The future according to Wikipedia


Wikipedia's pages contain a reliable account of world history. But what about the future?

20th October 2015
By Rhodri Marsden

Wikipedia is, among other things, an account of world history that anyone can edit. It's become authoritative, too, not because of academic rigour but for its sheer prominence; if you type any year into Google, it'll be Wikipedia's crowdsourced version of events that pops up first in the search results. From this we learn, for example, that Dionysius II made peace with Carthage in 367BC, while in 1739 the Bible was first published in Estonian.

But it works for future years, too. Wikipedia contributors have, in their spare time, assembled a year-by-year account of the future that's rich with anticipation and speculation. From technological guesses to asteroid near-misses, they've made bold predictions about our destiny alongside various dates from science fiction literature to give the whole thing some kind of mad, unhelpful context.

Of course, the pace of technological change means that no one really has a clue what's going to happen beyond the second half of this century, but Wikipedia's projections continue well beyond the year 2525 (if man is still alive). Below are are some edited highlights from the web's premier collaborative soothsaying resource. Welcome to the future.


The Summer Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


International scientists intend to complete the world's first fully synthetic yeast


Estimated completion date for the Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia, expected to become the tallest building in the world


The setting for the film Blade Runner


London's Crossrail is scheduled to be in full service


Brood X, the largest brood of North American 17-year cicadas, will emerge [for the first time since 2004]


The setting for the 1991 video game Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basketball [a new basketball league with no referees, no rules, no fouls and use of weapons permitted]


The world's population is expected to reach eight billion


The autopsy report for Elvis Presley will be unsealed, 50 years after his death


The institution of the proposed African Monetary Union


The digital time capsule 'A Message From Earth' will reach its destination, the planet Gliese 581c. It contains 501 messages that were selected through a competition on the social networking site Bebo


Saudi Arabia will no longer have oil to export


The prog rock album 2032, by Gong, suggests that Planet Gong [home of the pothead pixies and octave doctors] will make full contact with Earth


The planned final phase of Britain's HS2 rail link is scheduled for completion


Alberto Fujimori, former President of Peru, is eligible for release from prison [at the age of 96, following his conviction for human rights violations]


[Biomedical gerontologist] Aubrey de Grey predicts by around this year there is a 50/50 chance that ageing will be brought under a "decisive level of medical control", paving the way for biological immortality in humans


The world's largest mud volcano, located in East Java, Indonesia, may have stopped erupting


The Year 2038 Problem: A common computing representation of date and time will overflow, with potential results similar to the Y2K problem


The setting for the animated TV series Batman Beyond


The Great Red Spot on Jupiter's atmosphere will become circular


Scheduled completion of a proposed project to create a railroad connecting Moscow to New York


A Nickelodeon time capsule, sealed in April 1992, will be opened [its contents include a CD copy of MC Hammer's Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em and some rollerblades]


The Kennedy Library will release to the public a 500-page transcript of an oral history about John F Kennedy given by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (if her last child has died) [according to conspiracy theorist sources]


Futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts a technological singularity, ie, a runaway cycle of self-improvement by intelligent machines


The present principle of "one country, two systems" in Hong Kong, guaranteed for 50 years starting from July 1, 1997, may end. What will be done is not stated in any document


The first instance of a full moon on February 29th since 1972


The outbreak of The Nine Years' War, a conflict which devastates the entire planet [according to Aldous Huxley's novel Brave New World]


The population of the United States will reach 400 million [according to the United States Census Bureau]


In Stephen Baxter's novel Flood, Mount Everest is submerged underwater


The setting for the film Minority Report


In the Warner Bros short film One Froggy Evening, a man discovers a singing frog in a box on a hi-tech street. He thinks he will make a fortune from the frog, but unfortunately the amphibian won't sing for anyone but him


The Midland Expressway Ltd contract to run the M6 Toll expires


The Beatles' catalogue will enter the public domain


Futurist Simon Hopkins predicts the collapse of modern economic systems


Commercial mining of the Moon's elements could be economically feasible


The setting for TV puppet show Fireball XL5


The setting for TV puppet show Stingray


The setting for TV puppet show Thunderbirds


According to Israeli futurist David Passig, there will be an undersea city


The Pew Research Center estimates that Muslim adherents will outnumber Christians


The setting for the TV series My Life as a Teenage Robot


The book 2081: A Hopeful View of the Human Future by Gerard K O'Neill envisages human emigration to colonies in free space


The lease of Uluru to the Australian government by the Pitjantjatjara is set to expire


The Sega Dreamcast's internal clock will reach its limit


Work on cleaning up the site of the Oldbury Nuclear Power Station [in Gloucestershire] is scheduled to be completed


The setting for 2Pac's music video California Love


Based on current trends, gender equality in the workplace will be achieved


The year of birth of Captain James T Kirk of the starship Enterprise


Google's master plan to index all the world's information and make it searchable could be achieved, according to CEO Eric Schmidt


In the Year 2525, a 1969 song by Zager and Evans, describes what life is like in 2525. Disturbing predictions are given for each selected year


Performance of [John Cage's] musical piece Organ²/ASLSP (As SLow aS Possible), that started in 2001, will come to an end


The Time pyramid, a public art work at Wemding, Germany, is scheduled for completion


According to the song In the Year 2525, by Zager and Evans, man will be blind and fed through tubes


According to the song In the Year 2525 by Zager and Evans, machines will have taken over all physical tasks, rendering man's arms and legs useless


According to the song In the Year 2525 by Zager and Evans, mating will cease to exist in its current form and children will be chosen from a "long glass tube"


In the song "In the Year 2525" by Zager and Evans, the songwriter expresses wonder as to whether, by the year 8510, god will be pleased with man, or destroy all of creation and start over


Estimated time for an astroengineering project to alter the Earth's orbit, compensating for the Sun's increasing brightness and outward migration of the habitable zone, accomplished by repeated asteroid gravity assists


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