When we try to predict the future, we often allow our assumptions to argue for our own limitations, sometimes at our peril. In this series of Mistaken Predictions, we deride predictions that close our minds to the future and celebrate our collective visions that allowed us to imagine alternative scenarios. Equipped with tools that open us to near limitless options, we cheer the fact that the future is inherently unpredictable.
“Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You’re crazy.”
–Associates of Edwin L. Drake refusing his suggestion to drill for oil in 1859.
Only one hundred fifty years passed since the first attempt to dig out oil from the ground met such contempt. Now, much of the global economy rests on this “black gold”. This fast diminishing resource rests at the center of armed conflict from Sudan to Iraq, and environmental devastation from tar sands in Alberta to global CO2 emissions.
Rumaylah Oil Fields, Iraq (April 02, 2003) – U.S. Army Sergeant Mark Phiffer stands guard duty near a burning oil well in the Rumaylah Oil Fields in Southern Iraq. (U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Arlo K. Abrahamson)