Ryan's Journal

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?" — David Mitchell

The 2023 Predictions Scorecard

Posted from Culver City, California at 8:21 pm, January 5th, 2024

Here’s the annual scorecard for the predictions about the coming year. The original 2023 predictions were made twelve months ago when they seemed far less ludicrous than they do now.

  1. SpaceX is going to have several spectacular failed launch attempts of its new Starship rocket, but will get the vehicle to orbit.

    WRONG. They turned their new rocket into the world’s largest firework twice, but didn’t make it to orbit on either attempt. Still, there’s every reason to believe that this new rocket will eventually be successful, at which point humanity will be significantly closer to the science fiction future that I’ve been waiting for since I was a six year old at the science museum.

  2. Apple is going to launch a new VR headset, but despite a ton of initial press it won’t catch on with consumers.

    WRONG. Apple actually announced the Vision Pro headset back in June, but it isn’t yet on sale yet and thus it’s not possible to accurately judge consumer interest. Still, how many people want to pay $3499 so they can have creepier virtual meetings?

  3. The Ukraine war will end by summer, with Russia ceding all claims to Ukrainian territory, including Crimea, in exchange for some sort of face-saving gesture like a promise that Ukraine won’t join NATO.

    WRONG. There are so many reasons to be dejected about this war, and sadly after rapid gains by Ukraine last year, it has turned into a long slog with no signs of ending.

  4. Ford will be responsible for 30% of all US EV sales by the end of the year.

    WRONG. I have no idea what I was thinking with this prediction. The F-150 Lightning is one of the best electric vehicles on the market, and Ford’s electrification strategy is better than the other legacy automakers, but they’re not remotely close to holding 30% of the domestic market.

  5. The US will default on its debt for the first time in history.

    WRONG. Wrong, but my 401k is incredibly happy to be wrong about this one after a deal was signed in July. I’m not optimistic that legislators won’t blow up the country’s credit the next time the debt ceiling needs to be raised, but at least this year the lid stayed on Pandora’s Box.

  6. Tesla will begin deliveries of its new Cybertruck by June 2023, but they won’t offer the truck for the $39,900 that was initially announced, and won’t sell a model that costs less than $50,000 in 2023.

    WRONG. The Cybertruck didn’t launch until November, and did so at a higher price with lower range, towing, and payload capacity than they originally announced. I’m still a huge fan of Tesla – they build the world’s best electric vehicles and have forced every other automaker to innovate to keep up – but they could have given every truck owner a reason to go electric if they had focused on building a vehicle that catered to the needs to truck owners rather than building a stainless steel triangle because the CEO wanted to live out his Mad Max fantasies.

  7. Donald Trump will drop out of the 2024 Presidential Race before the end of the year.

    WRONG. I thought his legal troubles might drive him to drop out of the race, but instead it seems like he has decided that the best way to get out of legal jeopardy is get the job back that lets him pick the Attorney General.

  8. Layoffs will continue in the technology sector in 2023, but there won’t be a broad recession.

    CORRECT. Finally! A correct prediction! After a hiring spree during COVID, the tech sector trimmed over 200,000 jobs in 2023, but somewhat miraculously the economy as a whole continued to do well and avoided a recession while adding jobs.

  9. At least two of the following three things will happen in the NFL: Tom Brady will retire (for real this time), Aaron Rodgers will retire, and Jimmy Garoppolo will join the New York Jets.

    WRONG. Brady retired, so I at least got one. Rodgers should have retired, and the Jets would have been better off with Garoppolo at the helm after Rodgers played only four snaps for them.

  10. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny will be a flop, earning less than the $317 million that the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull made.

    CORRECT. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Desiny had a $174 million box office, making it the lowest-grossing film in the franchise. My brother said it was a good film, but (like most of the world) I still haven’t seen it.

  11. Joe Biden will announce that he is running for a second term, and no major Democrat aside from (maybe) Bernie Sanders will announce that they are running against him.

    CORRECT. Democrats are lamenting the fact that the guy most likely to be their nominee next year is 81 and far from his peak years, but much like the Republicans with Trump, you’d be hard pressed to find two people who agree on who should be running instead.

  12. Kathleen Kennedy will be removed as the head of Lucasfilm.

    WRONG. How is she still in charge of Star Wars?!?! The last Star Wars movie was in 2019, and just about everyone hated it. The next announced movie is still several years away and sounds like another cash grab rather than a compelling story. Hey Disney: please, please, please go find one of the nerds who has seen the original trilogy a thousand times, owns a Stormtrooper outfit, and gets incensed at the thought of Greedo shooting first, and get them to plot out the future of the franchise.

  13. Twitter will see declining revenue and user engagement under Elon Musk, but no viable competitor will emerge by the end of the year.

    CORRECT. I think history will remember Elon Musk fondly because of the achievements of Tesla and SpaceX, but whether due to drug use, hubris, or because he’s just plain lost his marbles, his work of late has a certain Dr. Evil vibe to it. Still, no one else has filled the void left by Twitter’s slow demise, despite Facebook’s efforts with Threads and former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s attempt with Bluesky.

  14. Athing Mu of the USA will break the 40 year old world record in the women’s 800m.

    WRONG. First, as a former runner I might be the rare person who even knows who Athing Mu is, but she’s a special talent in the running world. In 2023 the reigning Olympic gold medalist finished third at the World Championships, and afterwards seemed very ready to be done with running for the year. Hopefully the Olympics re-ignites her passion for the sport, but as someone who failed to reach his full potential as a runner I can understand how hard it can be to push yourself every single day for years on end if the motivation isn’t there.

  15. 2023 will see two “quiet” supersonic planes successfully flying over our heads.

    WRONG. I so want there to be supersonic passenger planes again, and hopefully Boom’s XB-1 plane flies this year, as well as NASA’s X-59, but sadly both missed their planned 2023 first flights. Just as SpaceX reinvigorated the space industry, I want to see someone make aerospace exciting again and put the X-Jet or other crazy new vehicles in the sky, rather than just making small iterations on the wing-and-tube designs that have been with us for the past 50 years.

Final score: 4/15. At first glance that’s a pretty awful score, but tigers are supposedly successful on only 10-20% of their hunts, so 4/15 is a score that puts the best tiger to shame. Predictions for 2024 will be online soon.

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