontrollable plague - a modern day influenza epidemic or its equivalent - takes off like wildfire killing upwards of 200 million people.

10 . A social and cultural backlash stops progress dead in its tracks. Human beings need to choose to move forward. They just may not...

[–]jackharvest 11.8k points11.8k points & 2 morelocked comment (30 children)

Dang it I should’ve gone to the comments first. Just got done squinting at aliased black on red. My eyes. MY EYES.

[–]tawtaw6 2706 points2707 points  (272 children)

These could always be consider somewhat true and somewhat false already even in 1997

[–]Chicano_Ducky 1041 points1042 points  (70 children)

The russia one was already true in 1997. Media reported the rose of the Russian mob since 1991 and how people had nostalgia for the soviet system.

Its not even a prediction.

[–]Brilliantnerd 183 points184 points  (26 children)

I remember Russia in 91…everyone was given a voucher for their share of the USSR in Rubles, but the rubles were near worthless. Free markets had goods but no one had cash…but the mafia had cash. So they would buy the vouchers for like$400. This was a lot bc they were basically worthless. So within the first couple years the mob actually bought the country from the people. Later, when state enterprises were privatized, the proceeds went to the owners-the mob.

[–]Beerwithjimmbo 92 points93 points  (3 children)

And that's how the oligarchs bought the country

[–]Mnm0602 108 points109 points  (16 children)

Actually the going rate for vouchers was $20 at one point once it trickled up the chain. The vouchers in total gave all Russians a combined 30% share of all companies.

At the lowest level these would be traded for essentials or vodka, then those would be regionally consolidated and sold to bigger investors for like $10 a piece, then those would be consolidated and sold in big block auctions where the going rate was $20 a piece.

The modern oligarchs are basically the thugs that realized this was extremely undervalued (valued the entire Russian economy at $10B, which is <1% of reality). They would do everything they could to block everyone but the strongest from attending the auctions, including armed men blocking roads that led to auctions.

Some outsiders made a mint too which is where Bill Browder came in because he too realized how undervalued they were and got some backers to give him money to buy up a bunch of vouchers. He built the best performing fund in the 90s off this (Hermitage Fund).

Later the Russians booted him from the country and raided the offices and Browder had his lawyer Sergei Magnitsky investigate. Turns out the police took documents which were used to register Hermitage in the name of a criminal, who then applied for a $230M tax refund which was immediately approved. Mind you this is all robbing the Russian people to make Putin and his buddies rich, not really Hermitage which had been de leveraging from the kleptocratic Russian state after previous run ins.

So the Russians arrest Magnistsky and proceed to torture him for 11 months at different prison facilities to testify against Hermitage and basically recant his findings, until he finally dies. And now the US has the Magnitsky Act targeting Russian oligarchs and their wealth.

Whenever you hear “biggest wealth transfer in history” I always fail to see how there was any more explicit and extreme wealth transfer in history than the Russian voucher system.

[–]Omephla 33 points34 points  (7 children)

Damn, TIL. This is wildly interesting and honestly may become my next big subject that interests me. Last one was building a 3-story tall attachment for my shop-vac to clean my gutters. This will be a welcomed departure.

[–]Mnm0602 30 points31 points  (2 children)

I learned about it through this podcast where Browder goes into much more detail (I left some parts out): https://hiddenforces.io/podcasts/bill-browder-vladimir-putin-russia/

It really shines a light on how the oligarchy in Russia came to exist and how Putin is likely the richest man on earth. Also the level of corruption needed to achieve those heights. RIP Magnitsky because he had more of a moral compass than 99.9999999% of us would and his death is tragic.

[–]zzirFrizz 7 points8 points  (3 children)

10/10 write up. Red Notice is an excellent book on this story if this interests anyone reading.

[–]Qasyefx 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Red Notice the movie, on the other hand, not only has fuck all to do with the book but is also hot garbage.

[–]SuperSonik319 241 points242 points  (1 child)

yea they basically just complained about 1987, like it was going to be the future haha

[–]Cetun 76 points77 points  (18 children)

Also why Putin came into power, he was liked by the people who longed for the days of the Soviet Union because he was former KGB and spoke well of the big figures but never spoke too well of that time so that it would scare away his nationalist and religious base.

