Difference between revisions of "887: Future Timeline"

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
(The predictions: - Rowspanned table)
(The predictions)
Line 66: Line 66:
| rowspan="3"| 2015
| rowspan="3"| 2015
| New Horizon reaches Pluto
| New Horizon reaches Pluto
| The New Horizon spacecraft is a U.S. space mission designed to go to Pluto and take photographs, collect samples, etc. It is scheduled to reach Pluto in 2015.
| Healthcare law causes hyperinflation
| Healthcare law causes hyperinflation

Revision as of 01:15, 17 October 2014

Future Timeline
↓ Skip to explanation ↓
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.
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.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: almost no elaboration
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

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.

This comic has similar features to 1413: Suddenly Popular.

The predictions

Year Prediction Further Details
2012 World population Ever since the advent of modern medicine and the more efficient agricultural processes developed suit the Industrial Revolution, the human population had been growing at an unprecedented rate. This has caused some people to worry about overpopulation, which would cause a scarcity of resources and overcrowding, and propose various solutions, most of which involve some form of eugenics. 7 billion is a landmark number because it is a multiple of 1 billion.
Flying cars For decades, flying cars have been a staple of futuristic sci-fi and technological predictions. So far none of these predictions, which to tend to hover around 5–10 years from whatever the current date is, have come true.
Canada cuts greenhouse emissions Currently, the Earth is experiencing an unprecedented period of warming we call global warming, caused in part by greenhouse emissions, which are gases that help trap heat in the atmosphere. Countries have repeatedly gotten together and promised to stop emitting greenhouse gases, but so far they have failed to meet their targets.
Apocalypse occurs This is in reference to the popular film 2012, which portrays the world ending December 22, 2012, using the end of a cycle of the Mayan calendar as a basis for predicting the end of the world. Some people took this rather more seriously, and actually believed that the world would end on this date. It didn't.
2013 National debt paid off For years, the subject of national debt has been a political point of contention, with the Republicans typically favoring paying it all off, and the Democrats more willing to spend to pull the country out of recessions in the economy. Clinton, a democrat, at one point proposed [http://money.cnn.com/1999/06/28/economy/clinton/

paying off the debt by 2015].

Microchipping Americans Microchips are small computer chips, typically embedded in pets in case they get lost, that contain information about the pet. Some, more irrational, people worry about the government microchipping everyone in an effort to monitor their activities.
Homlessness ended in MA Homelessness has been a persistent problem in societies all over the world for centuries. It is unclear why Massachusetts specifically would end homelessness — Massachusetts is a more Democratic and wealthier state than others, but no particular initiatives have been started there to end homelessness.
Health care reform law repealed A health care reform law, popularly known as Obamacare, was signed into law in 2010. Ever since, many Republicans have tried (in vain) to repeal it, disliking the idea that government should provide and require healthcare.
2014 US leaves Afghanistan After the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York City on September 11, 2001, the United States invaded Afghanistan, home of the Taliban, the terrorist organization behind the attacks. The war has gone on since then, with the public growing increasingly tired of it. Public support now favors a withdrawal, but for military and logistical reasons, the government cannot simply move all the troops currently in Afghanistan home right now. For one, that would cause immediate chaos in the country. Therefore, the government instead promises to eventually withdraw all troops, planning on doing so by the end of 2014.
GNU/Linux dominant OS An operating system, or OS, is the software that forms the structure in which applications on you computer function. Some typical OSs include Mac OSX, Windows 8, and Linux. The first two of those three are commercial products, sold as a copy by a company. The last is an open-source OS, one that anyone can download and modify free. Typically, open-source software is used by a small number of socially conscious people. It is therefore unrealistic to predict that it will become mainstream in the near future.
2015 New Horizon reaches Pluto The New Horizon spacecraft is a U.S. space mission designed to go to Pluto and take photographs, collect samples, etc. It is scheduled to reach Pluto in 2015.
Healthcare law causes hyperinflation
Millennium development goals achieved
2016 Baby boomers begin turning 65 Baby boomers are individuals conceived in the years following World War Two, roughly defined as those born from 1946-1959. This isn't so much a prediction as basic math; if you were born in 1946, you turned 65 in 2011.
Android takes 38%/45% of market share Android is a popular operating system for smartphones and tablets, created by Google. Market share is the percentage of all devices that use the product, in this case the Android operating system. These entries together are humorous because they cannot both happen at the same time.
Windows phone overtakes iOS
2017 China completes lunar mission


