Friday, January 16, 2009

Even More Silly Futurist Quotes about technology

Again - it is great fun to think of what concepts of today that might be getting the cold shoulder from so-called experts, but are going to be reality in the future? Teleportation? Food synthesizers? Time Travel? Climate Change? Designer babies? Human cloning? Self-replicating Nanobytes? Wireless electricity? Hmmm...


"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." - Western Union internal memo, 1876

"What use could this company make of an electrical toy?"Western Union president William Orton, rejecting Bell’s offer to sell his struggling telephone company for $100,000.

"The horse is here to stay, but the auto is only a novelty -- a fad." - President of the Michigan Savings Bank, 1903

"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895

"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" - David Sarnoff's associates, in response to his urgings for investment in radio in the 1920's

"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?"- Harry M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927

"TV won't be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first 6 months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night."- Darryl F. Zanuck, head of 20th Century Fox, 1946

"Where a calculator on the ENIAC is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1,000 vacuum tubes and perhaps weigh 1-1/2 tons."- Popular Mechanics, 1949

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." - Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp. 1977

"The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible."- A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)

"Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau." - Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.

"Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction" - Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872.

1 comment:

Building Place said...

Great post! It is amazing how far we've come in such a short time.

A friend in the computer industry told me back in the mid-1980s that "someday we will be wearing our computer, with a hand-held control." Unfortunately, he didn't live to see the Apple iPhone, but he had the right idea way back when.