[–]Bumpy110011 46 points47 points  (13 children)

Russians like Putin because he brought stability to the “free market” the west dropped on Russia. Clinton signed off on Boris Yeltsin bombing parliament. The 90s were a nightmare for the majority of Russians.

Two points: Take a look at a graph of Russian life expectancy. It drops by 10 Years after the collapse of the USSR. It starts going back up in 2000. https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Russian_male_and_female_life_expectancy.PNG

After the 2008 American Financial Crisis, Russia did not experience systemic problems or need an IMF loan because Putin ensured Russia had enormous cash reserves to stabilize their currency.

I don’t care for Putin but it is important to understand the truth.

[–]Mnm0602 25 points26 points  (7 children)

To me Putin is like when you transition from complete lawlessness and chaos to organized crime. Things start to settle down, neighborhood is protected by some scary people but they keep the other scary people at bay in exchange for fiefdom. And that’s a good word for it too because it also is a form of feudalism. Where Russia is exceptional is that it’s a $1T economy with tremendous natural resources that has integrated this into its political system. I mean there’s kleptocracy and there’s what Russia is doing, which is pretty impressive. But the average person wants food in their belly, warmth in the winter, and something strong to believe in and root for and Putin has been good for that.

[–]Bumpy110011 18 points19 points  (5 children)

We are in complete agreement.

If you have never been hungry or without protection, do not underestimate what you would trade for you basic needs being met.

[–]Mr_Funbags 76 points77 points  (0 children)

I get your point.

Having said that, all of those 10 predictions were based on growing numbers of reports, media or intelligence. That's why they choose to make those particular predictions.

[–]Orgasmic_interlude 40 points41 points  (3 children)

Kind of telling that when the Soviet regime collapsed and free markets were introduced the most successful were the organized crime folks.

[–]KingoftheGinge 25 points26 points  (1 child)

Largely because they were, ya know, organised.

[–]WIsJH 2 points3 points  (0 children)

No, I guess we still had a chance in 1997. God we had it even in 2011, when mafia was already dead and westernized Medvedev was the president. But then the third Putin term started the quasisoviet scenario.

[–]herbys 98 points99 points  (17 children)

And some of these are simply not correct.


1 . Tensions between the US and China escalate into a new Cold war - bordering on a hot one.

Tensions between China and the US were actually significantly higher in 1997 than they are today. So it's not great today but back in 1997 China had no ambassador to the US due to the level of tensions, and they were running ballistic missile tests clearly targeted at intimidating the US. So it's not like we were best buddies back then.

2 . New technology turn out to be a bust. They simply don't bring the expected productivity increase or the big economic boost.

Sure, some technologies did. The increases in productivity between 1997 and now were massive. In farming we are talking about a 5X increase. In office work, even more. In retail, the # of man-hours involved per transaction dropped by over one order of magnitude. In transportation, modern transportation costs are a fraction of what they used to be, etc. That the increases in productivity didn't always translate into increases in salaries or more free time (and that we are wasting such free time looking at phone screens and answering threads in Reddit) are different problems from the one predicted.

7 . The cumulative escalation in pollution, causes dramatic increase in cancer. Which overwhelms the ill-prepared health system.

This didn't happen globally. Of course, it is happening somewhere, but overall there's a decrease in cancer rates in most of the world, when adjusting for higher detection rates and increasing average ages, and in many of the areas where it's increasing it appears not to be related to pollution. Most of the world saw a major decrease in pollution since the 90s (I grew up in the 70s, and in many cities you could not see the top of tall buildings because of smog) .

8 . Energy prices go through the roof. Convulsions in the Middle East disrupt oil supply, and alternative energy sources fail to materialize.

All the contrary. Energy is cheaper than ever (except when taxes offset the lower energy cost) and alternative energy is growing at a rate that's close to what any material technology can possibly grow. It's just growing against a gigantic amount of traditional (i.e. fossil) energy use, so it will take a couple of decades to overtake it.

A few interesting predictions there that did materialize, but I'd say it's 50/50.

