AT&T Predicted Our Future 20 Years Ago
Many companies in the ’90s tried to predict the future and attempted to make that future a reality. Some succeeded, but many failed to get those ideas off the ground floor. Other companies succeeded as well, but failed to popularize it since the tech was way before its time. Microsoft had a pretty great tablet back in 2002, but consumers didn’t think it would be necessary to use, and they had to wait almost 10 years until it came back:
Hell, a lot of these futuristic predictions and ideas came from Ray Kurzweil — whom we spoke of earlier this year in a feature about. But AT&T predicted things in a forgotten ad campaign that displayed future tech in 7 different ads that previewed what we have today.
Some of what the ads show is so close to what we have now that we wonder if AT&T have a time-traveler on its payroll — but probably not because they would’ve went back in time to prevent the Bell breakup case.
Have a look back at AT&T’s 1993-1994 ‘You Will’ Ad Campaign:
What did they get right?
- Online libraries
- Using wireless internet on your tablet on the beach
- GPS screens in your car
- Concert tickets on machines
- Tuck your baby in over the internet (Skype, Google Chat…)
- Video calling/lecturing/schooling/meeting
- Streaming movie services (Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc…)
- TED talks
- Unassisted grocery shopping (close, but not quite yet)
- Smartwatches (Jetson’s beat them, but this seems to be closer to reality)
- Conference calls for surgeries and medical diagnosis
- Online classes
- Automatic language translation through video/voice
- Monitor your home security through a smartphone or tablet
- Renew your driver’s license at a cash machine (at home, so it’s better)
- Fix your car with television assistance (Youtube has fixed my car and many other things)
- Have an online digital assistant (Siri, Google Now, Hound, Cortana…)
As you can see, they were pretty close on so many things that we use today. The GPS preview was especially close to what we have in our cars and on our phones. This ad campaign was the blueprint that every tech company has followed over the past 20 years, and watching all of what we have now in under 4 minutes really shows how far we’ve come to realizing that future. Now, let’s see how close we get to the predictions of the next 20 years.
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