“Any study of the history of technological development reveals that technological progress comes from doing things differently in an unpredictable way. Pocket calculators are not built with vacuum tubes. Supersonic flight is not achieved with propellers. Lasers are not just better light bulbs. In short, the future is definitely NOT a mere extrapolation of the past.” – Stanton Friedman
The above quote neatly captures the essence of innovation and progress and also explains why most predictions of the future are so off the mark. We do not commute to work in our jetpack, have a robotic assistant or have summer vacations on Mars – all of which were predicted as commonplace in the 21st century. None of these predictions have materialized probably because they were just linear projections of cars, computers and space travel. Instead we have other wonderful technologies that were not predicted – like the internet, the world wide web, cellphones, instant messaging, email, GPS all of which evolved somewhat unpredictably from computer networking, radio communication and satellites.