The One Time That Wired Was Overly Pessimistic and Actually Predicted the Future

In July 1997, Wired magazine published its “Long Boom” issue. The cover confidently blared:

“We’re facing 25 years of prosperity, freedom, and a better environment for the whole world. You got a problem with that?”

History had a problem with that.

In the breathlessly positive cover article, written by Peter Schwartz and Peter Leyden, as a sort of counterpoint to the rosy techno-utopianism of the piece, they ran a sidebar entitled “Ten Scenario Spoilers.” It was a list of ten things that could cut short this “era of unprecedented prosperity and enlightenment.”

Amazingly, here in 2022, we can see our current world in nearly every single one of these “spoilers.” It wasn’t one thing that made the boom go bust, it was ALL THE THINGS!

This list has proven to be so jaw-droppingly prescient that, when it went viral in 2021, people began questioning its authenticity. Snopes even published a page to verify the list was real and unaltered.

You can read the full article via the Internet Archive. Here’s the sidebar:


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