13 Predictions About Technology That Were Extremely Wrong
There's an urban legend that Bill Gates once said, "640-K ought to be enough for anybody."
But just because he wasn't shortsighted enough to say something that ridiculous doesn't mean other people haven't whiffed on some pretty big ones. Let's start the week with some of the most failed attempts at playing Nostradamus.
1. "What can be more palpably absurd than the prospect held out of locomotives traveling twice as fast as stagecoaches?"
—The Quarterly Review, March, 1825
2. "A rocket will never be able to leave the Earth's atmosphere."
—New York Times, 1930
3. "There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share."
—USA Today, 2007
4. "With over fifteen types of foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn't likely to carve out a big share of the market for itself."
5. "The coming of the wireless era will make war impossible, because it will make war ridiculous."
—Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of the radio
6. "Well-informed people know that it is impossible to transmit the human voice over wires as may be done with dots and dashes of Morse code, and that, were it possible to do so, the thing would be of no practical value."
—Unidentified Boston Newspaper in the 1800s
7. “The phonograph has no commercial value at all.”
8. "People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.”
—Daryl Zanuck, 20th Century Fox Exec
9. "The time has come to close the book on infectious diseases. We have basically wiped out infection in the United States.”
—William Stewart, US Surgeon General, 1967
10. “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”
—Ken Olson in Snopes, 1977
11. “I predict the Internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse.”
—Robert Metcalfe, inventor of Ethernet 1995
12. "Y2K is a crisis without precedent in human history.”
—Byte Magazine, 1998