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15 Predictions That Didn’t Come True in 2019

As long as humans have been around, we've been trying to predict what will happen in our future, but not everyone has a reliable crystal ball.

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Close-up Of A Robot's Hand Predicting Future With Crystal BallAndrey_Popov/Shutterstock

We predict…

The Ancient Maya famously made predictions about when civilization would end; many thought it would be December 21, 2012, but, as other scholars pointed out, they actually said that we’d be around for another 7,000 years and 2012 signified a rebirth, National Geographic reported. There were also plenty of predictions made for 2019, in terms of what would happen to the environment, economy, medicine, the entertainment industry, and the political world. Here are 15 things people thought would happen but didn’t. Movies and books predicted these inventions well before their time.

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New York City’s West Side Highway would be underwater

In an interview with a reporter from the Washington Post back in 1988, climate scientist Jim Hansen said that he thought that New York City’s West Side Highway would be underwater by 2019. “And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won’t be there. The trees in the median strip will change,” he added. While this hasn’t happened yet, some parts of New York City were flooded during 2012’s Hurricane Sandy. And it’s not just Manhattan: here are 13 other islands predicted to disappear in the next 80 years.

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the hand of a woman with a phone and a mug of tea in the cafefrantic00/Shutterstock

5G would be the new normal

Back at the beginning of the year, tech professionals like Reuben Yonatan, the founder and CEO of GetVOIP were all excited by the predictions that 5G would soon be taking the world by storm. “5G makes a great difference in the delivery of our Voice over Internet Protocol services, and you can imagine how the thought of millions and millions of users having access to 5G would thrill us,” he tells Reader’s Digest. However, Yonatan explains that 5G is running into regulatory snags in places like France and Belgium, as well as infrastructure and geographical issues in rural parts of the United States. As a result, the service has not taken over the world as was predicted. “Once again, articles are touting the number of users and amount of area 5G will cover in 2020, and many of them look very similar to the places and figures named last year,” Yonatan notes.

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A new home with a landscaped yard.V J Matthew/Shutterstock

The real estate market would crash

Ever since the Great Recession, there has been an even closer eye on the housing market, and 2019 was no exception. And according to Benjamin Ross, a real estate expert and realtor, many predicted that the real estate market would crash in 2019, but that didn’t happen. “Instead, all we saw was a slight slow down, but nothing more than a small blip on the radar,” he tells Reader’s Digest. “At this point, there is no real estate crash predicted for the rest of 2019.” Find out how much the average home costs in each state.

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Mother And Daughter Sit On Sofa In Lounge Using Digital TabletMonkey Business Images/Shutterstock

People would no longer buy tablets

Back in 2013, Blackberry’s former CEO Thorsten Heins said that tablets are no longer profitable, and their popularity will decrease with time. Specifically, he noted that their sales will drop dramatically in a matter of a few years and that within five years, people would not be interested in buying one. But here we are, six years later and tablets are still everywhere. In fact, according to Aqsa Tabassam, a senior growth marketer at, sales of tablets have increased year by year, reaching $136.8 million in global sales in 2019. “I do not see this business flopping soon,” she tells Reader’s Digest.

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Amazon would take over New York City

In November 2018, Amazon made its long-awaited announcement about which cities would host its new headquarters. After many smaller and medium-sized cities courted the corporate giant in the hopes of boosting their economies, Amazon selected New York City and Arlington, Virginia as their new homes. At that point, it looked like the corporation’s move into the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City was all but inevitable, despite opposition from local politicians, including U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Some of that must have worked, because in February 2019, Amazon pulled out of its Queens location. On the other hand, these historical predictions actually came true.

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We’d all be eating bugs

For years we’ve been told that eating different bugs and insects would be the new dietary norm. After all, other countries around the world already do it, they’re environmentally friendly and a great source of protein. In an interview with LinkedIn for their 2019 Big Ideas report, futurist QuHarrison Terry predicted that the edible insect market in the United States would be significant in 2019. “If I had half a billion dollars to invest right now, mark my words, a large portion would be allocated to this emerging field,” he said in the interview. “Currently, over 2 billion people worldwide consume insects on a regular basis for a source of protein. Yet, the industry is only estimated at $406 million. We’re one hit product away from seeing it become a multi-billion-dollar industry.” As it turns out, he was partially right; we may already be accidentally eating more insects than we realize: here are 13 common foods that could secretly contain insects.

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Sunrise and Earth view from space.(Elements of this image furnished by NASA)khak/Shutterstock

Space tourism would be up and running

We’ve been hearing about space tourism from people like Richard Branson and Elon Musk for years, and some thought that 2019 would be the year that it actually happened. For example, Jonathan O’Callaghan at Wired predicted that after many broken promises from those responsible for this emerging form of tourism, 2019 is when it would really take off. “No space tourist has flown since 2009,” he wrote. “This year, however, we are expecting several private companies in the United States to start taking humans to space, most for the first time. And, if all goes to plan, this could be a vital step towards making space more accessible—where paid trips and privately funded astronauts become the norm.” Even though you probably won’t be taking your next vacation to Mars, there are still some exciting developments happening for professional astronauts. Here are 13 things you didn’t know about space travel.

