Top 10 Worst Technology Predictions of All Time

Actually, this isn’t my list so I can’t in good conscience copy the entire thing here, but you can read it on the WSJ website right here: “Technology Predictions Are Mostly Bunk” by L. Gordon Crovitz and published in today’s opinion pages (at least online).

I suppose my favorite of the bunch is the Bill Gates’ from 1981: “No one will need more than 637 kb of memory for a personal computer—640K ought to be enough for anybody.”

However, the quote from Sir William Preece, chief engineer at the British Post Office back in 1878, gets points, too, for revealing both a bad technology prediction and a bit of cultural flavor: “The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.”

Click on over and read the rest of the list, as well as some praise for Arthur C. Clarke’s rather impressive forecasts.

4 thoughts on “Top 10 Worst Technology Predictions of All Time

  1. Craig

    Glaringly absent from this list are the numerous predictions in the past of the impending demise of Apple and failure of its products.

    Matthew Lynn on Bloomberg on Jan. 15, 2007 wrote an article: “Apple iPhone Will Fail…” He stated:

    “The big competitors in the mobile-phone industry such as Nokia Oyj and Motorola Inc. won’t be whispering nervously into their clamshells over a new threat to their business.

    “The iPhone is nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks. In terms of its impact on the industry, the iPhone is less relevant.

    “Apple will sell a few to its fans, but the iPhone won’t make a long-term mark on the industry.”

    Motorola who?

  2. Good catch, Mr. Marley, except that I don’t think that those comments rise to the level of most in this list.

    And, given your penchant for Apple/iPhone worship (he says, tongue in cheek), let me add that as much as I love my iPhone, having had it for some time I have a few comments on my own. For instance, I can understand why some very reasonable people don’t like it. There are better phones out there for different purposes to be sure, so it is understandable why the iPhone has not “taken over” in a Borgian fashion. Personally, I really enjoy mine, but I find many things about it annoying — most of which are driven by Apple’s increasingly antiquated mindset (focused on sales & market instead of user wants) which not only prevents the iPhone from being the true “handheld computer” it is often mistakenly called, but which will have to change one day if Apple is to remain a viable competitor.

    So, again, as much as I love my iPhone, I am seriously keeping an eye on the up-and-coming competitors (Droid, et al.).

  3. Steve

    I like the movie, “Megalopolis,” produced sometime around the turn of the last century. Everybody would be flying their own bi-planes to work at 200 story buildings.

    I’m still waiting for my personal jet pack. Sure would be handy.

    And what about the new stuff? 300 million Americans driving “green” cars fed by corn stalks? Hah!

  4. Apple is a paradigm bender so they can be hard to predict. …and secretive.

    Alvin Toffler had some wild ideas.

    I’m still waiting for the autonomous car.

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