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
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
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
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
2082 World population declines to one billion
2084 Robot policemen introduced
2085 US deficit reaches 62% of GDP
2088 Japan becomes all-robot country
2089 World halts fossil fuel use
2090 Global warming hits 7 °C
Global warming hits 4 °C
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

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


The explanation is really messed up. You can hardly tell where one year ends and the next begins. Can someone who's better at editing than me fix this, perhaps by putting a line across the page after each year? GizmoDude (talk) 19:11, 7 April 2016 (UTC)

This one slipped under the transcripting radar. I may do it. --Quicksilver (talk) 20:52, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

Do not talk about radars, just do it. The transcript is done right now, but the explain section still does need a big radar!--Dgbrt (talk) 20:20, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

Find the song! I have no idea so far but the repeating phrase "Social security trust fund exhausted" should match a refrain.--Dgbrt (talk) 20:20, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

They now have the dogs driving cars... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWAK0J8Uhzk Let's not wait for 2053. 21:01, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

Out of curiosity (I'm new to the standards of explainxkcd), are out of date pages considered incomplete? Or is it up to editors to chose when to update a pages explination. I would assume the former, except that would make maintaining the pages significantly more difficult. Also, referencing the Linux takes over. Since Android is now a part of the libux kernel,should thia be changed? It would definently put linux over the 50% mark. Mrmakeit (talk) 05:03, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

Pages can not become out of date, as they refrence the meening of the comic at the time of creation. 15:24, 10 December 2014 (UTC)

I would change the 2nd paragraph to say that the entirety of the search results are a super long set-up and "All your base..." is the punch-line. Smperron (talk) 08:46, 10 November 2014 (UTC)

I would correct the entry in 2014 that says that the Taliban are the organisation responsible for the September 11th attacks. The more accurate explanation would be that The US believed Al Qaeda (the real organisation responsible) were hiding out in Afghanistan and that defeating the Taliban, and bringing stability to the country was an important stepping stone towards finding Osama Bin Laden. Of course we now know he was in Pakistan all along, but still that was the original rationale for invading Afghanistan.-- 15:27, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

This further details stuff is wrong about the comic. The lines are just random answers to Google searches. There is no explanation. I move to remove this table, or convert it into links or summaries of the articles in the links. This sucks. It is good enough as it is now without the table (as the table is random and the explanations on the table are incorrect. 22:12, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

Let's get to work on the table then. I'm adding suitable references to incomplete sections to aid as jumping off points, from where further expansion can be done on a case-by-case basis. Can you provide some inspiration as to which explanations are most egregiously in need of correction? Pmw57 (talk) 01:44, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

As of 2014 I have noticed that a lot of US sites are moving from html to closed sources such as Adobe so the quote: "The prediction about GNU/Linux Operating Systems is ambiguous" is now fighting through government agencies. Users of Linux trying to access the volcano archive (once supplied by listserv using linux) now have to get access via Windows machines. This has to be the saddest computing news in a long time. Weatherlawyer (talk) 08:19, 4 January 2015 (UTC)

“The prediction about GNU/Linux Operating Systems is ambiguous, as Android (based on Linux) constitutes nearly 50% of the mobile OS market” — GNU/Linux refers to an operating system consisting of the GNU userland toolchain over the Linux kernel. Android is based on Linux but not GNU, therefore, it is irrelevant in GNU/Linux context. 11:18, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

Can we change this to Incomplete explanation of the month? Foldark (talk) 22:03, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

2145:War... War never changes (the Great War happens) (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Is it just my reading, or does it say "ACHEIVE" instead of "ACHIEVE" where it says something about 192 UN member nations achieving millennium development goals in the comic? (It's under 2015.) -- 21:45, 10 November 2016 (UTC)

No, it reads like this for me too. (Even on the original comic page, where I'd expect it to have been long fixed already.) -- 19:35, 11 November 2016 (UTC)

Some of these predictions seem very realistic. 00:22, 25 December 2016 (UTC) Jawa457

I am not sure if this needs to be added or not since it was not happening when the comic was produced and it is not the government doing it but a private tech company microchipping its employees in 2017 Google results since I do not know which news articles will disappear over time. 12:03, 17 August 2017 (UTC)

I think we can delete incomplete tag.

The link is bad

Here's a working one. 14:57, 22 December 2018 (UTC)