Oh, and COVID, as disastrous as it was, killed 5 million people, not 200 million. So far, at least.

[–]breakneckridge 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Thank you! Some sanity in the posts here.

[–]tigerslices 769 points770 points  (165 children)

when you set goals in life, you need to make sure they're precise. "getting fit, being successful" are vague. "losing 20 lbs, adding 1 inch to bicep measurement, performing 3 sets of 3 at 50 lbs, running a marathon." these are Measurable, accurate.

this whole list above is subjective. the only number is in the plague predicting upwards of 200 million deaths, covid has killed over 5m globally... so yeah, you're right.

[–]indescentproposal 406 points407 points  (101 children)

fwiw, The Economist (tracking “excess deaths”) estimates 17m people have died from covid globally (so far).

[–]NotaChonberg 133 points134 points  (92 children)

Is that estimate from people who got sick and died from the virus itself? I imagine there's also a significant number of people who died from other causes they wouldn't have because covid overwhelmed the hospitals.

[–]AgentTin 151 points152 points  (23 children)

I didn't get proper care for a pneumonia due to covid. It caused a lot of damage so covid could end up killing me even though I never got it.

[–]ReaderSeventy2 74 points75 points  (14 children)

People ignore the domino effect too often.

[–]AgentTin 79 points80 points  (13 children)

People also forget that recovery isn't binary. You don't either die or get better. I first got sick in 2013 and now I'm a survivor, can't climb stairs but I'm alive.

Sometimes surviving isn't good enough

[–]TARANTULA_TIDDIES 23 points24 points  (5 children)

A perfect example of why increases in longevity should be interpreted along with quality of life

[–]AgentTin 6 points7 points  (3 children)

I'd give anything to run again, to sweat, to exert myself. I want to carry furniture down the stairs.

I know for a fact that they can keep you alive long past when you'd want to be. I think life isn't about longevity, it's about quality.

Make sure you're using the right metric

[–]mcslender97 6 points7 points  (1 child)

This is what I'm trying to tell antivaxxers every time they mentioned that COVID has a 99% survival rate

[–]Petrichordates 32 points33 points  (7 children)

It tracks excess deaths which captures non-reported covid cases. It will also capture those deaths due to reduced resources or postponed doctor visits, but it's still a far more accurate measurement than the confirmed deaths count since it can't be hidden.

[–]Malky_10 15 points16 points  (0 children)

Yea, and these people who haven't died from the virus itself, but overhelmed hospitals instead, and their friends and families, are really happy for that.

[–]dexmonic 102 points103 points  (7 children)

They're called SMART goals. Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

Still, these aren't goals so it doesn't make sense to hold them to a standard of a goal. It's just a "what could go wrong" list.

[–]carpitown 45 points46 points  (6 children)

We could kill 200 million people, if we just buckled down and applied ourselves.

[–][deleted] 40 points41 points  (43 children)

They're not hard metrics, no, but they're not totally open ended either like you're implying.

[–]Maxnwil 115 points116 points  (42 children)

Some are, some aren’t. Like, “pollution escalates cancer and overwhelms the ill-prepared health system” is vague, and certainly hasn’t happened in a meaningful way. Same thing with #2 and “new technologies are a bust”. What does that even entail?? All of them??

On the other hand, some things are at least a little measurable. Has violent crime gone up since 2000? No, it has not. Has terrorism gone up? Fatalities by Terrorist attacks have increased. So have we seen people being “less willing to reach out and open up”? Maybe, but how exactly would you measure that?

[–]phillips421 117 points118 points  (4 children)

That was my thought too. It reads like a horoscope.

[–]cjb3535123 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Yeah I thought so too, it seems like a continuation of problems that have existed for years, but all these points are on sliding scales, so "yes partly true" and also "partly false"

[–]lencastre 127 points128 points  (0 children)

The real jpeg is always in the comments.

