Tech Predictions – how wrong can they be!

I came across an interesting article on the ten dumbest tech predictions. It starts with Steve Balmer’s comment in 2008 on Google Android and the future of apps. He said, “Let’s look at the facts. Nobody uses these things..”. How wrong was he; only after 3 years we see hundreds of applications written on Google Android. Let me list some of the dumbest tech. predictions for your entertainment.

  1. “This telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication”. – Western Union internal memo back in 1876.
  2. “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers”. – Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943
  3. “The world potential for copying machines is 5000 most”. – IBM executives to eventual founders of Xerox
  4. “Do not bother to sell your gas shares. The electric light has no future”. – Professor John Henry pepper, celebrity Victorian scientist, 1870
  5. “The problem of TV was that people had to glue their eyes to a screen, and that the average American won’t have time for it”. – New York Times, 1939
  6. “TV’s won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night”. – Darryl Zanuck, 20th. Century Fox, 1946
  7. “I say to you that the VCR is to American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman at home alone”. – Jack Valenti, MPAA President’s testimony to the House of Representatives, 1982
  8. “The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to no one in particular?” – Associates of David Sarnoff responding to the latter’s call for investment in Radio in 1921
  9. “Where a calculator on the ENIAC is equipped with  18000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers of the future may have only 1000 vacuum tubes and weigh 1.5 tons”. – Popular Mechanics, March 1949
  10. This one from Steve Jobs speaking to Rolling Stones in 2003 – “The subscription model of buying music is bankrupt. I think you could make available the Second Coming in a subscription model and it might not be successful”.

If these are any indications of our ability to predict the future, we better pay attention to the naysayers of today about emerging technologies. I even remember back in early 1980s, Bill Gates predicting that no PC would need more than 64Kb of memory! And we have seen what Moore’s law has done to that economics. The full article can be found here.


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