The Dangers of Envisioning the Future

Link to: 21st Century Computing

As we start working on a strategic plan and speculating on what the threats and opportunites for the future will be, it’s fun to look back and see what has come of past speculations. Here is what some of the great futurists of 1989 predicted for computers by 2001.

The ultimate input tool, voice recognition could bring computers to almost every level of society. Many observers see it as inevitable by the year 2001. “You’ll talk to your TV set, and it’ll customize itself and pull things off the air in the categories you told it,” says Perlmutter, “‘Give me everything on Madonna, everything on Dan Quayle.’ It’ll look for that and grab it from the 2000 channels it’s scanning.”

No mention of blogging, but there’s this about the future of your morning newspaper:

A typical morning in the year 2001: You wake up, scan the custom newspaper that’s spilling from your fax, walk into the living room. There you speak to a giant screen on the wall, part of which instantly becomes a high-quality TV monitor. When you leave for work, you carry a smart wallet, a computer the size of a credit card. When you come home, you slip on special eyeglasses and stroll through a completely artificial world.

Your morning newspaper spewing forth from the fax machine; glad they were wrong about that one. (Thanks for the heads up to Waffle at

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