“Prediction is very difficult,” Nobel laureate and physicist Niels Bohr once said, “especially if it’s about the future.” If you somehow doubt the wisdom of those words, do yourself a favor and check out the Media Futures Archive, run by David Donnelly, a media consultant and communications professor at the University of Houston. The site is a great resource for forecasts about media and technology. It also includes a lengthy list of prognostications that didn’t quite pan out. Among my favorites:

“The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.”

–Sir William Preece, chief engineer of Britain’s General Post Office, 1876.



“I believe that the motion picture is destined to revolutionize our educational system and that in a few years it will supplant largely, if not entirely, the use of textbook.”

–Thomas Edison, 1922.



“I think there is a world market for about five computers.”

–Thomas Watson Sr., founder of IBM, 1943.



“Computers in the future may have only 1,000 vacuum tubes and perhaps only weigh 1 1/2 tons.”

–Popular Mechanics, 1949.



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