View Full Version : Technology Predictions Are Mostly Bunk

12-28-2009, 01:18 PM
'Tis the season for predictions, so "Information Age" bravely goes out on this limb: Most technology predictions for 2010 won't come true. The more we learn about how innovation happens, the less straight the lines of advance look.

"Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope for further developments," said Roman engineer Julius Sextus Frontinus in 10 A.D. This end-of-progress view has been echoed many times, including by Charles Duell, commissioner for the U.S. Patent Office, who in 1899 said, "Everything that can be invented has already been invented."

It's worth recalling, especially in a gloomy year like the one drawing to an end, that the opposite is true: The more we invent, the more we invent. Knowledge grows on itself.

So here are the rest of my Top 10 Worst Technology Predictions, which prove that when it comes to tech, optimism pays:

"The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys," Sir William Preece, chief engineer at the British Post Office, 1878.

"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" H.M. Warner, Warner Bros., 1927.

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers," Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943. ...link (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704039704574616401913653862.html?m od=rss_opinion_main)