Some truly great prophecies from the past
Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.
Popular Mechanics, Forecasting
the relentless march of Science, 1949.
I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.
Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM,
But what . . . is good for?
Engineer at the Advanced
Computing Systems Division, 1968, commenting on the microchip.
I have traveled the length and breadth of the country
and talked to the best people and I can assure you that data processing
is a fad that won't last but a year.
The editor in charge business
books for Prentice Hall, 1957.
640K ought to be enough for anybody.
Bill Gates, 1981.
There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their
Ken Olson, President, Chairman,
and Founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.
The commercial market for computers will never exceed
a half-dozen in the U.S.
Howard Aiken, 1945.
Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?
H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.
This "telephone" has too many shortcomings to be seriously
considered as a means of communication. This device is inherently of no
value to us.
Western Union internal memo, 1876.
The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value.
Who would pay for a message send to nobody in particular?
David Sarnoff's associates in response
to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920's.
We believe that no particular use is made of the fluid petroleum, from the "tar springs"
of California, except as a lotion for bruises and rheumatic affections. It has a repugnant
odor, and although it can be made to burn with a pretty good light, its smell is
offensive. This, perhaps, maybe obviated by distilling it with some acid; we believe that
this is not impossible in this age of advanced chemistry. If the offensive odor could be
removed, a valuable and profitable business might be carried on in manufacturing burning fluid from it.
Scientific American, May 1857
- Communications of the ACM 42(November 1999), pp. 11-14.
- Scientific American May 2007, p. 18 .
Any additional items of such a nature, together with
a reasonable, verifiable source, will be welcomed.