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Predictions of the future

The future ?

The future ?

If the great and the good have difficulty in seeing what lays beyond the next corner, what hope is there for us mere bloggers?

  1. “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” – Charles H. Duell, Head of the US patent Office in 1899
  2. “Remote shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop – because women like to get out of the house, like to handle merchandise, like to be able to change their minds.” – Time Magazine 1966
  3. “Man will not fly for 50 years.” – Wilbur Wright, American aviation pioneer, to brother Orville, after a disappointing flying experiment, 1901 (their first successful flight was in 1903).
  4. “… good enough for our transatlantic friends … but unworthy of the attention of practical or scientific men.” – British Parliamentary Committee, referring to Edison’s light bulb, 1878.
  5. “The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty, a fad.” – The president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford’s lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Co., 1903.
  6. “There will never be a bigger plane built.” – A Boeing engineer, after the first flight of the 247, a twin engine plane that held ten people.
  7. “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” – Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC), maker of big business mainframe computers, arguing against the PC in 1977.
  8. “Radio has no future.” – Lord Kelvin, Scottish mathematician and physicist, former president of the Royal Society, 1897.
  9. “Space travel is bunk.” – Sir Harold Spencer Jones, Astronomer Royal of the UK, 1957 (two weeks later Sputnik orbited the Earth).
  10. “Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever.” – Thomas Edison, American inventor, 1889 (Edison often ridiculed the arguments of competitor George Westinghouse for AC power).
  11. “We stand on the threshold of rocket mail.” – U.S. postmaster general Arthur Summerfield, in 1959.
  12. “There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.” – Albert Einstein, 1932.
  13. “The cinema is little more than a fad. It’s canned drama. What audiences really want to see is flesh and blood on the stage.” – Charlie Chaplin, actor, producer, director, and studio founder, 1916.
  14. “The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.” – Sir William Preece, Chief Engineer, British Post Office, 1878.
  15. “Transmission of documents via telephone wires is possible in principle, but the apparatus required is so expensive that it will never become a practical proposition.” – Dennis Gabor, British physicist and author of Inventing the Future, 1962.
  16. “Very interesting Whittle, my boy, but it will never work.” – Cambridge Aeronautics Professor, when shown Frank Whittle’s plan for the jet engine.
  17. “The phonograph has no commercial value at all.” – Thomas Edison, American inventor, 1880s.
  18. “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” – Thomas J. Watson, 1943, Chairman of the Board of IBM
  19. “No one will need more than 637 kb of memory for a personal computer. 640K ought to be enough for anybody.” – Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, in 1981
  20. “There’s just not that many videos I want to watch,” lamented Steve Chen, a co-founder of YouTube, in March 2005. At the time YouTube featured about 50 videos. Less than two years later, on November 13 2006, Google acquired YouTube for US$1.65 billion in Google stock.
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