Every once in a while we like to roll up a list of short-sighted or otherwise ridiculous comments and predictions regarding technology that underscore just how far mankind has come over the years, sometimes in spite of ourselves. There's no question that the possibilities are virtually limitless when it comes to technology but it's always fun to poke a snarky finger at some folks that took a long reach at the future that shouldn't have been made or provided commentary on technology that perhaps they weren't qualified to comment on.
So here goes. What's your favorite? We think Dvorvak took the prize to a certain extent just because he decided to drone on in great detail about something that we now know flew completely in the face of his assessment and ultimately changed the face of computing.
- Everything that can be invented has been invented. - Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899
- Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.- Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895
- The modern computer hovers between the obsolescent and the nonexistent. - Sydney Brenner in 1927
- I think there is a world market for maybe five computers. - IBM Chairman Thomas Watson, 1943
- Computers in the future may have only 1,000 vacuum tubes and perhaps only weigh 1 1/2 tons. - Popular Mechanics, 1949
- I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year. The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957
- But what... is it good for?
An engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, commenting on the microchip in 1968.
- Get your feet off my desk, get out of here, you stink, and we're not going to buy your product. Joe Keenan, President of Atari, in 1976 responding to Steve Jobs' offer to sell him rights to the new personal computer he and Steve Wozniak developed.
- There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home. - Ken Olson (President of Digital Equipment Corporation) at the Convention of the World Future Society in Boston in 1977
- No one will need more than 637 kb of memory for a personal computer. 640K ought to be enough for anybody. - Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, in 1981
- I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone. Jack Valenti, MPAA president, testimony to the House of Representatives, 1982
- The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a 'mouse.' There is no evidence that people want to use these things. What businessman knows about point sizes on typefaces or the value of variable point sizes ? Who out there in the general marketplace even knows what a 'font' is ? The whole concept and attitude towards icons and hieroglyphs is actually counterrevolutionary — it's a language that is hardly 'user friendly'. This type of machine was developed by hardware hackers working out of Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center. It has yet to find popular success. There seems to be some mysterious user resistance to this type of machine.- John C. Dvorak on why the Macintosh would fail, San Francisco Examiner, 1984
- Two years from now, spam will be solved. - Bill Gates, World Economic Forum 2004
- The Internet is a great way to get on the Net. - Bob Dole
- Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former. - Albert Einstein
Right on, Albert. Right on.