Blast to the past: 1923 predictions


Over the last 100 years, many things have changed. In 1923, experts made predictions about how life might look today.

Ella Williams

At some point, everyone has thought about the future. What new inventions there will be, who will do big things and how will ideologies change. People have been wondering since the beginning of time. In 1923, experts made predictions about how life would look in 2023. Looking back at their guesses 100 years later, some were spot on, while others not so much. NPR wrote an article covering the predictions and giving more information on them. OHS Magnet sifted through and put together a list of some interesting ones. 

One of the predictions made was that by 2023, the United States would have a population of 300 million. At the time, the population was around 112 million, and the current population of the United States is 335 million. This means that the population has almost tripled in the last 100 years. They also predicted that Canada would have a population of 100 million, however the current population is only around 40 million.  This shows how some predictions are correct while others are not. 

Out of all the predictions, one specifically stood out as true. The prediction that telephones would change communication. They even predicted that telephones would be watch size.

These days, everyone has their own smartphone that comes along with access to internet connections all over the world. You have access to everything at the touch of a button. In 2014, Apple announced their new smart watch. The watch is able to do many things like play music, track steps and make calls, creating a true “watch telephone”.

 Freshman Jocelyn Anselmo says, “I think it is so cool that in the last 100 years people have come up with so many different kinds of technology.” With the way advancements are constantly being made, who knows what will be next. 

In terms of medical advancements, it was thought that cancer, tuberculosis, polio and leprosy would be eradicated. So far, vaccines and treatments have been found for polio, tuberculosis and leprosy. These solutions have caused them to decrease in frequency. On the other hand, cancer cases have been increasing, but the hunt for a cure has significantly evolved. In 1923, the average lifespan was about 57 years. They predicted that in 100 years, it would be 150 to 200 years old- one scientist even guessed 300. Today, the average lifespan is about 78 years old. This means that it has increased, but it hasn’t been linear. Life expectancy had dropped significantly during the Spanish flu, decreasing by almost 12 years, and then also taking a dip during the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 by about 4 years. 

One prediction was that the war of 2023 would be completely wireless.

 Professor A. M. Low stated, “Wireless telephony, sight, heat, power and writing may all play important parts.” 

He also predicted that with new technology, mental telepathy would exist in embryo, and that it would be a new way of communication.

Junior Becca Nielsen said, “I think that it’s crazy how advanced they thought things would be, because telepathy just doesn’t seem realistic.” This makes people wonder if telepathy will ever be a reality for humans. 

Other predictions were thoughts like gasoline would be replaced by radio power, women would blacken their teeth and all people will be so beautiful that pageants would not be necessary. Although some predictions were wrong, people enjoyed thinking about what life would be like today. Even though the future is not certain, it is fun to imagine how things will change.