The following is a small selection of my favorite quotes from people in the past on their visions of the future. I cannot take credit for any research involved, i just compiled my favorites from a selection of scattered blogs.
'Everything that can be invented has been invented.'
Charles H. Duell, an official at the US patent office, 1899.
'I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.' Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.
'If anything remains more or less unchanged, it will be the role of women.'
David Riesman, conservative American social scientist, 1967.
'Remote shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop - because women like to get out of the house, like to handle merchandise, like to be able to change their minds.'
TIME, 1966, in one sentence writing off e-commerce long before anyone had ever heard of it.
'There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.' Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.
'Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote.' Grover Cleveland, U.S. President, 1905.
'i am tired of all this sort of thing called science here... We have spent millions in that sort of thing for the last few years, and it is time it should be stopped.'
Simon Cameron, U.S. Senator, on the Smithsonian Institute, 1901.
'Where a calculator on the ENIAC is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1,000 vacuum tubes and weigh only 1.5 tons.' Popular Mechanics, 1949
'The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.' Sir William Preece, chief engineer of the British Post Office, 1876.
'The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?' David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.