Arthur C Clarke: No One Can See Into The Future

No one can see into the future. What I try to do is outline possible “futures” – Possible Futures by Arthur C Clarke.

No one can see into the future. What I try to do is outline possible “futures” – although totally expected inventions or events can render predictions absurd after only a few years. The classic example is the statement, made in the late 1940s, by the then chairman of IBM that the world market for computers was five. I have more than that in my own office.

Perhaps I am in no position to criticise: in 1971 I predicted the first Mars Landing in 1994; now we’ll be lucky if we make it by 2010. On the other hand, I thought I was being wildly optimistic in 1951 by suggesting a mission to the moon in 1978. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin beat me by almost a decade.

Still, I take pride in the fact that communications satellites are placed exactly where I suggested in 1945, and the name “Clarke Orbit” is often used (if only because it’s easier to say than “geostationary orbit”).

Some of the event listed here, particularly the space missions, are already scheduled. I believe all the other events could happen, although several, I hope, will not. Check me for accuracy – on December 31, 2100.

Somewhere in mid 60s I was reading his 1962 book which got me interested in Space. I always remember a few authors who thought deeply, wrote with passion about possible futures. While I may not believe every one of their predictions or take them seriously, they are triggers for thought. It is nice to think about future – not yours but of humanity and wonder if we live for another 100 years what we will see, experience or even comprehend.

What possible futures are you thinking of?