Claire Voyant takes a look at Roy O’Sullivan’s playful predictions of yesteryear.

One hundred years ago this month, The Cheese Grater published a column by journalist Roy O’Sullivan entitled ‘The World of Tomorrow: Twenty Predictions for the Year 2017’. In this very special issue, we take a look at some of those predictions in light of what we know today.

1. ‘Food will be produced entirely synthetically, but at the expense of taste. While hunger will soon be eradicated, culinary joy will be greatly diminished…’
Roy wasn’t far off here – around 70% of our food has been chemically tampered with. However, it still tastes as great as ever, as anyone who’s been to a McDonalds after a night at Loop can testify!!

2. ‘…and men and women both, in travel, will eschew the simple horse for a swifter means of transport. Some sort of motorised scooter, equipped with a retractable sunroof, resistant to rain and even light snowfall…’
Roy should have known better here: mass produced automobiles has already been popular for fifteen years at the time he was writing, so it’s unclear as to why he thought everyone would downgrade to scooters.

3. ‘…horses, freed from their bondage, will hold public office – and they’ll do a damn better job at regulating public services than we have!’
This one was a little weird. And wrong.

4. ‘The aliens will invent a new flavour for our burgers; flondaflobo’carckrakar – but they will withhold the recipe for another 40 years, until after the great Treaty of Gernshill’op…’
Where did he get aliens from? He’d made no mention of aliens before this point. And where did he find the audacity to start making up specific treaties?

5. ‘…buildings will be made of TREES and STONES and METAL from the GROUND. And CARROTS.’
I was going to give Roy this one, just based on his accurate – if unremarkable – reasoning. But then he threw in ‘carrots’. Why, Roy?

6. ‘Yo momma will be so fat that she’ll weigh down the future and make it crash into the past, distorting the space time continuum. That’s how I know what will happen.’
Roy’s right. Mum has been at the ham lately.

Claire Voyant