A review copy of Reality Check turned up on my desk in 1996. The book by Brad Wieners and David Pescovitz (ISBN 1-888869-03-8) is published by Hardwired, the book division of Wired magazine.

According to the review at Amazon.com:

Reality Check is based on the popular and amusing futurism section in Wired magazine. It makes bold predictions about when we will see some of the wonders suggested by pundits, thinkers, science fiction and today’s technological revolution.

Wondering when we’ll finally see universal picture phones? Electric cars? Contact with extraterrestrial life? Tricorders? Predictions for all of those are here, along with when the two-party system will die and–of grave importance–when we’ll all have virtual sex slaves.

You have to hand it to the authors for putting their reputation’s on the line with the predictions. Few are so public with forecasts.

Here at the start of 2010 we’re about halfway through the book (in terms of pages). So far  the authors have had more misses than hits – that’s only likely to get worse as time goes on.

According to the authors this year will bring:

  • Smart drugs. The description in the book is hazy, but so far, to my knowledge this doesn’t look like being on the agenda.
  • Robot surgeon (in a pill). While there is some robot surgery and some advances of this nature, I think the idea of swallowing a robot pill which swims through your body fixing up ailments is still a way off being an everyday reality.
  • The Audio CD becomes a format of second choice. In reality this happened four or five years earlier, but seeing as the book was written in 1996 we can give the authors a big tick for this prediction. What they failed to predict is in many places the Audio CD is now third behind digital music and vinyl – but that’s another story.

One thought on “Checking Wired’s reality check

  1. I have a small collection of copies of Wired magazine from their early zeroes heyday.

    I keep them mostly for the laughable nature of their predictions and assertions. Remember “push” (I suspect you’ll still find the feature buried in IE9 that pops an inaccurate weather forecast for your choice of US city)?

    The other thing with Wired was the sight of a sandwich-board-person walking up and down Brick Lane at 8:30am in a London drizzle to launch their short-lived UK edition. Clearly they’d been told that Shoreditch was the epicentre of London’s dot com community, but the only people about at that hour were Bangladeshi kids on their way to school (and me going to work – maybe I was that target market).

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