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Predictions of 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?
- “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” – Charles H. Duell, Head of the US patent Office in 1899
- “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
- “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).
- “… 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.
- “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.
- “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.
- “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.
- “Radio has no future.” – Lord Kelvin, Scottish mathematician and physicist, former president of the Royal Society, 1897.
- “Space travel is bunk.” – Sir Harold Spencer Jones, Astronomer Royal of the UK, 1957 (two weeks later Sputnik orbited the Earth).
- “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).
- “We stand on the threshold of rocket mail.” – U.S. postmaster general Arthur Summerfield, in 1959.
- “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.
- “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.
- “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.
- “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.
- “Very interesting Whittle, my boy, but it will never work.” – Cambridge Aeronautics Professor, when shown Frank Whittle’s plan for the jet engine.
- “The phonograph has no commercial value at all.” – Thomas Edison, American inventor, 1880s.
- “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” – Thomas J. Watson, 1943, Chairman of the Board of IBM
- “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
- “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.