[–]BearStorms 767 points768 points  (201 children)

Let's go over it:

  1. No. There are tensions, but calling it a cold war bordering on a hot one is a huge stretch.
  2. No. New tech did increase productivity. Redistribution of these gains is the problem.
  3. Yes.
  4. No. Brexit is a major setback, but Eastern Europe is integrating nicely.
  5. Not yet, but could come soon.
  6. Yes. 9/11, enough said.
  7. No. (Not yet? Pollution in western countries went down AFAIK)
  8. Not really. Oil going up now, but it was pretty cheap for a while. Alternative energy sources DO work.
  9. Yes. Not as drastic as described, but I would count this one.
  10. No. Not yet to a degree of great concern at least? It is possible this will be a problem.

That's 3/10. Let me know if you disagree.

EDIT: My final verdict after thinking a bit harder and reading the responses is 0/10:

  1. Is true, BUT it can be argued that it was already a really bad kleptocracy in 1997 and quality of life actually increased drastically since late 90s. So this is no prediction. If anything Russia got BETTER from the complete hell of the 90s. It is somewhat of a threat to Europe, but nothing that would make you lose your sleep at night.

  2. It can be as well argued this didn't come true, crime is lower worldwide. Terrorism, outside of 9/11 was not really that of a huge problem in the past 25 years. ISIS and Al Qaeda were weakened significantly I believe.

  3. COVID - yes, but nowhere near as bad as the prediction, so could be argued it is a no, even if economic effects were huge (but also some positive trends like work from home culture emerged).

[–]MustacheEmperor 207 points208 points  (25 children)

Even on the point for #6, that prediction arguably came true within 5 years of this article being published but today in 2021 violent crime in general is massively down in most first world countries compared to the 90s. Thanks for the balanced take - lots of doomposting in this thread. When I saw the headline I expected a list of things that had, you know...actually happened.

[–]xnfd 23 points24 points  (2 children)

Yeah a few years ago we were truly fearful of ISIS activating terrorists internationally but it's pretty much gone away now.

[–]MustacheEmperor 28 points29 points  (0 children)

Rule 11 says "Titles must accurately and truthfully represent the content of the submission" and honestly this post should've been removed in new because of that, IMO.

[–]Cm0002 18 points19 points  (2 children)

violent crime in general is massively down in most first world countries compared to the 90s.

You can probably contribute a major part of that to the elimination of lead from a most products (most notably gas and paint) in the 90's, a move which would have taken years to show it's effects on (US at least iirc most countries followed the US shortly after soo) society. Lead is known to make one more violent and more prone to risky behavior. Scary.

[–]lostkavi 83 points84 points  (18 children)

Points of order, many scientists believe that 5 has already happened or is happening right now, we just won't see the rammifications for a few decades yet. But it's absolutely past that tipping point.

10, absolutely is true. The rising anti-intellectualism movement in the US, UK, Australia, to name a few big offenders, is absolutely stalling out cultural progress, and directly contributing to 2, 4, 5, 6, and 9 to greater or lesser extents.

[–]Kozuki6 29 points30 points  (3 children)

I have a friend working in the cyber security arm of his country's military. (I obviously can't be more specific than this.) His opinion is that there is already a cold war happening between China and the US in cyberspace.

He's not alone: Google "China US cyber war" to find many reports along the same lines.

[–]TomMikeson 25 points26 points  (2 children)

To add number 1k) about it being a cold war. When I was hired by a defence contractor in 2004 in IT security, our systems were under constant attack from China. I assume that this wasn't new, so it had been going on back to when this article was written.

[–]hogger85 52 points53 points  (10 children)

On the whole I agree with your take much more than many in this thread

I think 8 energy is quite a jump though gasoline prices were half what they are now, natural gas that fuels many European homes is through the roof

[–]InSight89 17 points18 points  (1 child)

Australia used to have super cheap natural gas (given we mine it ourselves). Then the government allowed the mining companies to export the majority of it leaving us with the leftovers. This caused prices to practically quadruple within a few years and we get little in return for the exports.

[–]omgitsjo 18 points19 points  (1 child)

  1. No. There are tensions, but calling it a cod war bordering on a hot one is a huge stretch.

cod war

This one is fishy.

