"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
The only thing we love more than a visionary is a visionary with really bad eyesight. Here now is a brief history of the world's most dunderheaded tech predictions.
Foolish tech prediction 1
At the dawn of the computer industry, nobody really knew where this new technology would take us. But the explosion of desktop computing that put a PC in nearly every American home within 50 years seems to have eluded the imagination of most mid-century futurists.
After all, when IBM's Thomas Watson said "computer," he meant "vacuum-tube-powered adding machine that's as big as a house." It's fair to say that few people ever wanted one of those, regardless of the size of their desk.
In the 1950s, the only thing more certain than the red menace was the inevitability of atomic power. So when New Jersey-based vacuum cleaner honcho Alex Lewyt heralded a tomorrow in which nuclear-powered appliances would suck up dirt in every American household, the news probably caused few eyebrows to rise. Remember, this was the era of radium-impregnated paint for glow-in-the-dark dials. Peaceful radioactivity seemed as safe as asbestos.
Of course, Lewyt's vision has yet to come true, and it likely won't until well after nuclear reactors are enlisted to power all of the terminator robots in our post-SkyNet future.
(Interested in robots? Take a look at "The Robots of 2008" for a video appreciation of the coolest and most innovative of Gort's great-great-grandchildren.)
Foolish tech prediction 5
To be fair, just about everyone in the computer business thought that Apple was in its death throes when Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold made this comment back in 1997.
Who could have predicted that, a little more than a decade later, that same company would be steadily increasing its share of the PC market while utterly dominating the digital music business and rapidly overtaking the field in the smartphone market?
By recent estimates, the amount of spam currently clotting up the Net is somewhere around 92 percent of all e-mail messages worldwide. (And it won't do to claim that what he really said was "Two years from now, [Hormel] Spam will be dissolved" -- because the sculptable meat product remains as semisolid as ever.)
So, uh, good guess, Bill. Glad that's been taken care of.Found this Post interesting? Receive new posts via RSS (What is RSS?) or subscribe via email at the top of this page...