887: Future Timeline
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Title text: Not shown: the approximately 30,000 identical, vaguely hysterical articles titled "WHITE PEOPLE IN [THE US/BRITAIN] TO BECOME MINORITY BY [YEAR]!", which came up for basically any year I put in.
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This comic uses the same strategy as comic 715: Numbers, in which Randall uses Google to search for phrases and then charts the results. This one is charted as a timeline, whereas 715 was charted as line graphs.
"2101 - War Was Beginning" is a reference to the opening narration of video game Zero Wing; the same narration is famous for the internet meme "All your base are belong to us". As there are not any other out and out references in the comic, and the rest are actually results that you can find if you search using Randall's methods, we're pretty sure "War Was Beginning" came up when he googled 2101 as well.
Another point of this comic is that certain event, e.g. "Social Security stops running surplus", are repeated multiple times. Also, certain bizarre events, like "Apocalypse occurs", or "Flying cars reach market", happen before rather plausible things, like "HTML 5 Finished". Certain events, like "Japan is a robot-only country", may be related to a recurring theme in xkcd comics, including 605: Extrapolating.
The title text is borne of a recurring "white people panic"; scaremongers will put in years of the very near future in order to get the panicked racist people to pay attention to them (without actually using valid or accepted scientific measurements to back up these claims; panicked racist people don't exactly fact-check very much), while level-headed sociologists will usually come up with more distant dates from their extrapolations.
As for how accurate the Internet has been: The ONLY prediction to have come true as of January 2014 is the world population hitting the 7 billion mark. The United States is scheduled to remove the last of its troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, but the cynics in the audience may note that the government is usually lenient about these dates. And unless you count the Android phone platform, Linux shows absolutely no signs of winning back 50% of the operating system market in the next 12 months.
- THE FUTURE
- According to Google search results
- Events for each year determined by the first page of Google search results for the phrases:
"By <year>" "In year" "By the year <year>" "In the year <year>" "Will * by the year <year>" "Will * in the year <year>" "In <year>, * will" "By <year>, * will" 2012 World population reaches 7 billion Flying cars reach market Canada cuts greenhouse emissions to 6% below 1990 levels as per Kyoto Apocalypse occurs 2013 National debt paid off through President Clinton's plans Microchipping of all Americans begins Homelessness ended in Massachusetts Health care reform law repealed 2014 US leaves Afghanistan GNU/Linux becomes dominant OS 2015 New Horizons reaches Pluto Health care law causes hyperinflation 192 UN member nations achieve millennium development goals:
- Extreme poverty and hunger eradicated
- Universal primary education implemented
- Women empowered, gender equality reached
- Environmental stability ensured
2016 Baby boomers begin turning 65 Android takes 38% of the smartphone market Android takes 45% of the smartphone market Windows Phone overtakes iOS in smartphones 2017 China completes unmanned Lunar sample-return mission Social Security stops running surplus US budget balanced Newspapers become obsolete and die out Cosmetic surgery doubles 2018 Social Security stops running surplus Jesus returns to Earth 2019 Social Security stops running surplus Every baby has genes mapped at birth 2020 Solar power becomes cheaper than fossil fuels Keyboards and mice become obsolete New Tappan Zee bridge constructed 2021 US debt reaches 97% of GDP US unemployment falls to 2.8% Restored caliphate unifies Middle East Lake Mead evaporates 2022 Kilimanjaro snow-free HTML 5 finished Newspapers become obsolete and die out 2023 Jesus returns to Earth (again) US debt passes 100% of GDP All unprotected ancient forests gone from Pacific Northwest 2024 Atlantis begins to reappear Orangutans extinct in wild China lands men and women on the moon NASA sets up permanent moon base Female professionals pass males in pay 2025 World population reaches 8 billion Two billion people face water shortages 62 MPG cars introduced US power fades 2026 Atlantis emerges completely Rock Bands die out US debt paid off Car accidents cease West coast falls into ocean 2027 Japan introduces new fastest Maglev train Lyndon Larouche-planned Mars colony is established Social Security