A common theme in innovation is how much uncertainty there is about innovations that will be achieved in the future and, in particular, about their value. The classic reference is this piece by Nathan Rosenberg that documents many cases where people got it wrong.

The flip-side are situations where the future was well anticipated. For your lunchtime viewing, here are some examples.

The first has been making the rounds over the last 24 hours due to Apple’s Siri assistant announcement.

I particularly love how this one combines a new technology with a social context (including sharing of lecture materials between academics). Of course, most of what is in that video is not with us yet.

The same cannot be said for the set of commercials from 1993 by AT&T.

They got almost everything right and only one, very obvious thing, wrong.

Of course, Apple’s tablet vision look a little different in the 1990s.

That notion of search of course went to Google.

Finally, here is an anticipation of something that looks like an iPad that could be used to revolutionise newspapers.

The writing was apparently clearly on the wall in 1995 as well as how this would play out.

And if you had any doubts about how some people can just see what’s going to happen, check out this 2002 review of the iPod when it was just launched. Simply astounding.

One Response to Lunchtime videos: anticipating the future

  1. Andrew Boysen (@boysenandrew) says:

    Was the really obviously wrong thing from the AT&T commercials that they would be the ones to bring it to us? My first guess was the faxing, or electronic medical records, until I realized they were saying AT&T would give us all of that.

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