Flying cars! Robot butlers! Space hotels!
We know: Crystal-ball gazers have been promising us Jetsons-like lifestyle inventions for decades — along with cures for cancer, supersonic trains, and other feats of technology. We're still waiting.
Getting the future wrong is all part of the fun, of course. Back in 2000, prognosticators who tried to preview the Aughts achieved decidedly mixed results. (By 2010, one newspaper predicted, we'd be watching aroma-generating "smellyvision" that would add a new dimension to TV cooking shows.) So why even bother trying to peer around the corner? Maybe it's the innate human need to hope for the best and plan for the worst; maybe it's simple curiosity about how we'll live, love, and get around in days to come. Your car probably won't fly, but it might drive itself. And, yes, there will be robots this time — promise.
Since hindsight is ... well, you know, we asked scientists and visionaries to leap into the future and look back at what might have happened during the years leading to 2020. From stem cell breakthroughs to fat-eating pills to virtual sex — it's not all pretty, but it is pretty provocative.