I love science, I love science fiction. The common misconception about science fiction in particular is that it is somehow about the future, about predicting and describing it. Same with science, in a slightly different way. Science (and technology...) should be about inventing the best gizmos to make life the easiest and most pleasant.
In both cases, not so much.
But somehow the temptation has always been with us to extrapolate and predict and usually we get it wrong. Things we think are going to be huge don't materialize and the biggest things seem to come out of nowhere.
Cracked has done us all a huge favour in the humbleness departments and compiled 26 Hilariously Inaccurate Predictions About the Future. Here's a small taste. Head on over to Cracked for the rest!
The thing about dealing with predicting the future is that, at some point, the future happens and then we get to look back at everyone who was laughably wrong. We asked our readers to go digging through the annals of time to see what some of the greatest minds from the past saw in the future, and gave $200 to the worst prediction ...
Given a compact power source...the house of the future would have no roots tying it to the ground. Gone would be water pipes, drains, power lines; the autonomous home could therefore move, or be moved, to anywhere on earth at the owner's whim. The time may come, therefore, when whole communities may migrate south in the winter, or move to new lands whenever they feel the need for a change of scenery.
Not as ridiculous as you think.
Clarke's autonomous home is called a "motor home," and its autonomous power source is its gasoline engine. Millions of retirees in America have chosen to live in motor homes and migrate annually to the climates they most favor (typically warm in the winter).
Modern motor homes include types that are nearly as expensive as houses and have custom-designed luxury interiors that resemble those of yachts. But even the more basic, mass-produced models, have all the comforts of a vacation cabin on wheels, including full bathrooms and kitchens.
Word to the wise: if you live in an area that may be subject to major earthquake, a motor home stocked with a few weeks' worth of MREs and water, and parked in a safe place, could be your best bet if a quake takes down your house. Also potentially useful in areas subject to hurricanes IF you evacuate long before the traffic jams start.