2020 Vision: Expectations Versus Reality

Zachary Grover, Staff Writer

   2020 was the year we were supposed to have flying cars, right? People have always predicted what the future will hold. From George and Jane Jetson in The Jetsons to Marty McFly and Dr. Emmet Brown in Back to the Future II, pop culture has definitely had its influence too. What life will be like in the future is something people often find themselves fantasizing about. From flying cars to life on Mars, the year 2020 was a target year for many predictions. Whilst some predictions were spot on, others were way off the mark.

   According to a blog about facts and trivia, in 1937, Inventor Nikola Tesla said that, “…within the century, coffee, tea, and tobacco will no longer be in vogue” (bestlifeonline.com). It’s safe to say that Tesla was wrong about the coffee and tea part of that statement. Many people still enjoy, “cups of joe” and a good mug of tea on the daily. To the delight of many, it doesn’t seem like Starbucks will be closing its doors anytime soon. Numerous new coffee shops have opened their doors because of the newer generation’s love of artisan coffee. Tobacco use was definitely in decline until the vaping craze. And who would have predicted that?

   Science Writer and Futurist Arthur Clarke predicted in a 2001 screenplay,  A Space Odyssey, that we would live in flying houses in the Twenty-First Century. Clarke proclaimed, “Whole communities may migrate south in the winter, or move to new lands when they need a change of scenery” (bestlifeonline.com). Sounds like he must have been sponsored by the Up movies. 

   According to USA Today, Mathematician and Scientist D.G Brennan predicted in 1968 that antigravity belts would “revolutionize the tactics of warfare,” and that in 2018 humans would have antigravity cars and jetpacks (usatoday.com). Whoops! Apparently 2020 was supposed to be like Star Wars. For better or for worse, this military tech prediction did not come to fruition. 

   This list wouldn’t be complete without including a widely publicized goal: that humans would step foot on Mars. While there is something to be said about the progress being made towards humans reaching Mars, including NASA’s Curiosity rover and the samples it has brought back, a human has yet to set foot on Mars. According to USA Today, in 1996 the Space Studies Board predicted that humans would land on Mars in 2018 (usatoday.com). Though humans reaching Mars by 2020 didn’t happen, it is predicted that it may be a possibility for the decade 2030.

   Although some guesses were way off, it seems like change will indeed come. Some major changes are expected to start in 2020, even in San Diego. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, cashier-less stores and a new wildfire detection system will both be tested in San Diego county by the University of California San Diego [UCSD]. The cashier-less store would be the first on a US college campus. The wildfire detection system is called ALERTWildfire and is a network of cameras used to spot wildfires and dangerous situations (sandiegouniontribune.com). The addition of these technologies to our city marks a step into a new, “futuristic” world, with artificial intelligence helping the human population in new ways.

   So as we begin a new decade, how our lives may change is more or less unpredictable. Nonetheless, people will continue making new predictions about what the future will bring. Sophomore Anton Gillespie said, “I think we should continue into the future with passion. That’s the only way we will improve our lives.” Now time to think about what 2030 may bring. Vacations to the Moon maybe?