Seeing the future from the past

Mel Martin
M. Martin|12.30.08

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Mel Martin
December 30th, 2008
Seeing the future from the past
We'll be seeing a lot of predictions about the immediate future in the coming days. We're not immune here at TUAW and you'll likely get some predictions from your humble bloggers, but it is really interesting to look back and see how our current technology was (or was not) predicted in the past.

Here is a link to a talk by Nicholas Negroponte from 1984. At the time, Negroponte was head of the MIT Media Lab, and company CEOs were always taking their people there to see what the future might have to offer. This video is from the year the Macintosh appeared. Negroponte talked about touch screens, high resolution monitors, and the future of user interfaces. It is a fascinating presentation, and his predictions for the most part are right on target. It's almost 30 minutes long, but give it a try and I think you'll find it pretty eye-opening.

It isn't easy predicting the future. I remember seeing the General Motors film about the future done for the 1939 Worlds Fair in New York. Most of those predictions were wrong, and very 'Buck Rogers.' Robots doing housework, automated cars and a lot of other things that haven't come to pass, at least not yet.

Negroponte, who now is behind the One Laptop Per Child project, has had a very keen eye over time. Many of the things he predicted came to pass in products released by Apple, which have benefited users immensely.

[via Funky Space Monkey]
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