Prophecy of Arthur Clarke

The name of this science fiction writer, the author of more than a hundred novels and articles, is widely known. But Arthur Clark is not only a writer. He is also a versatile scientist with extensive knowledge in mathematics, physics, and astronomy. In addition, he is a brilliant futurist, whose predictions differ in that, as a rule, they come true.

Back in 1945, he predicted a system of telecommunications satellites, which caused ironic laughter from his scientific colleagues.

Somewhat later, he described the flight of people to the moon, and in the mid-80s he predicted the “millennium error” – a possible computer failure in early 2000.

At the end of 2000, the scientist presented his vision of the future a thousand years ahead in the British newspaper The Guardian.

Clark claimed that as early as 2001, signs of life would be found on Jupiter’s moon Europa. Three years later, in 2004, the first human cloning will take place. In 2010, portable quantum generators capable of receiving energy directly from space will be launched into space. In another 4 years, there will be special hotel ships in Earth orbit for those who want to spend their holidays in space. Later, most of the inhabitants of the Earth will live on orbital stations, which will be connected to the earth’s surface by special systems of lifting and lowering units. The long-standing dream of alchemists to learn how to extract gold from other metals will come true in 2015, and in 2021 people will land on Mars and begin to explore this “red” planet.

Thanks to the creation of special equipment, scientists will be able in 2024 to record the signals of an unknown highly developed civilization located in the very center of the Galaxy. Long before the end of the new millennium, earthlings may be connected to the intergalactic Internet, which will become as commonplace as the terrestrial World Wide Web, and be able to download huge libraries from countless foreign cultures. Around the same time, special training helmets will be invented, allowing any person to receive all kinds of knowledge without attending educational institutions at all, thanks to the computer information built into such a helmet, which is transmitted directly to the brain.

Each person at birth will be implanted with a special microchip, which will make it possible to refuse fingerprinting, since it will always be possible not only to identify it, but also to find it, wherever they are.

Special robots will be able not only to do housework, but also to play with children. True, Clark wonders whether the inhabitants of the Earth will remain human after 1000 years – many studies suggest that in the coming century, artificial intelligence can surpass human. In this case, people will be forced to share their planet with at least one other species, and possibly more.

The man of the future will be able to make virtual trips to different parts of the Universe and to any moments of the past.

Already in 2045, people will learn to provide for themselves only through the processing of waste products. Meat will practically disappear from the tables, as everyone will become vegetarians. In another five years, in 2050, millions of people on Earth will want to freeze themselves in special refrigerators in order to be reborn in the future for a new life. True, after another 40 years, such refrigerators will no longer be needed, since a new ice age will begin. But Clarke is confident that humanity will be able to safely overcome this disaster, starting to intensively burn gas and oil, which will create a greenhouse effect and stabilize the earth’s climate.

Clark believes that the British Isles will not be where they are now. Due to tectonic changes, they will move about 20 meters to the east.

In 2095, aircraft will be created that have the ability to fly at a speed close to the speed of light.

In the 21st century, our civilization will continue to be threatened by asteroids and comets. The scientist claims that if two neutron stars collide at a distance of up to several thousand light-years from the solar system, then the gamma rays that result from the explosion can be fatal to all life forms except oceanic ones.

But the most unique and dizzying possibility of the new millennium is, in his words, that some of the people living today will be able to witness the advent of the year 3001 and the fourth millennium. This will become possible as a result of achieving biological immortality and discovering ways to revive a person after many tens or even hundreds of years.

All this is only a small fraction of what Arthur C. Clarke predicts. He believes that already in this millennium, the inhabitants of the Earth will approach the image of the superman, which many philosophers have spoken about. But at the same time, this can lead to a strong simplification of human life, when the concepts of feelings and soul cease to be dominant, and composure and cold calculation take their place.

For the time being, the writer prefers to remain silent about many of his other prophecies, offering to check his predictions on December 31, 2100.


Even those who do not read science fiction and generally cannot stand the spirit know the name of Arthur Clarke. Not only numerous novels brought him fame, but also the film “2001: A Space Odyssey”, staged by the great Stanley Kubrick according to the scenario of Clark, and frequent appearances on the pages of the world’s most prestigious periodicals.