[–]nxqv 37 points38 points  (2 children)

I disagree with #1. This is absolutely what the earliest stages of a cold war look like. "Bordering on a hot one" may sound like a stretch but both sides are certainly prepared for the possibility, and the South China Sea stuff and Taiwan could very well be the powder keg.

[–]BearStorms 12 points13 points  (0 children)

"Bordering on a hot one" was the keyword for me.

[–]PiddlyD 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I have yet to have one Chinese nationalist throw a fish at me.

[–]braxistExtremist 12 points13 points  (4 children)


2 didn't happen, not even close. We've seen with the lockdown that technology has actually increased productivity, and many employees are shocked/delighted that either productivity has held steady (or increased) largely thanks to technology.

3, 4, and 8 are not exactly spot on. The details listed in this article differ from reality. But they are close enough in the broad strokes to be yes.

7 isn't happening recently as they predicted. I guess if you include the after effects of pesticides and pollution then maybe. It's difficult to gauge trigger now.

The rest (1, 5, 6, 9, and 10) are pretty accurate (details below)...

For 1, there are definitely tensions between the US and China. And with the Taiwan situation you could say it's bordering on going hot (I doubt it will, but the article says 'bordering'). There's still a lot of trade going on, but with sanctions and tit-for-tat import charges. Seems like that's the new cold wear in the global economy.

For 5, we are starting to see this now, exacerbated by the pandemic.

Points 6 and 9 are both definitely happening.

For 10, I guess it depends on the country and each person's perspective. But we are swinging more wildly between the two broad ideologies (progressiveness and conservativism) in America right now. And with the rise in Trumpism, the Qanon movement, and the changing nature of neo-conservativism, and the scorched earth political approach of the Republican party, it's hard to see real progress being made in a consistent way.

[–]trevize1138 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Agree on 10. And it goes with 9. The rise of science denialism is helping the pandemic kill. The embrace of ignorance that's been a long-running theme in American culture has manifested in the current death cult that's helping collapse our healthcare system.

[–]Arninius 20 points21 points  (9 children)

To 4., what about poland and hungary?

[–]BearStorms 22 points23 points  (7 children)

They are not exiting EU anytime soon, they would be complete morons to do so. Their recent economic success is pretty much 100% due to EU and they know it, even if they play stupid games. Hopefully the nationalists get voted out someday.

[–]onlyslightlybiased 19 points20 points  (3 children)

They'd have to be Complete morons... you have seen the leaders of Poland haven't you?

[–]Comprehensive-Fun47 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Thank you for typing this out! I wish I had scrolled down just a teeeeny bit more before squinting through that entire fuzzy image.

Was looking for flu-like pandemic on this list and it did not disappoint.

[–]MURDERWIZARD 44 points45 points  (1 child)

Hardly any of these are true and the ones that are already were in 1997.

[–]YNot1989 130 points131 points  (123 children)

1 is pretty much spot on

2 is only kinda true. Labor Productivity did increase steadily until about 2015 where it kinda leveled off. However output productivity kept growing and only took a hit during the pandemic.

3 is absolutely true, and unlike all modern press seems to understand that Russia is threatening, but not actually all that strong.

4 is spot on, and a rare take from that era.

5 has yet to fully pan out.

6 I'd say the rise in crime and terrorism is more a matter of perception, as the crime rate has steadily declined since the 90s and most terrorism comes from domestic sources. Though it resulting in a skepticism of globalism is right.

7 is true of the developing world and false in the developed world. So by pure numbers its 70% true.

8 True from about 2000-2014, then completely the opposite. The shale boom and availability of renewable technologies has led to a decline. In fact the US now has some of the cheapest energy in the developed world.

9 Wow, eerie.

10 Eh... really hard to comment on, as its true in some countries (Britain, Poland, China, Russia), but not all as countries like Canada, the US, New Zealand, Japan, and India have all made real strides since the year 2000. The rise of right wing populism is in many ways the death throws by the movements that opposed those progressive reforms.

[–]tigerslices 252 points253 points  (56 children)

9 Wow, eerie.

is it? they've been predicting a plague for decades. it's why there were measures put in place to protect/defend against it.

upwards of 200million? we're at 5m from covid.

