What will the world be like in 2012? Now we have an idea, but in the past people could only wonder. In 1912, a group of leading scientists wrote a book about their predictions for the world 100 years into the future. Their conjectures cover everyday life, global politics, society and new inventions that may exist. The book, entitled "The World in 2012", was lost long ago but has recently been rediscovered.
In the book, Professor Jared Dingleburger predicted that the wireless radio will be ubiquitous. In a surprisingly accurate insight, he said that portable wireless sets would be carried around to receive radio transmissions while out and about. However, he failed to predict the decrease in size and expected that wheelbarrows would be needed to carry the radios around. He also suggested that, in the absence of mains electricity, they would be powered by hamsters running round on wheels inside.
Dr Jock Jobbie predicted that the British Empire would have expanded to include the Moon, but that everyone on Earth would speak German by 2012. He also wrongly guessed that war would have been eradicated thanks to the invention of "peace gas". In one revealing paragraph, Dr Jobbie writes, "As we look around the world in 1912 we see great technological wonders like the Titanic. Thanks to this amazing progress, there is unlikely to be war in my lifetime or indeed ever again between the major powers." Dr Jobbie died before the beginning of the First World War - ironically he was on the Titanic when it sank.
Elsewhere, Mrs Esmerelda Gusset correctly predicted the feminist movement. "In the future," she wrote, "ladies will be permitted by their husbands to wear skirts above the ankle. Also, thanks to the recent liberating invention of the brassiere, I expect ladies to compete in the Olympics in their own sporting events such as the 12 yard saunter, and the thimble toss."
Further predictions in the book include:
- cheese will have become extinct,
- the economic value of slavery will have been realised, and it will be re-introduced,
- popular jazz will have evolved into a new style of song which involves a man speaking over classical music,
- newspapers will be up to a thousand pages long to accommodate all the events that have happened in the world on a particular day,
- the cure for homosexuality will have been discovered, boosting fertility rates.