Over the past couple days both the NY Times and USA Today have taken a look back at one of the more notable years in our nation's history, 1908. Most Americans had never seen a movie or ridden in a car on New Years Day 1908 and only a few had flown in a plane. But that year Henry Ford introduced the Model T and Wilbur Wright took a 2 hour demonstration flight. New Yorkers witnessed the construction of the world's tallest building... twice...the Singer Building in Lower Manhattan, which was overtaken by the 700-foot Met Life Building in Madison Square. The Queensborough and Manhattan bridges were on their way to completion.
Interestingly, just like today, people guzzled Coke and Pepsi, shaved with Gillette razors and vacuumed with Hoovers.
Being such a hopeful time in American history, it was common for journalists to write about the technology predictions of experts in various fields. Some of them were scarily accurate...
"'When the expectations of wireless experts are realized, everyone will have his own pocket telephone and may be called wherever he happens to be,' one magazine predicted in 1908." Another prediction cited by the Times declared organ transplants would be common practice in 100 years.
This year the Times asked 10 experts from a variety of fields what life would be like in 2108, a hundred years from now. My favorite response was that of financial pundit Jim Cramer:
Full stories hereI have a genuine optimism about New York in 2108. The city will be the international city to live in. It’s just that we won’t be able to afford it. The financial capital of the world will be probably Dubai or Beijing, and New York will be owned by Chinese and Arab investors, among others. Travel will be much faster and more fluid, and coming to New York from the Emirates, say, will be as easy as going to Mecca. It’ll be like a country place for the wealthy elite of the world. “Oh, yeah, I have a country place — I have the Essex House.”
If I’m a guy sitting on top of $200- or $300-a-barrel oil, how can I not own a borough? “Hey, what borough do you own? I got this Queens borough. They even throw in a bridge.”
We have a few guys who will be able to step up. Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs, just got $70 million; that’s definitely two-bedroom material. And Dick Fuld of Lehman — count him in.
The rest of us can live in Schenectady or Plattsburgh. We can come here on the weekends and stay at a nice hotel in Astoria. I’m telling you, New York will be an amazing place to visit.
What developments do you guys think will be made? What will be the same?
Happy New Year!