Among modern recognized oracles, the English science fiction writer and popularizer of science is the first-rate authority. And what is especially curious: he himself succeeded a lot in the field of prophecy – but strictly scientific! “Clark passionately and energetically fights against any manifestations of charlatanism, against false prophets and soothsayers who have turned this trade into a win-win business.

His numerous science fiction novels are widely known in our country. But no less interesting in terms of prognosis are Clark’s journalistic and popular science books – “Features of the Future” (1962; it was in this book that the author drew his first detailed “chronology of the future”), “1984: Spring, the choice of the future” (1984), ” July 20, 2019. Life in the 21st century” (1986). And even the fact that many of the predictions made there did not come true – or are unlikely to come true in the time frame indicated by the famous science fiction writer – did not damage the high reputation of the writer.


And just before the year 2000, the prophet made a second attempt to draw a “chronology of the future.” It appeared on the Internet on the AsiaNews web page, which is probably why there is a certain “orientalist flavor” in Clark’s visions.

As can be judged from the table, over the past three and a half decades, the English science fiction writer has not been changed by a sense of technological optimism, although fairly corrected. At the same time, Clark retains a certain irony in relation to his forecasts and is generally not inclined to take the pose of a sinless prophet. This is already confirmed by the author’s introduction, which is worth quoting in full:

“Despite numerous claims to the contrary, no one is able to predict the future. And personally, I have always resisted any attempt to label me as a “prophet.” I would prefer another term: “extrapolator”. All I have tried to do—at least in my non-fiction books—is to present the reader with a fan of possible futures. At the same time, without forgetting to add that any, even the most remarkable foresight, may not survive even a few years and turn into absurdity due to some absolutely unforeseen invention or event.

A classic example is the statement of the chairman of the board of directors of IBM, made in the late 1940s: the head of the future computer giant claimed then that the world market demand for computers is unlikely to exceed 5 (!) copies. Already today there are more of them in my office – and they continue to breed like rabbits …

Although, perhaps it is not for me to criticize Thomas Watson Sr., who owns that historical forecast. In the short story “Earth Transit” (1970), I suggested that the first landing on Mars would occur in 1994. Today I think differently: it would be good if we manage to accomplish such a task by the year 2010…

On the other hand, in 1951, when my other book, Prelude to Space, was published, I still considered myself a moderate optimist, believing that the first man would set foot on the moon in 1978. However, Armstrong and Aldrin beat me by almost a decade.

And yet, personally, I think I have something to be proud of. Orbital communications satellites today are located in orbit exactly where I placed them in my article back in 1945. And, of course, I am pleased to hear people say: “Clark’s orbit”! Even if the only reason is that pronouncing “geostationary” is just a little more difficult …

And a whole chapter called “The Syndrome of the Century” in my novel “The Spirit of the Great Shoals” (1990) may have for the first time made available to the general reading masses (special literature does not count) what is now known under the frightening name “virus-2000” .

And I not only pointed out its possible origin, but also suggested methods of treatment!

But even taking into account all the above, my scheme of predictions for the 21st century must certainly be taken with reservations – like those warnings that are printed on cigarette packs. Something like:

“Remember – reading forecasts is dangerous for your health!” … Regarding some of the events indicated (especially for space research), I am almost sure of the dates and dates. There is no secret here: “… the events themselves and technical achievements are planned today, and if nothing extraordinary happens, everything will happen as I predict. I want to believe that in other cases my intuition did not let me down – although with regard to many forecasts, I would rather be wrong a hundred times!

The article is published with abbreviations, it was published in its entirety in the journal “2000” – we recommend this journal to all those interested in futurology.