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The United Kingdom would no longer be part of the European Union

In July 2016, the United Kingdom held a referendum to determine whether or not the country should leave the European Union. It passed by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent, according to BBC News. Known as “Brexit,” this break from the EU was supposed to happen on March 29, 2019, but former Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan for leaving was delayed twice after being rejected by members of Parliament. This pushed the date to October 31, 2019, but since current Prime Minister Boris Johnson missed the deadline, it has now been pushed to January 31, 2020, the BBC reports. Though Queen Elizabeth II doesn’t have any say over Brexit, here are 9 things she actually has the power to do.

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Amazon would accept Bitcoin

There was a lot of hype around cryptocurrency in 2018, to the point where it was predicted that Amazon would accept Bitcoin in 2019. So far, though, that has not been the case. However, there are ways around this if you really, really want to pay for your two-day shipment of toilet paper using cryptocurrency. For example, you can use Bitcoin to purchase Amazon gift cards and shop that way, according to Investopedia. Find out 13 more predictions about the future that were dead wrong.

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There would be a reboot of The Nanny starring Cardi B

Between Murphy Brown, Will & Grace and Beverly Hills 90210, it’s clear that we can’t resist a reboot of a classic ’80s or ’90s TV show. So naturally, people started asking Fran Drescher about a potential reboot of her hit CBS sitcom The Nanny. Towards the end of 2018, she confirmed that she and her ex-husband and collaborator Peter Marc Jacobson were talking about the possibility of a reboot, and in 2019 revealed that she was in talks with Cardi B’s team about having the pop star be part of the new cast. Though many thought the reboot would happen in 2019, Drescher has been busy working on her new NBC sitcom Uninsured and it hasn’t happened yet.

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donald trumpEvan El-Amin/Shutterstock

We’d have another celebrity presidential candidate

When Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States with no prior political experience whatsoever, some predicted that 2019 would be the year of celebrities announcing their candidacy for the 2020 elections. The biggest buzz was around Oprah Winfrey, but she has clearly stated that she’s not interested. There was also talk of everyone from Alec Baldwin to Marc Cuban to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson potentially entering the race, but so far none of them have taken the steps to do so. But this is America and nothing in politics is impossible, so we never know what 2020 might have in store. These 12 historical predictions also missed the mark.

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Health care providers would supply your groceries

Some health insurance companies will offer discounts if you sign up for a gym membership, but in 2018 some predicted that 2019 would be the year that they also started covering groceries. One example of a company implementing a food-based health policy is Geisinger, a health care system covering underserved counties in Pennsylvania. According to its president and CEO, Jaewon Ryu, MD, the company has started a “fresh food pharmacy,” providing patients with groceries, nutrition information, and cooking classes. Though small scale examples like this are promising, these food-related benefits have not yet become the norm.

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Self-driving cars would be a reality

Though it seems as though we’ve been on the cusp of having self-driving cars as normal modes of transportation for the past few years, some really thought it would happen in 2019. Among the believers was Tesla CEO Elon Musk who announced that his company would release a “feature complete” full self-driving car by the end of this year. While that hasn’t quite happened yet, Musk recently said that the car could be released early, though it’s not entirely clear as to whether or not he’d make his own end-of-year deadline. And if you think self-driving cars sounds a bit out-there, take a look at these 15 weirdest products and inventions of 2019.

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We will hit “peak outrage”

With American politics as partisan as ever and a backlash against political correctness, some predicted that we’d reach “peak outrage” in 2019. “Outrage has been modified, optimized, personalized and, of course, monetized,” Willow Bay, dean of the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism told LinkedIn, adding that while outrage can be useful in the short-term, it’s not sustainable in the long-term. “Many do not want to live in a state of semi-permanent outrage, they’re simply tired of it,” she added. “And I believe increasingly, people are going to want to reclaim consensus, collaboration and shared values rather than polarizing ones.” However, outrage and “cancel culture” does not appear to be going away any time soon—especially with the upcoming presidential election. Don’t miss these 13 coincidences that seem made up, but are actually true.

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We’ll wean ourselves off of social media

In May 2019, Chris Hughes, one of the founders of Facebook, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times calling for the corporation to be broken up and regulated to help stop it from having more negative effects on democracy and society. Some thought this was the start of the fall of social media, but that hasn’t necessarily been the case. For example, Hootsuite’s Global State of Digital in 2019 Report found that there are 3.484 billion social media users worldwide in 2019, which is up 9 percent from the previous year. Read on to find out 10 crazy accurate predictions that actually came true.

Elizabeth Yuko
Elizabeth is a bioethicist and journalist covering politics, public health, pop culture, travel, and the lesser-known histories of holidays and traditions for She's always mentally planning her next trip, which she'll base around visits to medical museums or former hospitals, flea markets, local cuisine, and stays in unusual Airbnbs or historic hotels.