stops running surplus 2028 Tobacco outlawed 40% of coral reefs gone US debt paid off Social Security stops running surplus 2029 Social Security trust fund exhausted Computers pass the Turing test Aging reversed Wikipedia reaches 30 Million articles 2030 Half of Amazon rain forest lost to logging Cancer deaths double from 2008 levels Arctic ice-free in summer 2031 Computers controlled by thought Realtors replaced by technology Social Security trust fund exhausted 2032 "Big One" hits San Francisco US elects first married lesbian President Entire world converted to Christianity 2033 Kilimanjaro ice disappears India becomes superpower Europe reaches Mars 2034 US diabetes cases double, treatment costs triple US builds autonomous robot army 2035 80% of America's energy comes from renewable sources Himalayan glaciers down 80% in size Arctic sea lane opens 2036 80% of US has access to high-speed rail Asteroid Apophis misses/hits Earth 2037 Arctic ice-free in September Social Security trust fund exhausted 2038 32-bit timestamps roll over, causing Y2K-level chaos "Big One" hits California 2039 US population hits 400 Million Severe heat waves become commonplace Scientology becomes majority religion in US 2040 Arctic summers ice-free Nanotechnology makes humans immortal 2041 Social Security trust fund exhausted 2042 2043 World population passes 9 Billion 2044 Mankind genetically engineered to be happy Childhood obesity reaches 100% 2045 Humans and machines merge 2046 World's natural resources depleted 2047 World ruled by banks and corporations Tobacco industry fails US begins using autonomous attack drones 2048 Salt-water fish extinct from overfishing Unisex bathing suits cover body from shoulder to ankle Entire US population overweight US begins using autonomous attack drones 2049 $1.000 computer exceeds computational ability of humanity Singularity occurs Fishing industry collapses 2050 80% of Earth's population lives in urban centers China controls space Sex with robots possible Cars banned from European cities One million species extinct from climate change 2051 Atmosphere escapes into space 2052 Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security spending exceed total US revenue 2053 US budget balanced Majority of Americans in prison Cars driven by dogs 2054 Hunger becomes unimaginable global problem 2055 Atmospheric CO2 doubled Oil runs out Copper, tin, lead, gold, and nickel all exhausted 2056 RFID-tagged driverless cars Robots given same rights as humans 2057 150 Japanese settlers on Mars Colorado River runs dry 2058 Smoking ends in New Zealand 2059 Humans have domesticated robots 2060 Human race lives in peace Extreme droughts across much of Earth Global temperature rise reaches 4°C Oil runs out again 2061 Halley's comet returns 2062 Uganda hosts World Cup The Jetsons 2063 First human clones reach adulthood Population of Moon reaches 100,000 Population of Mars reaches 10,000 Spacecraft exceed speed of light 2064 Clean Air Act finishes reducing haze in national parks to natural levels 2065 Last coral reefs die out Chernobyl cleanup complete 2066 Cyprus achieves its goal 2067 Americans live in domed cities and watch 3D TV Redheads go extinct 2068 Ozone hole over Antarctic finishes recovering Lord Jesus rules Earth from throne in Jerusalem Entire world population gay due to chemicals in the water 2069 Public masturbation legalized 2070 World population peaks City-scale flooding disasters 60% of world's energy comes from renewable sources 2071 Europe's temperatures rise by 3°C World summer temperatures rise by 5°C 2072 US retirement age is set to 75 2073 Oceans do not rise one foot 2074 Number of 100-year-olds reaches one million Supertyphoons hit Japan 2075 US retirement age set to 69 2076 Average scientific paper has more than 24 authors Social Security trust fund exhausted 2077 2078 Newspapers become obsolete and die out 2079 US debt reaches 716% of GDP Lodgepole pines disappear from Northwest Floods commonplace Religion marginalized 2080 Federal spending reaches 70% of GDP UK population doubles 2081 2082 World population declines to one billion 2083 2084 Robot policemen introduced 2085 US deficit reaches 62% of GDP 2086 2087 2088 Japan becomes all-robot country 2089 World halts fossil fuel use 2090 Global warming hits 7°C Global warming hits 4°C 2091 2092 2093 2094 2095 2096 2097 2098 2099 2100 Global warming around 5-7°C Sea levels have risen by a meter or more Joshua trees nearly extinct Earth's climate resembles that of the Cretaceous Germany tropical Emperor penguins extinct Arctic permafrost thaws Rising seas flood coastal cities Rain forests mostly gone due to climatic shifts All coral reefs gone Gillette introduces 14-bladed razor 2101 WAR WAS BEGINNING