2001 January 1st. The beginning of a new century and a new millennium. The automatic Cassini probe, launched in October 1997 and flew up to Saturn in 2000, began exploring the rings and satellites of the planet. Another probe – “Galileo”, launched in October 1989, continued the study of another giant planet – Jupiter (as well as its satellites). Under the surface of the icy oceans of the largest satellite – Europa – discovered life, which turned out to be strikingly similar to the earth. 2002 The first device for obtaining “clean” and safe energy by low-temperature nuclear reaction went on commercial sale. This event heralded the end of the era of burning fossil fuels (Fossil-Fuel Age), which could not but cause a wave of economic and geopolitical upheavals. And the American scientists Pons and Fleishman, who discovered in 1989 “cold fusion”, received the Nobel Prize. 2003 The automotive industry is given 5 years to completely replace all internal combustion engines with new ones using “cold fusion” energy. The American automatic station Mars Surveyor was launched (with a landing compartment and an autonomous “rover” trolley). 2004 The first officially registered human clone appears. 2005 The Mars Surveyor brought the first sample of Martian soil back to Earth. The Dalai Lama returned to Tibet. 2006 The last coal mine on Earth is closed in India. 2007 NASA launched the next generation orbiting telescope (successor to the current Hubble) into orbit. President Chandrika Hamarathunga received the Nobel Peace Prize for restoring peace to Sri Lanka. 2008 July 26 director of the film “2001: A Space Odyssey, film director Stanley Kubrick (who would have turned 80 that day) was posthumously awarded a special Oscar for his overall contribution to the art of cinema. 2009 An accidental explosion of an atomic warhead completely wipes out a city in North Korea. After a brief debate in the United Nations, a decision was made to finally eliminate all nuclear weapons. 2010 The first quantum generators are developed, “pumping” energy directly from space. Available in both home and portable versions and requiring only a few kilowatts of external power, they can provide power almost indefinitely. All electric and nuclear power plants are closed: the era of power lines and switchboards is over! Despite the protests against the “Big Brother government” (an allusion to the invisible dictator from George Orwell’s famous dystopia “1984” – V. G.), electronic monitoring actually “squeezed out” professional crime from society. 2011 The largest life form still on Earth is captured on film: a giant 75-meter octopus that lived permanently in the Mariana Trench. By a strange coincidence, in the same year, even larger sea creatures were discovered in the oceans of Jupiter’s moon Europa. This happened after the reconnaissance robot drilled the first well in the thickness of the ice, revealing to mankind an unprecedented wealth of extraterrestrial life. 2011 The largest life form still on Earth is captured on film: a giant 75-meter octopus that lived permanently in the Mariana Trench. By a strange coincidence, in the same year, even larger sea creatures were discovered in the oceans of Jupiter’s moon Europa. This happened after the reconnaissance robot drilled the first well in the thickness of the ice, revealing to mankind an unprecedented wealth of extraterrestrial life. 2011 The largest life form still on Earth is captured on film: a giant 75-meter octopus that lived permanently in the Mariana Trench. By a strange coincidence, in the same year, even larger sea creatures were discovered in the oceans of Jupiter’s moon Europa. This happened after the reconnaissance robot drilled the first well in the thickness of the ice, revealing to mankind an unprecedented wealth of extraterrestrial life.

2012 The first aerospaceplanes (a combination of an airplane and a spaceship) began regular flights. The history of space travel repeated the history of aviation, only everything happened much more slowly, as technological problems grew by an order of magnitude: from the flight of Yuri Gagarin to the first commercial flights, it took twice as long as from the Wright brothers biplane to the DC-3 airliner. 2013 A passenger on one of the commercial space flights – the Prince of Brunei – became the first member of the “August families” to fly into space. 2014 Construction of the first orbital hotel, the Hilton Orbiter Hotel, began. As a building material, it was decided to use the giant spent fuel tanks of the “shuttles”, which were previously simply allowed to burn in the upper atmosphere.

2015 As an inevitable by-product of quantum generators, man gained complete control over matter at the atomic level. An ancient dream of alchemists has been realized – and on a commercial scale. The result was truly sensational events: in a matter of years, the prices of lead and copper surpassed the price of gold, as the former were used more and more often in industry.

2010 All world currencies ceased to exist, and the megawatt-hour became the only measure of exchange.

2010 On December 16, the opening day of the Orbital Hilton, among the first visitors was Sir Arthur Clarke, who was invited to celebrate his 100th birthday. China held its first nationwide free parliamentary elections.

2010 A large meteorite fell near the North Pole. There were no casualties, but the tsunami wave raised by the explosion caused significant damage off the coast of Canada and Greenland. As a result, the Safeguard project, discussed for many years, was finally launched – the creation of a system for detecting and destroying (or deflecting) dangerous meteors and comets.

2020 Artificial intelligence has reached the level of the human brain in its “development”. From that moment on Earth, the coexistence of two intelligent life forms began, and the second evolved at a speed inaccessible to biological evolution. The first ships equipped with artificial intelligence systems went to the nearest stars.

