Now we are well into the 21st Century, it's easy to forget that the I.T. age is only just 60yrs old. In this time there have been many far-seeing predictions, and quite a few that have been seriously wide of the mark! "Close, but no cigar" is generally funnier than accuracy (with 20-20 hindsight, anyway), so here's a few from the former camp:-
- "Where a calculator on the Eniac is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1000 vacuum tubes and perhaps weigh 1.5 tons."
Popular Mechanics, March 1949
- "I think there's a world market for about five computers."
Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1952
- "I have travelled the length and breadth of this country, and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year."
Business books editor, Prentice Hall company, 1957
- "But what is it good for?"
Anonymous engineer, IBM advanced computing systems division, commenting on the microchip 1968
- "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home."
Ken Olsen, President of DEC, 1977
- "640k ought to be enough for anybody."
Bill Gates, 1981
- "The next generation of interesting software will be done on Macintosh, not the IBM PC."
Bill Gates, 1984
- "We don't see Windows as a long-term graphical interface for the masses."
Lotus Development official, 1989
- "It's pretty simple to go find the place that they compare dates. You don't compare dates that many places in a program. It's in very, very few places."
Bill Gates solves the Y2K problem, May 1997
And don't forget!
- "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke's Third Law, 1945
- "Not even computers will replace committees, because committees buy computers."
Edward Shepherd Mead, Wall Street Journal, 1964
- "Computers are useless. They can only give you answers."
Pablo Picasso, 1968
- "A computer lets you make mistakes faster than any other invention in human history, with the possible exception of handguns and tequila."
D.W. McArthur, 1987
- "There are two major products that came out of Berkeley: LSD and Unix. We don't believe this to be a coincidence."
Jeremy S. Anderson, 1988
- "Unix is snake-oil."
Ken Olsen, President of DEC, 1988
- "We were profitable for about an hour in December 1995, but it was probably a mistake."
Amazon.com chief executive Jeff Bezos, March 1999
- "You have zero privacy now. Get over it."
Scott McNealy, Sun Microsystems chief executive, July 1999
Quotes sourced from Computing, The IT Newspaper