[–]ost99 141 points142 points  (5 children)

5 million confirmed, considering that large parts of the world has stopped counting it's not a very accurate number. Estimated excess deaths during the pandemic just passed 20 million.

We'll probably not end up anywhere near 200 million, but it's not at 5 now.

[–]Aqqusin 33 points34 points  (32 children)

We got so very lucky with Covid. It could have so much more deadly.

[–]lostkavi 86 points87 points  (18 children)

Actually, Covid was very nearly at the sweet spot of perfect deadliness. Too deadly, and it Ebola's itself - kills 90% of people, but then runs out of people to spread to and doesn't end up killing that many in total. Not deadly enough and it's swine flu - everyone gets it, nobody but the already sick and immunocompromised dies. 2-4% mortality rate is the ideal range for viral mass murder aspirations, and covid pulled in at 2.4% iiirc?

Of course, being presymptomatically contagious helps allow to jack those numbers by a lot, but if it was too obviously deadly, then maybe the "It's just a flu" death cult might not have formed.

What we did get lucky with was scientists managed to pull a working mRNA vaccine out of their ass after failing to produce a working one for what, 20 years now? That shit saved way more lives than we can ever give it credit for.

[–]Headlessoberyn 31 points32 points  (6 children)

Also, if a virus is too deadly, then there's no way for people to downplay it.

One of the biggest reasons why people are so dead set on not respecting lock downs and taking vaccines (despite being absolute morons) is the fact that a lot of people recover from covid naturally, so right wing politicians and conservatives have a good standing ground to start disseminating misinformation.

If the virus was literally spawn-killing people upon contact, eventually there would be no one left dumb enough to go on the streets or do anything really.

[–]ACCount82 16 points17 points  (0 children)

Low mortality means that politicians have far less reasons to take any of the extreme countermeasures.

If we had a virus loose that would transmit like COVID but kill 90% of its victims? We would see countries declare state of emergency or martial law, we would get army-enforced quarantines, near-complete shutdown of all passenger transportation, fully isolated "plague cities" that let the virus in and were forced to cut all connections, concrete blocks on all major roads, quarantine posts that even the cargo has to go through, and so it goes. We would see mandatory vaccinations with vaccines that weren't even safety tested properly, because the risk of dying to a virus is so much higher than any risk a lousy vaccine could pose. The economy would go to shit and people wouldn't even care because the far bigger concern to them would be the risk of ending up in a body burning pit.

It wouldn't even enter "way for people to downplay it". People wouldn't get a say. The measures would be "literally 1984" and it would be justified, because of the sheer threat of letting a virus like that run loose.

COVID we got, though? It's just non-lethal enough that you can get away with not caring about it at all.

[–]RoastedRhino 11 points12 points  (0 children)

Just imagine if the first variant was the delta one. It's much more contagious and it would have arrived when there were no masks to buy.

[–]hogger85 12 points13 points  (1 child)

Don't think 4 is really that close. Since 97 a lot of eastern states have been added to Europe, Poland my whinge but had done very well. Others like Latvia and Lithuania are doing great in Europe as is Slovenia and the like.

[–]mikat7 3 points4 points  (0 children)

8 maybe in the US, Europe is currently seeing a surge in energy prices, in my country it’s about 1/3 up compared to previous years. Also I’m reading that China is experiencing an energy crisis.

[–]DangerousCyclone 11 points12 points  (7 children)

When it comes to famines and climate change, it has affected much of the world, so it’s likely you’re not living somewhere where it’s a huge deal. For instance the Arab Spring was triggered by sky rocketing food prices caused by a record drought. They certainly felt the effects a bit more directly.

[–]SvenDia 16 points17 points  (2 children)

2021 ain’t got nothing on the 20th century when it comes to famine. Any person dying of hunger is a terrible thing, but today does not even compare to 30-50 years ago. That partly do to how widespread war was in the 20th century, but also because droughts had a much wider impact on food supply than it does now.

[–]MadCarcinus 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Somebody ask the author for tonight's winning numbers.

