AT&T predicted the future. Can Microsoft?

The past century was filled with optimistic predictions of how quickly technology would progress. Flying cars? Moon colonies? Robotic servants to free humanity of day-to-day drudgery? None of that's happened yet, much to our ancestors' chagrin. But for all those, there have been a few glimpses into the future that proved remarkably accurate — and surprisingly, they came not from IT visionaries, but from advertising firms. Fellow blogger Mark Hall previously looked at 1967's prediction of online shopping in 1999. Except for its chauvinism, today's e-commerce is not much different. More recently, AT&T made a series of commercials in 1993 which, despite being less than two decades past, is practically the Dark Ages compared to where we are today. (Recall that the World Wide Web was only four years old at the time.) Some technologies seen in the video , such as electronic toll collection services, were available even then; others are here today; a few still have not yet surfaced. It's otherwise

If an electronics company of the nineties can accurately predict life a decade later, will the same be true of today's looks at life a decade hence? That's what Microsoft is hoping with its look at the ubiquitousness of IT in 2019:

With the current state of the economy, it's hard to believe there will be anyone left in IT to develop these technologies. And even if we can introduce these devices into our lives — will it really make us happier? Or is it just another ad firm trying to sell us on our need for their client's products? For economic or scientific reasons, where do you see technology taking our culture? In the directions AT&T and Microsoft predict, or elsewhere? Let's hear your thoughts.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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