Odd Predictions by F.E. Smith of 2030 in 1930 are Both Somewhat Hilarious and Slightly Accurate
Now and then, people speculate what the future might look like long after they pass away. Even though some people today might picture the future to look like a post-apocalyptic mess like in a Cormac McCarthy novel or an Orwellian 1984 full of over-reaching government surveillance, people back in the day saw a bit more hope in the future it seems.
F.E. Smith, former cabinet minister in England and a friend of Winston Churchill, wrote a book of predictions of 100 years into the future shortly before his death in 1930. Of those predictions, he speculated a few outcomes that were both sometimes hilarious and slightly accurate in certain cases.
F.E. Smith Thought Everyone Would Own Airplanes
“Thus… the man of 2030 will set off for the weekend, after his work, in a small, swift aeroplane, as reliable and cheap as the motor-car on which we depend today.”
F.E. Smith believed the automobiles they relied on in 1930 would advance far enough to leave the ground; not an uncommon prediction as hovercars are still a popular fantasy today. But cars are still the main vehicle of transportation; they’ve just advanced.
But affordable flights are something that F.E. Smith was right about. Taking a short trip by plane is more accessible today than ever before, and the flight industry is something that’s affordable. Although not everyone has a plane parked out front, a lot of people might be able to afford a trip or two every year.
F.E. Smith Thought Tobacco Would Find a Healthy Substitute
Should chemistry in the next hundred years be able to discover new substances as pleasant and harmless as tobacco, yet each possessing a different effect on the consumer, it will have earned the thanks of every hard-worked man and woman in the world.
One of F.E. Smith’s guilty pleasure was a good smoke, much like his friend Winston Churchill. He believed that one hundred years after he passed from old age, along with a combination of the damage of smoking and drinking, scientists would find a healthier substitute for tobacco. The catch is that it would still have to have the same effect on consumers.
Unfortunately, tobacco has only gotten worse. With the knowledge of dangerous carcinogens often increasing, tobacco usage still caused an estimated 101,000 deaths in the United Kingdom in 2010, according to Cancer Research UK. There are some substitutes, but culturally the norm is to either smoke tobacco or avoid it entirely.
F.E. Smith Predicted Unmanned Drones…on Land
“The commanders of tank forces will be carried in the air above their commands and thus will be able to watch the course of operations and control their progress by wireless telephony.”
Seeing the tank perform in WW1, F.E. Smith thought the war technology would eventually progress to a state of unmanned warfare, cutting back on casualties.
While the technology exists for unmanned ground vehicles, it’s much more prevalent to send drones into the air rather than keep them locked on the ground. Even though the unmanned drone technology is controversial, it does cut back on native casualties of war.
F.E. Smith may have had a wild vision for the future, but he wasn’t as close to any truth like these listed predictions. He also thought a canal would be cut from the Mediterranean, creating a Saharan Sea that would be a playground for all of Europe. He believed an average work week would only be 16 hours, and with the extra leisure time everyone would be hunting foxes.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not hunting any foxes any time soon.
Image from Wikimedia Commons and Shutterstock.