14 Famous predictions going terribly wrong

It is sometimes scary when you think that nobody know what the future has in store for them. The world is changing at fast pace and with frighting uncertainty.

People make predictions; we will exhaust our natural resources one day, we will inhabit other planets in future, we’ll travel by the speed of light one day, are some of the predictions based on knowledge and the way future is unfolding in front of us.

Many a times, some know-it-all people shoot in their own foot by predicting something which is farther from the truth. It proves terribly wrong.

Here are 10 predictions that terribly went off target and make fool out of the predictors.

14. Rail travel at high speed is not possible, because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia.

Dr. Dionysys Larder, science writer and academic, in 1828.

Bullet Train

Bullet trains capable of traveling at the speed of 450 km/h.

 13. Where a calculator on the ENIAC is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1,000 vacuum tubes and weigh only 1.5 tons.

Popular Mechanics, 1949

Everything that can be invented has been invented.

Charles H. Duell, Comissioner of the US Patent Office, 1899.


1947 ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer) – The first electronic general-purpose computer. It was 8x3x100 ft. weighing 30 tons with 17,468 vacuum tubes, 7,200 crystal diodes, 1,500 relays, 70,000 resistors, 10,000 capacitors and around 5 million hand-soldered joints.

12. There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, 2007.


iPhone was released on June 29, 2007. By May 2014, Apple sold more than 500 million units.

11. I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.

Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.


306 million units of traditional PCs (desk-based and notebook) were shipped in 2013. It becomes 2350 Million units with tablets and mobile phones included.

 10. Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.

Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.

Antonov An-225

Antonov An-225 Mriya is the largest Heavier-than-air aircraft with maximum takeoff weight greater than 640 tons.

9. The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty—a fad.

The president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford’s lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Co., 1903


Today there are more than 1 billion cars in the world. In 2013, 65 million cars were produced globally.

Hardeep Handa

Hardeep Handa

I am a seasoned marketing professional. I am ardent reader and avid writer. Management and technology equally excite me. I write regularly in my blog www.biztekmantra.com and www.virginwords.com

You may also like...

  • That was a post backed by good research. Good 🙂
    Also, this post shows that even the intelligent and strong personalities of the history have believed in stupid things for they preferred to stay in the narrow lines of their brains. If only, they had allowed themselves of a bigger vision and positive attitude, they wouldn’t have issued such statements

    • Thanks Manpreet. The uncertainty of future always fascinates me. Everything is justified in hindsight except some stupid words.