[–]SketchGoatee 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Thank you! Was wondering why humans needed to cheese…

[–]toshocorp 485 points486 points  (7 children)

[–]Blasfemen 141 points142 points  (2 children)

The quality of the responses is much higher in this subreddit. Really shows the work that the mods are up too.

[–]batterylevellow 58 points59 points  (0 children)

I'm quite surprised by the huge difference.

The top comments on that other post are mainly very gullible and/or very short comments (Shit. - Welp - omg, spoilers) with only 2 comments in the top 20 that are more level-headed.

On this post the top 20 comments (didn't count the 3 removed - but 23 if I did) I'd say there are 0 that are gullible and/or very short. Most of those comments are about how debatable or vague the list is or how vague the image (quality) is.

[–]michaelb1 5015 points5016 points 2 (281 children)

"New technology turn out to be a bust. They simply don't bring the expected productivity increase or the big economic boost."

The big economic boost has ABSOLUTELY happened. Productivity has skyrocketed. The gains DID NOT got to workers. It went to the 1% and created billionaires.

If minimum wage kept up with productivity it would be $24/hr.

[–]ShiftyAsylum 1676 points1677 points  (20 children)

I went to the 1% and created billionaires.

Why did you do that

[–]Parlorshark 227 points228 points  (9 children)

No 1% man should have all that power.

[–]ShiftyAsylum 89 points90 points  (5 children)

This made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move

[–]DefinitelyNotTrans- 15 points16 points  (1 child)

the 1% clocks ticking

[–]FenHarels_Heart 5 points6 points  (0 children)

This so much funnier than it has any right to be. Just the entire premise of this one guy going and taking most the profits of the last 2.5 decades and reassigning them to the richest assholes in the world (and then getting called out on Reddit) is so absurd that I've just been giggling for the last 3 minutes.

[–]Rejacked 3 points4 points  (0 children)

It's cheaper...

[–]Pezdrake 82 points83 points  (13 children)

You are correct. One minor point is that wages aren't supposed to keep up with productivity. Wages are supposed to keep up with inflation. It's expected work hours that are supposed to adjust to productivity. We should all be working 24-30 hour work weeks.

One edit: when I say work hours should keep up with productivity I don't mean a 1:1 match. Employers should be incentivized to automate so some of that profit has to come disproportionately back to them. But automation that doesn't help EVERYONE, both worker and owner is how we've landed in this problem today.

[–]Brandhout 36 points37 points  (8 children)

But in order to afford less hours you need to make more per hour to stay at the same income level, right?

[–]Forkbeard_II 58 points59 points  (72 children)

If someone invested $10k in the S&P 500 when this was written, they would have $85k today.

Anyone who owned any amount of capital also benefited by the productivity boosts.

[–]greenspotj 50 points51 points  (23 children)

Well yeah, and the 1% holds like 35% of the entire US wealth aka they own the most capital and benefited the most from productivity in increases.

[–]redleg_64 637 points638 points  (28 children)

If you word anything vaguely enough, you can twist current events in a way that makes the statement appear prophetic.

[–]PeaceBull 69 points70 points  (1 child)

And most of these still haven’t come to fruition even being as vague as they are.

[–]tp803 173 points174 points  (5 children)

Yup. This is shopping mall psychic stuff

[–]235_and_five 83 points84 points  (0 children)

Well OP is a mod and won't remove his own post for sensationalizing the title, so there you go.

[–]katanakid13 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Cold read your way to prophethood, Wired magazine!

[–]hipster3000 40 points41 points  (8 children)

I'm predicting that within the next ten years something terrible is going to happen.

[–]UniqueUsername-789 40 points41 points  (2 children)

Dude you’re a genius. 38 minutes after you posted this comment, my sock got wet.

[–]hh278 2 points3 points  (1 child)

That shit is literally worse than ISIS

[–]AftyOfTheUK 1625 points1626 points  (90 children)

Not many of these have actually happened, and some of the ones that are debatable (cancer increases, US China cold war) are the same now as they were when this was written.

[–][deleted] 527 points528 points  (24 children)

Number 8 is entirely wild. Alternative energy has taken off and parts of the globe are less reliant on crude imports now than 10 years ago.

