Someone Unearthed A 1997 Wired Article Predicting ’10 Things That Could Go Wrong In The 21st Century’ — And Nearly All Of Them Came True

As they say, it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future — but it appears a duo of futurologists made some extraordinary prognostications about the world that, as it turns out, were nearly dead on.

The internet unearthed an old article, written by Pete Leyden and Peter Schwartz, from the July 1997 issue of WIRED magazine that made some eerily prophetic predictions about the 21st century that have come true in one way or another” — including a pandemic, skyrocketing energy prices, climate change and Brexit.

In a listicle attached to the story, Leyden and Schwartz predicted “ten scenario spoilers” that would “cut short” the economic boom of the 1990s. 

– Tensions between China and the US escalate into a new Cold War — bordering on a hot one.

– New technologies turn out to be a bust. They simply don’t bring the expected productivity increases or the big economic boosts,

– Russia devolves into a kleptocracy run by a mafia or retreats into quasi-communist nationalism that threatens Europe.

– Europe’s integration process grinds to a halt. Eastern and Western Europe can’t finesse a reunification, and even the European Unification process breaks down.

– Major ecological crisis causes a global climate change that, among other things, disrupts the food supply – causing big price increases everywhere and sporadic famines.

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

– The cumulative escalation in pollution causes a dramatic increase in cancer, which overwhelms the ill-prepared health system.

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

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

– A social and cultural backlash stops progress dead in its tracks, human beings need to choose to move forward. They just may not…

The infographic went viral on Reddit and Twitter, with many commentators reacting incredulously to the nearly 25-year-old predictions.

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