2021 The first people landed on Mars, and surprises were not long in coming.

2024 Exact living “replicas” of dinosaurs were cloned from computer-generated DNA. First Triassic Park opened in Florida. Despite a number of unpleasant incidents, a program was launched to replace guard dogs with specially trained mini-dinosaurs.

2024 Infrared signals from the center of the Milky Way are caught. There was no doubt that they were sent by a highly developed technological civilization, but all attempts to decipher the messages were unsuccessful.

2025 The rapid growth of neuroscience research has led scientists to a complete understanding of how all the senses function, after which direct connection to the organs of sight, hearing, touch, etc. became possible. The result of this neurobiological revolution was the Braincap, a distant descendant of the primitive walkmans of the 20th century. From now on, a whole universe of feelings and perceptions, real or artificial, was now open to a person with a “brain cap” on his head, tightly pressed to his skull, and it even became possible to directly exchange thoughts with other people in real time. In addition to the use of “brain caps” in the entertainment industry and imaginary travel, the invention revolutionized medicine: from now on, the doctor could directly experience all the symptoms of his patient. And also in jurisprudence:

2026 Singapore becomes the first country to legislate the principle of Integrity in Advertising.

2036 China surpasses the US in terms of gross national product, becoming the sole economic leader in the world.

2040 The “universal replicator” based on the achievements of nanotechnology has been brought to perfection: from now on, with a sufficient amount of raw materials and an information matrix, it was possible to exactly copy any material object of any complexity. Literally: “diamonds or delicacies – from a heap of dirt” … As a result of this discovery, agriculture and industry went down in history, and with them – and what constituted the very essence of the existence of mankind throughout its long history: routine work, physical and even partially creative work! The arts, entertainment and education sectors experienced a real boom. A society based on hunting and harvesting for centuries and millennia was forced to transform, and vast areas of the planet that previously served exclusively for food production, Finally got back to their original shape. And young people began to discharge aggressive instincts with the help of crossbows in games specially organized for this purpose, completely “computerized”, but not excluding risk and a sense of danger.

2045 The House of the Future is perfected – completely autonomous, self-service, working on a closed cycle and mobile (something similar almost a century ago was envisioned by the architect, philosopher and visionary Buckminster Fuller). The extra carbon needed to synthesize food was now extracted from carbon dioxide extracted from the atmosphere.

2047 Hong Kong marked the 50th anniversary of existence as an independent free region of China with the complete abolition of border formalities and slingshots on the border with the mainland state.

2050 “Escape from Utopia”. Millions of people, for whom this peaceful, devoid of exciting moments only boredom, decided to “emigrate” into the future with the help of cryogenics. Hoping that a life full of real adventures awaits them there… For this purpose, extensive storages of bodies frozen to the best of time – “hibernacules” – have been created in the Antarctic and under the polar regions on the Moon.

2051 Vast unexplored lunar territories given to earth colonists. The colonies are controlled by robots and are completely self-sufficient, and the basis of the population is made up of old people who have moved from Earth in the hope of living longer in conditions of weakened lunar gravity.

2057 October 4 – 100th anniversary of the first satellite. The anniversary was solemnly celebrated by people not only on Earth, but also on the Moon, Mars, Europa, Ganymede and Titan, as well as at orbital stations circling Venus, Neptune and Pluto.

2061 Return of Halley’s comet and first human landing on its nucleus. The sensational discovery of “sleeping” and active life forms there confirmed the hundred-year-old hypothesis of Hoyle-Vikram-Singhe that life is present in space almost everywhere – and by no means only on planets.

2090 Mankind decided to return to the large-scale burning of “fossil” fuels – oil, gas (instead of “pumping” carbon dioxide from the air). This was done in order to prevent a new ice age, which would inevitably come if the leakage of carbon dioxide continued at the same rate. Thanks to the measures taken, the planet has entered the era of global warming.

2095 The invention of a true “space engine” (a kind of reactive system, “repelled” from the very structure of space-time) put an end to rockets, allowing them to actually reach speeds close to the speed of light. The first expeditions with people went to promising planetary systems of nearby stars, which had previously been visited and explored by robotic probes.

2100 The story begins…

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