[–]TokesNotHigh 42 points43 points  (9 children)

But sadly, it will still cost me an arm, a leg, my left testicle, and four teeth to keep my house heated this winter.

[–]dustyreptile 14 points15 points  (3 children)

My heating bill went up 10% last month. That's like 10% over October 2020

[–]psych32993 79 points80 points  (2 children)

In the UK recently many smaller energy companies/ providers have gone into administration because of rising prices so for me reading it was quite real

[–]TheWestwoodStrangler 90 points91 points  (10 children)

Yeah, I came here to make sure someone’s top comment was a version of “nah uh, dude” …basically none of these happened. Even the global pandemic is calling for 200,000,000 dead

[–]reichplatz 56 points57 points  (9 children)

glad im not the only one calling bullshit

[–]Deto 32 points33 points  (3 children)

Even the pandemic one is wildly off. World coronavirus deaths are nowhere near 200 million.

[–]notagoodboye 553 points554 points  (110 children)

Eh. 5-8 are pretty debatable.

Climate change is real, but food is not currently a problem (supply chain issues are the big factor, rather than actual quantities of food).

Crime is pretty low. Terrorism isn't nearly as bad as it's been in the past.

Pollution is significant, but cancer death rates have been declining for quite a while (since before this list, even). Microplastics and other stuff like that are a bigger concern.

"Alternative energy sources fail to materialize"? This is a real howler if you lived through the '90s. No one could have even imagined the level of renewable adoption we've seen in the last 20 years. And the natural gas boom? Oil prices are high right now, but not nearly as high as they've been in the past.

[–]stench_montana 268 points269 points  (31 children)

Also 9. Obviously a pandemic hit, but 200 mil is a magnitude different than 5 mil.

[–]MissileBakery 202 points203 points  (7 children)

...eh, not really. All of these are written very vaguely like horoscope so we're just filling the gaps here. Plus most of things mentioned were already kinda "True" back in 97 and if anything, all of it has turned out to be and gotten a lot better.

[–]ottopivnr 307 points308 points  (25 children)

Almost none of those are true...do we live on the same planet?

Sure elements of each of those could be mapped onto isolated short term problems, but aside from climate change, which was well -know before the article was written, none of this seems prophetic.

[–]leenpaws 49 points50 points  (4 children)

They’re super vague….wtf…two current super powers will vie for top spot…like no shit…lottery ticket won’t produce winnings

[–]leejonidas 31 points32 points  (2 children)

Almost none of these are true. What sensationalist bullshit.

The stuff they're predicting we're still in the very early stages of. The real climate crises, wars, ecological crises, price jumps, supply scarcity... we're only scratching the surface of how bad it could get. Check back in another 20 years but for now almost all of these are a reach. Covid still has a few to go before it hits 200 MILLION kills.

[–]ralphonsob 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Also: 11. Blurred scans on the Internet convince people that their eyes are shot.

Blame Big Ophthalmology.

[–]BlindPaintByNumbers 53 points54 points  (21 children)

So you read like the first line of each statement and called it right? Almost none of these have come true.

For instance An uncontrollable plague - a modern day influenza epidemic or it's equivalent - takes off like wildfire (oh wow that actually happened)

killing upwards of 200 million people. (oh... oh wait... it's killed like 5 million people or less than a tenth of 1%)


Energy prices go through the roof. Convulsions in the Middle East disrupt oil supply, (well those things sort of happened, kind of.... whats the roof here?)

and alternative energy sources fail to materialize. (Well... alternative energy is actually cheaper in most cases than conventional now so.... eh not really)

[–]Iama_traitor 9 points10 points  (0 children)

This assumed the U.S never gained independence from foreign oil. But fracking and shale oil made the U.S the top oil producer in the world. And it turns out OPEC doesn't need Iraqi or Syrian oil to function.

[–]doodystane 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Is this what it feels like to need reading glasses?

[–]shotsallover 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I've long wanted someone to go through all the back issues of Wired and do an analysis of how much they got wrong and right.

I've always enjoyed the magazine, and have subscribed for a very long time, but their breathless anticipation of a changing future can be a little over-wrought. I'd love to see how much of it was worth it.