‘The internet? We won’t be talking about it in a year’: here are the most false tech predictions in history

What will our world look like in 50 years? Will we spend our time in the metaverse? Will we travel in flying cars? Are we going on vacation to a distant planet? Will we be ruled by artificial intelligence? It is not so easy to predict what will be the next technological revolutions that will shake humanity. Some, even luminaries of innovation, have tried it. And they got it very badly! Here are some of the worst predictions on the matter.

1. The car

Let us first go back in time to 1903. A certain Henry Ford then hears from his banker, the president of the Michigan Savings Bank, who refuses to give him a loan: “the automobile is only a fancy, a passing fad, while the horse is there to stay.” Lost.

2. Cinema and television

A few years later, it was the inventor of cinematography himself, Louis Lumière, who declared: “The talking cinema is a very interesting invention, but I doubt it will remain fashionable for long. »

Likewise, note the doubts expressed by producer Darryl F. Zanuck about the future of television. Thus, he declared in 1946: “No market will cling to television for more than six months. People will quickly tire of looking at a plywood box every night.”

3. Computer and Internet

Let’s continue the thread of the history of technology, with the invention of the computer in 1946. Three years ago, the president of IBM Thomas J. Watson evoked this electronic invention in these terms: “I think there is a market for maybe five computers in the whole world . You should see the bigger Mr. Watson! The American businessman is far from the only one who has been captivated by the potential of technology. Thus, engineer Ken Olsen saw in 1977 “no reason for an individual to want a computer at home, at home . »

Also shortly after, many people predicted the fall of the… internet. Like Robert Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet. He assured in 1995 that “the Internet will be the big new thing this year and it will fall in 1996”. The famous economist Paul Krugman gave him a little more opportunity. According to him: “Most people have nothing to say to each other! So by 2005 or so, we will see that the Internet has had no greater impact on our economy than the fax machine.” Still missing.

4. Smart phones

After computers, mobile phones have come to turn our daily lives upside down. However, they too had their share of (celebrity) critics. Martin Cooper, for example. However, it was he who invented the first mobile phone in 1973. And a few years later, he confidently stated that “mobile telephony will never replace landline telephony”. Andy Grove, also the CEO of Intel, assessed in 1992 that “the idea of ​​everyone having a personal communicator in itself is a chimera borne of greed”.

Despite everything, everyone ended up having their “personal communicator”. And in recent years, smartphones have taken (a lot of) precedence over cell phones. In this regard, we will remember this iconic sentence of 2007 uttered by Steve Ballmer, then CEO of Microsoft: “there is no chance that the iPhone will take any significant market share. None. »

Never mind, Steve Jobs himself wasn’t always the most visionary. “The subscription music sales model is guaranteed bankruptcy,” the Apple founder claimed in 2003, referring to the Deezer and Spotify platforms.

The moral of the story? Be careful next time you make a prediction. Because remember this: no, we are not always on horseback!

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