Happy Friday! We are now one full week into 2016. A new year always brings new hopes and often predictions as we look to the future. More often than not these predictions end up missing the mark by a little or by a lot. Here are a few past predictions for you to ponder in the early days of this new year.
“Everyone’s always asking me when Apple will come out with a cell phone. My answer is, ‘Probably never.'”—David Pogue, The New York Times, 2006
“Two years from now, spam will be solved.”—Bill Gates, 2004
“Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.” —Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science,1949
“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” –Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
“But what … is it good for?” –Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM 1968, commenting on the microchip.
“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” –Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977
“There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television or radio service inside the United States.”—T.A.M. Craven, Federal Communications Commission commissioner (1961)
“640K ought to be enough for anybody.” — Bill Gates, 1981
“Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” –Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.
“Television won’t be able to hold onto any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.”—Darryl Zanuck, 20th Century Fox, 1946
“Rail travel at high-speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia.” –Dr Dionysys Larder (1793-1859)
“Taking the best left-handed pitcher in baseball and converting him into a right fielder is one of the dumbest things I ever heard.” — Tris Speaker, baseball hall of famer, talking about Babe Ruth, 1919
“If excessive smoking actually plays a role in the production of lung cancer, it seems to be a minor one.” –W.C. Heuper, National Cancer Institute, 1954.
“Everything that can be invented has been invented.” –Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.
Thought for the Week
So, hope-lit New Year, with thy joys uncertain,
Whose unsolved mystery none may foretell,
I calmly trust my God to lift thy curtain:
Safe in his love, for me ’twill all be well.
~Julia B. Cady (d.1869), “New-Year Thoughts,” in Sabbath at Home, January 1870
For the vast majority of us, Ken Olson was right. The computers that we have today bear little similarity in purpose to the computers of the past. Computers have become a content delivery medium and shopping device. Considering that most people do little computing, “computer” is a misnomer. “Directive television” is far more accurate.
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