iPhone, TV, Internet: Scientists’ predictions are wrong – 11/04/2023 – Tec

To predict, according to the dictionary, is to declare by revelation, to find out, to imagine by understanding or to imagine something that will happen.

Although common sense would say that it is not recommended to do so, foresight is necessary in all aspects of life: decisions have some view of the future.

But as physicist Neils Bohr said, “predictions are very difficult, especially about the future.”

And when the voice is trusted to predict what will happen and fail, they never forget.

Let’s say it’s because some lessons can be learned from the list of mistakes. But, to be honest, all predictions are still fun.

Recently, for example, an article published 120 years ago, in October 1903, by the American newspaper The New York Times (NYT), is one of the most respected and accepted world currency, has been announced.

The theme is “Flying machines that don’t fly.” In the last line, the author concludes:

“…One can imagine that a flying machine could be developed with the integration and extension of mathematics and mechanics in a million to 10 million years.”

Then, six weeks later, on December 17, the Wright brothers made the first flight in a heavier-than-air plane.

To be fair, the author of the article commented on the failed attempts he had seen.

However he was known, he was not a great physicist and inventor, like William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, who in 1895 announced that “planes are heavier than air” easy.”

In fact, Lord Kelvin is one of the classics of the art of prediction.

In 1897 he concluded that “radio has no future” and in 1900 assured his scientists that “X-ray is a fraud.”

It is at the beginning of a revolution that will bring unimaginable technology.

Below, we’ve compiled a collection of predictions about some of the most common uses today.

‘The wooden box’

Lee DeForest, a radio engineer and inventor with more than 180 patents, said “Although television may be theoretically and technically possible, commercially and financially it is impossible,” said Lee DeForest. .

However, the idea of ​​seeing images from a distance has a long history, and in the 1920s the idea became a reality.

There is no one “inventor” of television. Many “experimenters”, business people and public organizations are involved.

When the device was completed, a presentation was made to the media and the public.

In 1939, the NYT published an article titled “Act I, Scene I: Domestic Broadcasts Begin April 30. World’s Fair Will Be the Setting” by Orrin E. Dunlap Jr., a broadcaster.

In his opinion…

“The problem with television is that people have to sit down and keep their eyes fixed on the screen; the average American family doesn’t have time for that.”

A similar theory was expressed in 1946 by Darryl Zanuck, the founder of the studio 20th Century Fox:

“TV won’t keep the audience. People will quickly get bored of watching a plywood box every night.”

According to their predictions, television has become an important part of the daily life of many Americans and the rest of the world.

Today, nearly 80% of Americans watch television every day. A person watches about 141 hours of TV per month or 1,692 hours per year, on average.

Suppose you reach an average life expectancy of 78 years, which is equal to 15 years of your life.

And all this is only in the United States, where people “must not have time for this.”

‘The supernova’

Like television, the internet was created with the time and labor of many people.

And it is the World Wide Web that makes it accessible to everyone.

Although it has been there for a few years, it was in 1995 that the internet began to take hold again.

Mixed reactions. Among the skeptics, astrophysicist Clifford Stoll stands out, who in his book “Silicon Snake Oil” predicts:

“I don’t think that phone books, newspapers, magazines or video stores will disappear with the spread of computers. I also don’t think that my phone will combined with my computer to make some kind of material.”

But the most hopeful comes from internet leader Robert Metcalfe, billionaire inventor of Ethernet technology and founder of 3Com Corporation.

In a classic article published in December 1995 in InfoWorld, he wrote:

“Almost all the predictions made now until the year 1996 depend on the continued expansion of the internet. But I predict that the internet (…) will soon go into the beautiful supernova and the year 1996 will explode.”

And he didn’t stop there: he promised to eat his words about the collapse of the internet if the “supernova” prediction was wrong.

In 1997, during the World Wide Web conference in Santa Clara, California, Metcalfe confirmed that the internet is not a supernova.

Since he promised to eat his own words, he tried to do so by eating a large cake decorated to resemble his InfoWorld column.

But the audience blamed him: he would not have gone so easily.

Metcalfe had to tear off the InfoWorld column, put it in the washing machine with some water to make it into the body, and eat it.

Despite the sight, not everyone has learned their lesson and said to predict the end of the web.

Just a year later, and referring to the law called Metcalfe, the economist Paul Krugman expected it to die soon.

“The growth of the Internet will be slow because the downside of ‘Metcalfe’s Law’ is clear: most people have nothing to say to each other!” than fax.”

Not only that, but this prediction appeared in an article published by the technology magazine Red Herring. Title: “Why Most Economists’ Predictions Are Wrong” (no joke).

Although he did not have to eat his words, he got a place in this peculiar pantheon of fame.


“A cell phone will never replace a corded phone.”

Obviously it is a wrong teaching.

What is interesting is that the person who said this in 1981 was none other than the inventor of the cell phone, Marty Cooper, who made the first call with the device in New York, in 1973.

And about the phone…

“There’s no way the iPhone is going to get mainstream,” former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told USA Today in 2007.

“No chance,” he added. “They can make money. But if you really look at the 1.3 billion phones sold, I’d rather have our software in 60%, 70%, 80% of them than have Apple’s 2% or 3% .

Given that the iPhone will become the greatest technology product of all time, this is one of the worst predictions in history.

This article was originally published here.

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