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How not to predict the future

Read time: 3 Minutes

We’ve always tried to predict the future, from going out without appropriate rain gear to betting on who’s next to get pregnant. We attempt it every day but let’s face it we all get it wrong from time to time. Here are a few lessons from the past about the dangers of even attempting to predict the future.

Time Magazine, 1968

“Remote shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop”

Well, to be fair to Time Magazine, they got the first bit right but that’s about all. They could be forgiven as at that point the wonder of the modern shopping age – the internet – simply didn’t exist. To put it into context though in 2016 Irish consumers alone were spending €850,000 an hour (yes, you read that right) on internet shopping, or as Time quaintly put it ‘remote’ shopping!

 Close-up of a woman shopping online on her laptop.

Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society

“X-rays will prove to be a hoax”

A genius at Thermodynamics, Lord Kelvin proved himself to be an absolute zero when it came to predicting the usefulness of the then futuristic Xrays. Millions of people with conditions from broken arms to pneumonia have been happy that he was wrong though.


Paddy Power, Online Betting, 2016

“We’re paying out early on a Hillary Victory!”

There’s an old saying that you never meet a poor bookie. But if Paddy Power continue to pull stunts like this they may well buck the trend. The online bookie paid out nearly $1,000,000 to punters who had backed Hillary – on 18th October 2016 – 21 days before the election even took place. We all know what happened next.


Albert Einstein, Theoretical Physicist, 1932

“There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable”

When most people think of Albert Einstein, they think – genius. Genius he may have been but futurology was not his strong point


Margaret Thatcher, MP, 1969

“It will be years, not in my time, before a woman will become Prime Minister”

And thousands of miners now wish that her prediction actually came true.

 margaret thatcher

Image courtesy of ITV.com

Alan Hansen, Football Pundit, 1995

“You can’t win anything with kids”

Unless, of course, those kids include Gary and Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs and, of course, David Beckham. Then you might stand a reasonable chance of winning the Premier League in the same year that Mr Hansen issued his short-sighted statement.


Louis Walsh, Hometown’s Manager, 2013

They are six young, talented Irish boys and I think they will have the same sort of career as Westlife and can be the next Take That”

Or not, Louis.

And finally…


Watch this space

The Jury’s still out on these predictions, but hey, you never know

Elon Musk, Visionary Entrepreneur, 2016

“People will go to Mars by 2025”

 Old Moore’s Almanac, 2017

“Eurovision sees us in with a chance”

 Donald Trump, US President, 2017

“We will make America great again”

All of which goes to prove that you can’t really predict the future. You can, however, be prepared for whatever it might throw at you with Irish Life Family Protection. Find out more here

This entry was posted in: Wellness


Irish Life is one of Ireland’s leading financial services companies with over 1 million customers. For over 75 years, we’ve been helping people in Ireland look after their life insurance, pension and investment needs.

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