"In 1937 the US National Academy of Sciences organised a study aimed at predicting breakthroughs; its report makes salutary reading for technological forecasters today. It came up with some wise assessments about agriculture, about synthetic gasoline, and synthetic rubber. But what is more remarkable is the things it missed. No nuclear energy, no antibiotics (though this was eight years after Alexander Fleming had discovered penicillin), no jet aircraft, no rocketry nor any use of space, no computers; certainly no transistors. The committee overlooked the technologies that actually dominated the second half of the twentieth century. Still less could they predict the social and political transformations that occurred during that time."
Sunday, August 05, 2012
Predicting Breakthroughs: 1937 NAS Study
From Our Final Hour by Martin Rees:
Posted by David Appell at 8/05/2012 11:58:00 AM