17 Things People in the ‘60s Thought Were True That Turned Out to Be a Lie

With the threat of the Cold War, huge technological advancements, and an obsession with space, the people of the 1960s had an impressive vision for the years ahead. We’ve compiled a list of 17 beliefs that were widely accepted in the 1960s but still haven’t become a reality.

Smoking Is Harmless

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Although links between smoking and cancer had been made, many people still believed it to be harmless. According to the National Library of Medicine, “a 1963 study found that awareness of science reporting had little impact on smoking behavior, as many smokers were prone to doubt the scientific claims or exhibit fatalistic attitudes about health risks.”

We’d Have Flying Cars by 2000

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1960s predictions of the future often included widespread use of flying vehicles, with sci-fi media envisioning cities adapted for air travel rather than road traffic. While flying cars are still being prototyped, technological and logistical challenges have prevented this vision from becoming a reality to date.

Computers Will Lead to a Paperless Society

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Early users of computers believed that digital innovations would totally eliminate the need for paper in society, with the ability to store and share information electronically. While the use of paper has significantly decreased in modern times, it’s still in use, and ironically, initial computer use actually led to an increase in paper consumption for printouts and documentation.

Overpopulation Will Cause Global Starvation by the 1980s

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Caused by the publication of books such as Paul R. Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb, people believed that agricultural production wouldn’t be able to keep up with the population increase. Smithsonian Magazine says, “Ehrlich’s book argued that many of the day’s most alarming events had a single, underlying cause: too many people, packed into too-tight spaces, taking too much from the earth.”

Space Colonies Would Be Common by the Late 20th Century

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In the era of the space race and moon landing, 1960s Americans believed that humans would establish colonies on the moon or Mars, and scientists were optimistic that space travel would become commonplace. While there have been advancements in space exploration, this vision remains unrealized.

Nuclear Power Would Provide Energy Too Cheap to Meter

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Scientists and politicians of the time promised citizens that nuclear energy would become so efficient and cost-effective that it would essentially be free. However, this became less and less likely, and the Ecologist says, “While we were being told it would make electricity ‘too cheap to meter,’ insiders knew it cost at least 50% more than conventional generation.”

The Common Cold Would Be Cured

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Advancements in medicine led the people of the 1960s to believe that a cure for the common cold was imminent. However, despite progress in medical science, the common cold, caused by numerous and ever-mutating viruses, has proven challenging to eradicate.

Humans Would Have Underwater Cities

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Somewhat of an obsession in the 1960s, people predicted that humans would be living in large underwater cities to make use of the extra space. While there are underwater labs and hotels, permanent underwater cities have not been developed due to technical, financial, and practical challenges.

TV Dinners Would Be the End of Cooking at Home

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The TV entered the family home in the 1960s, and with the rise of sitcoms came the TV dinner. This led people to believe that traditional home cooking would become obsolete and that people would move solely to meals that focused on convenience.

Atomic Gardens Would Revolutionize Agriculture

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Thought to be the future of agriculture, atomic gardening was expected to produce supercrops. According to Popular Science, “Before scientists learned how to modify genes, they induced mutations with radiation. It was a sincere effort to feed the world, and amaze home gardeners, by modifying plants to have desirable traits.”

Brainwashing Techniques Could Control Minds

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Rife with fears and myths about brainwashing being used by enemies as part of the Cold War, it was thought that psychological techniques could completely overwrite a person’s beliefs and behaviors. However, while influence and persuasion are possible, the concept of total mind control is far-fetched.

Gender Equality Would Be Achieved by the End of the 20th Century

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The progress of the feminist movement in the 1960s fostered optimism about future gender equality, and people expected most legal and social barriers would be dismantled within decades. While there has been significant progress, gender equality is still an ongoing fight today.

Weather Control Would Be Commonplace

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Research such as cloud seeding fueled beliefs that scientists would soon be able to fully control weather patterns in order to prevent natural disasters and benefit agriculture. This large-scale weather control remains beyond our capabilities today.

Jet Packs Would Be a Standard Mode of Transportation

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It was thought that these devices would become commonplace, offering individual flight capabilities. According to Life, a 1961 jet pack prototype captured the imaginations of the world; however, they say that in reality, it was being developed for use by the army rather than your average consumer, and the ability of the jet pack was less than impressive.

The Four-Day Workweek Would Become Standard

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Technological advancements led people to believe that the increase in productivity would reduce the need for long working weeks. As a result, the concept of a four-day workweek was popularized, suggesting a balance between work and leisure, something that is still debated today.

Acupuncture Was Considered Pseudoscience

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In the 1960s, Western medical professionals largely dismissed acupuncture as unscientific or a placebo treatment. However, today we recognize its benefits, and the procedure is used in various medical treatments, often as a complementary approach alongside other treatments.

Life Expectancy Would Reach 100 by the Year 2000

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The optimism surrounding medical advancements led some to predict that life expectancy would dramatically increase by the 2000s. While life expectancy has increased, it hasn’t yet reached an average of 100, and we recognize that factors such as lifestyle, environment, and genetics all play a crucial role.

Read More: 17 of the Most Dangerous Cities in the World (6 Are in The US)

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Every city has its dangers, but it goes without saying that some places are far more dangerous than others. We’ve compiled a list of 17 of the most dangerous cities in the world in terms of violent crime and homicide rates.

17 of the Most Dangerous Cities in the World (6 Are in The US)

17 Non-Negotiables Men of Integrity Refuse to Compromise On

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A man with integrity has strong moral principles—there are just some things that he would never do. In this article, we’ll find out the top 17 things that damage a man’s integrity.

17 Non-Negotiables Men of Integrity Refuse to Compromise On

17 Things You Should Never Carry in Your Wallet

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Let’s be real — when was the last time you went through your wallet and got rid of anything unnecessary? It’s important to know if you’re carrying items with you every day that could put you at risk. Click to discover the 17 things you should never keep in your wallet, helping you minimize the risk of identity theft, financial loss, and other issues.

17 Things You Should Never Carry in Your Wallet

18 Old School Habits That Are Making a Comeback

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Old school habits are starting to make a comeback. These can be hobbies associated with the older generation, such as sewing or woodworking. It can also be old-school manners, such as writing thank-you notes and opening doors for people. Let’s look at 18 of these habits.

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18 American Phrases That Non-Americans Struggle to Understand

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American expressions are a vital part of its culture, reflecting the nation’s history and values. However, these sayings can sometimes puzzle people from other countries because they often carry context, colloquialisms, and historical references that can lose their intended meaning when crossing borders. Let’s look at 18 of such American sayings.

18 American Phrases That Non-Americans Struggle to Understand