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Edison’s Predictions for 2011 – yes, there are still a few days left before 2012!

December 30, 2011 - 12 Comments

This is the time of year that some of us bloggers decide to pontificate about the New Year that’s to come and what it will hold. Well more of that from me and my colleagues in a few days time.

Edison - courtesy Library of Congress

With just a few days left in 2011, I see that the incandescent light bulb is on its last legs, according to legislation that passed through Congress in 2007, and is being enacted by the Federal government soon. California has already started it’s ban on the old light bulbs ahead of time – no more three-way light bulbs! What are we going to do now?! Poor Edison – one of his key inventions put out to grass as it were!

There are some things difficult to predict – Samoans will go to sleep tonight on Thursday and tomorrow wake up on Saturday, so that they can be more in line with their trading partners in the west, like Australia. That’s a way of localizing your supply chain. Who would have predicted that?

Manufacturing Gurus at work...

Caffeinated beer is on its way out too. Never tried the stuff myself, but I don’t think it will stop folks drinking energy drinks and vodka cocktails. I remember enjoying a couple of those at the Minus5 bar at CiscoLive 2011 in Vegas this year with some colleagues. It was a way for the sponsor to get us to take notice of what they did and work with them in the networking industry. Funny, but after a couple of those special drinks none of us could remember what on earth it was they were trying to sell us! Note to self: don’t use that method in our marketing campaigns!

So, back to Edison’s predictions. Oh yes, he made some in 1911 and predicted what the world would be like in 2011, so let’s see how well he did 100 years on. I predict that Edison’s predictions will be mostly 50/50 by the year end. Here’s why.  He said:

“The steam engine is emitting its last gasps. A century hence it will be as remote as antiquity as the lumbering coach of Tudor days, which took a week to travel from Yorkshire to London. In the year 2011 such railway trains as survive will be driven at incredible speed by electricity (which will also be the motive force of the entire world’s machinery), generated by “hydraulic” wheels.”

Not sure what he meant there, re hydraulic wheels. He was right about electricity, but a lot of electricity is still generated by a form of steam engine in most countries. Diesel and oil are pretty common for locomotives. So, 50/50. He went on to say:

“Books of the coming century will all be printed on leaves of nickel, so light to hold that the reader can enjoy a small library in a single volume. A book two inches thick will contain forty thousand pages, the equivalent of a hundred volumes; six inches in aggregate thickness, it would suffice for all the contents of the Encyclopedia Britannica. And each volume would weigh less than a pound.”

The Cisco Cius - much more than a tablet!

In an allegorical sense he was right. If you interpret paper being replaced by nickel then wrong, but by silicon, well correct if you think of all the smart reader tablets that abound today. My science degree reminds me that Ni (14) and Si (28) are not so very far apart in the periodic table, so who knows? Again, 50/50. But I think he’ll be chastised for the Gold prediction:

“Gold has even now but a few years to live. The day is near when bars of it will be as common and as cheap as bars of iron or blocks of steel.We are already on the verge of discovering the secret of transmuting metals, which are all substantially the same in matter, though combined in different proportions.”

Didn’t get that one right – yet, I suppose I should add. But who knows, in a hundred years or so? With the advances we’re making in science, technology and manufacturing, and, of course, using some of the best networking products and services from Cisco, he might eventually be right!

Happy New Year to you when it finally comes!

Special thanks to Paleofuture for their additional material.

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  1. Very interesting article! I’ve never heard those Edison’s predictions. He somehow reminded me [of] Nostradamus^_^ Very close to the truth..

    • Yes, but Edison was a little less cryptic(no strange quatrains!) – so more likely to be caught out by the facts! By the way, have you given up smoking as one of your New Year’s resolutions?

  2. Hi Peter – great blog. Very entertaining and I just learned a bit more about Edison!

  3. Peter agree with what your saying. You always come

    in with good insite.

    • Thanks Kathy – always good to hear from you! Thanks for your support! Happy New Year to you and all! Peter

  4. Edison’s predictions are probable accurate and thanks Peter for sharing your insights with us.

  5. evet katılıyorum söylediklerine ve sitemize bekliyorum

    • Thanks for your Agreement in Turkish! How’s the weather over there? (Rough Turkish -> English translation = yes I agree with what they say, and I expect that of…

  6. if adison would hav been alive…. he wold have gone for your cisco cius :P:P

    • I predict you’re probably right! More than a tablet is the Cius, more of a complete Communications tool – I predict you’ll see why in 2012! Thanks for your support!

  7. Thanks for leaving the comment in the Trackbacks section below, Julie. Interesting predictions from you too! Happy New Year!