11 Mail will be sent via rocket.
As out there as it sounds, mail delivery via missile was successfully attempted in 1959. That year, a Navy submarine—the U.S.S. Barbero—sent 3,000 letters, all addressed to political figures like President Dwight D. Eisenhower, using only a rocket. The nuclear warhead was taken out and replaced with mail containers, and the missile was launched towards the Naval Auxiliary Air Station.
The mail was successfully delivered, and Postmaster General Arthur E. Summerfield was so excited by the "historic significance" of mail delivery via instruments of war that he predicted it would become commonplace by the next century. "Mail will be delivered within hours from New York to California, to Britain, to India, or Australia by guided missiles," he said. "We stand on the threshold of rocket mail." Though we never got rocket mail, we did get something better: email.
12 Women will all be built like wrestlers.
In 1950, Associated Press writer Dorothy Roe revealed some shocking predictions of what life on earth would be like in the 21st century, according to Smithsonian magazine. Among her more head-scratching forecasts were that the women of tomorrow would be "more than six feet tall" and would "wear a size 11 shoe, have shoulders like a wrestler, and muscles like a truck driver." Their proportions, Roe wrote, would be perfectly "Amazonian," all evidently thanks to science providing "a balanced ration of vitamins, proteins, and minerals that will produce maximum bodily efficiency."
13 We'll wear antenna hats and disposable socks.
For a 1939 issue of British Vogue, product designer Gilbert Rhode was asked what he believed people in the 21st century would be wearing—and he had lots of thoughts. He imagined that, by 2020, we would have banished buttons, pockets, collars, and ties, and that men would revolt against shaving. "His hat will be an antenna, snatching radio out of the ether. His socks—disposable. His suit minus tie, collar, and buttons," Rhode declared. He almost described a modern-day hipster living in Brooklyn, but we suspect even the antenna hat might be pushing it a little too far.
14 Everything—even baby cradles—will be made out of steel.
Thomas Edison played a role in some of the greatest inventions of all time, from light bulbs to movie cameras. But that doesn't mean he only had good ideas. Take his vision of the future of steel, for instance: During a 1911 interview with Miami Metropolis, he predicted that "the house of the next century will be furnished from basement to attic with steel."
And according to Edison, the steel obsession wouldn't end there. "The baby of the 21st century will be rocked in a steel cradle," he said. "His father will sit in a steel chair at a steel dining table, and his mother's boudoir will be sumptuously equipped with steel furnishings." Sounds like the opposite of comfy.
15 Everyone will stop drinking coffee and tea.
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," he wrote. "It will simply be no longer fashionable to poison the system with harmful ingredients." He's hopefully right about tobacco, but the coffee and tea? Not just yet.
16 There will be "blood banks" for teeth.
We already have blood blanks, where life-saving plasma can be donated and used to help patients who need emergency blood. So, what's next, you might be wondering? Well, in a 1947 issue of Mechanix Illustrated magazine, journalist Lester David promised that in the future, we'd have "tooth banks," too.
"Picture the possibilities," David wrote in the story, aptly titled, "How About Tooth Banks?" " All men and women of whatever age will be able to have human teeth imbedded inside their gums until the day they die."
17 Everyone will be a vegetarian.
In 1913, Gustav Bischoff, former president of the American Meat Packers Association, predicted that humans' diets would consist of mostly vegetables as the years went on. Because of a shortage of meat, he told The New York Times, even the wealthiest people in the future would be vegetarians.
18 But also, eating will no longer be necessary.
This prediction comes from just 15 years ago and it was made by futurist and computer scientist Ray Kurzweil. He wrote in his 2005 book The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology that by the 2020s, there will be "nanobots" capable of entering the bloodstream to "feed" cells and extract waste. As a result, they'll render the mode of food consumption as we know it obsolete.
19 We'll have robots as therapists.
Robots are the typical prediction for the future—and technically, we do sort of have robots now. But global trends expert Ariane Van de Ven had some bigger ideas for 2020. She explained in the book Shift 2020 that she believed "there will be more robots used as therapists, companions, assistants, and even friends to help people in their everyday," according to The Next Web.
机器人是对未来的典型预测，从技术上讲，我们现在确实有机器人。但是全球趋势专家阿丽亚娜·范德温对2020年有一些更大胆的想法。据The Next Web报道，她在《2020年的转变》一书中解释道，她相信“将会有更多的机器人被用作治疗师、伴侣、助手，甚至在日常生活中帮助人们的朋友。”
20 Vacuums will be nuclear-powered.
Alex Lewyt, former president of Lewyt Vacuum Company, obviously wanted the world to be excited about vacuum cleaners. But when he predicted in 1955 that "nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners" would become a reality in the future, he maybe wasn't making the most convincing sales pitch. If the choice were between having dirty floors or plugging in a mini-Chernobyl-waiting-to-happen, we'd probably stick with the crumbs and dust bunnies.