The future is not what it used to be.” True, sometimes it’s better and sometimes it’s not. Much of what we do for our clients is predict this quarter, this year, and three or so years out, and do it all simultaneously.

The time interval between fantastic predictions and reality really is contracting, and that can be dizzying. But it’s also good too look back at “retro-futurism” to see how the predictions have fared.

Sometimes things have worked out for the better:

Book readers: 1935 vs 2012 – click to enlarge

Sometimes the predictions have been fairly accurate:

Medical technology: 1925 vs 2012 – click to enlarge

But sometimes, not so much. I remember fantastic predictions of hospitals in the city of the future, maybe even in space! Despite amazing advancements in medical technology, there is something about the ambience of going down to the Laser Center in the basement of Building H — without so much as a parking space for my flying car — that’s a bit of a disappointment:

Medical clinics: 1958 vs 2012 – click to enlarge

But if it gives me an excuse to encourage you to support your local colonoscopist, so be it.