How did 2015 compare to a CIA prediction compiled fifteen years ago?

At the turn of our millennium back in 2000, the CIA assembled a group of university professors, industry experts and field researchers to

At the turn of our millennium back in 2000, the CIA assembled a group of university professors, industry experts and field researchers to make predictions about the year 2015.

Their resulting report, Global Trends 2015, was seventy pages long. It predicted future global trends in great detail, and looking back now, the report makes for some scarily accurate reading.

Here’s how the year 2015 really stacked up:

1. Global population

In 2000, experts predicted that our world population would reach 7.2 billion. The figures were close, as in reality we have 7.35 billion people on Earth. 

The report predicted that an AIDS epidemic would drastically reduce Africa’s population, although thanks to advancements in healthcare, this did not happen in such vast swathes.

2. Immigration

Fifteen  years ago, the world’s ageing population was a concern that experts believed could be addressed by migration. They believed Western politicians would encourage migration, to offset the work and taxes needed to support ageing demographics.

Insightfully, experts predicted this would lead to a rise in far-right-wing political parties that oppose migration, because of the impact to social services and employment. We have seen this occur in Australia, with political parties such as Love Australia or Leave and the resurgence of One Nation.

In Europe, the push-pull is even worse, as Syrian refugees spread throughout the continent and spur the formation of groups such as Holland’s Party for Freedom and France’s National Front.

3. Islamic extremism

The 9/11 attacks were still one year away when this Global Trends report was compiled, and yet experts proved insightful. They believed terrorism would top international agendas, but even they underestimated the threat posed by individual extremists, such as Osama Bin Laden and current ISL leaders.

As a worst case scenario, experts predicted potential terrorist attacks against the West would involve chemical, nuclear or biological weapons. They predicted conflicts throughout the Middle East, which has been proven today by war in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and continuing tension along the Gaza Strip.

4. Internet hackers

When compiling their report, experts envisioned “quantum leaps” in communications, science and technology. They predicted a digital revolution, due to the internet and mobile devices, even though iPads where still ten years away from major release.

The report stated, “disaffected states, terrorists, proliferators, (drug) traffickers, and organised criminals will take advantage of the new high-speed information environment and other advances in technology to integrate their illegal activities”.

Just weeks ago, China was blamed for a massive cyber-attack against Australia’s bureau of meteorology and other government offices. Meanwhile, it has become necessary for parents and grandparents alike to educate their children about internet safety.

5. Resources

Experts believed the world would experience a 50% increase in demand for global energy. They also predicted that resources such as oil and water would become hotly contended. In 2015, leaders are still debating the future of oil at major climate summits, like those recently held in Paris.

As for water, more than 50 countries are said to be at risk of conflict about this basic necessity. Though tensions regarding water are yet to spill over, who knows what the next 15 years will bring..?

Do you believe the next 15 years will be positive for humanity? Are you surprised that experts could predict so much about the year 2015? What are your hopes for the future?

  1. Diana  

    I am hoping that Australian politicians will wake up to themselves and stop allowing coal mining giants to dig up prime agricultural areas. I am also hoping that the aforesaid pollies will throw their “all” at wind power and solar generation.

    I also have been told that pigs can fly…

    • Ian  

      Sorry Dianna but the wind and solar energy require more “greenhouse gas technology” to produce that they can save in 3 times their useful lifespan . for small remote locations they can be great But in theory, but for large scale power production they just don’t stack up.

  2. Pamela  

    Love Australia or Leave and One Nation are against illegal, economic, terrorist (read moslem) migrants and un-needed workers taking Aussie jobs.

    Legal migration (without terrorist intention) and needed workers are fine.

  3. I think the next 15 years will see continuing struggle against Islamic jihad. However, it is possible that governments will realise there is a problem and ban Islam after declaring it is not a religion. People who wish to follow Islamic ideology will be exported to countries that follow it.
    Iran may attack Israel or attempt to attack it when it finishes development of its nuclear program.
    A new form of free energy will be discovered which will inexpensively provide for the power needs of everyone which will improve the lives of many Africans and others who live in abject poverty.
    More governments will reveal the truth about extraterrestrial visitors and their role and open dialogue with them will occur, which will result in the ceasing of man-made religions and technology sharing for humanity. It will have a long lead up and then be like the Berlin Wall – out there and done in a flash.

  4. Brian Lee  

    I’m not surprised at the over-riding accuracy of their predictions, after all those selected were experts weren’t they, in fields related to the questions being asked. They could base what they said on years of experience and a knowledge of the rate of expansion in ideas, and were able to use that to project into the near future. It’s actually reassuring to know that we do have such reliable experts in our midst – we may not be taken unawares by future events, if they keep their eyes and ears open!

  5. These things have or are happening and it’s amazing that the predictions were so accurate.. My wish for the future is that politicians will wake up to what is happening with terrorism, and start to protect its people. A long shot, I know, but what is life without hope????

  6. dave, stacey  

    it neads all world leaders to get ther brians inti gear and solve the isures ..1 sola 2 watter shortage;big firms using more than nead &politing whats left ‘3 find a way to bring peace

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  8. Diane  

    The reason the Australian ‘fringe party’s’ have sprung up is not solely immigration, it is Where the Immigrants come from and the ‘baggage’ they persist in bringing. They expect us to introduce the laws from the very country and society they are or say they are wanting to escape. example Shari law, and the majority of Australians do not understand what that means when they persist on the ‘touchy feely’ attitudes towards allowing this to occur. It is way too late after the fact ..

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