It may be unwise to expose the foibles of my predilection for predictions,
but I'm nothing if not unwise.
- Phillips CD-i is already obsolete and will never succeed other than in
- Philips abandoned CD-i in 1998.
- Erasable CD's will be introduced in 1992 or 1993.
- I missed this one by a mile. CD-RW didn't
come out until 1997.
- By 1994 most new cameras will be digital.
- I was 4 or 5 years early on this one.
Although by 1996 a majority of professional photographers had gone digital.
- Rap will die out in two years.
- One can always dream.
- 18-inch satellite dishes will start showing up in 1994.
- I got this one right, just barely.
- By the end of 1995, SGI will have the largest base of installed computers
(by virtue of their CPUs being the standard for interactive TV interface
- Nope. In fact it will probably happen the
other way around: computers will replace set-top boxes and, eventually, TVs.
(When the Internet takes over the world you'll have a work computer and
an entertainment computer.)
- DTV (HDTV) sets will appear on the market in 1997, but won't be affordable
(under $1000) until 2002.
- By this time next year, K-band satellite dishes (DSS, DishNet etc., which
currently cost about $600) will be given away free when you sign up for the
service, like cellular phones are now.
- By the end of 1998 most CD-ROM drive makers will have switched to DVD-ROM
drives (that also read CD-ROMs). The last CD-ROM drive will be made in 1999.
I was way too optimistic.
- By 2002 we'll have dedicated "recipe book" computers that stick on your
kitchen wall and cost under $50.
- It will take 18 years (2014) to get "paperback book" computers that have
5" x 7" high-contrast color screens at 300 dpi.
- DVD video recording for consumers won't appear until 2001.
Right on the nose, as long as you don't count
Japan (which had it in December 1999).
- High-density DVD won't be on the market until 2004 at the earliest.
- 1/2005 (CES presentation)
- It will take at least 16 years* (after 2020) for typical American
consumers to switch from DVD and Blu-ray to digital downloads and streaming.
Consider that MP3 appeared around 1995 and ten years later digital music was
still far less than half the revenue or unit sales of CDs.
* What I
specifically said was "two generations," which is a nice fuzzy way to make a
prediction. If you consider a technology generation to be 7 to 10 years (BD
appeared 9 years after DVD) then 8 years is reasonable approximation for this
This is still at least 10 years out. U.S. digital music sales are
projected to finally pass
CD sales in 2012.)
- 1/2006 (Storage Visions presentation)
- There will be two more generations of optical media technology: blue laser
and then probably holographic.
(Update 2009: Nope, only one. I no longer
believe holographic storage or any other high-density optical storage format
will achieve mass market success. Blu-ray will be the last mainstream format.)
- Blu-ray will win the format war, but HD DVD may take a while to admit
Blu-ray won after HD DVD
capitulated much fast than I expected.
- Some day (maybe as soon as 2025) we'll say "remember when we used to have
to recharge our cell phones and cameras and wireless headsets?" I'm not sure
we'll have alternative power sources such as micro fuel cells or kinetic
dynamos to generate power from our walking and moving, but battery capacity
will have gone up so much and chips will be so much more efficient that
devices will run for months or years on one charge.
- Within 10 years we'll be able to talk to our cell phones in meaningful
ways. Today I can speak words for Google searches and phone number lookups.
Tomorrow I'll be able to say things like "The next time I'm at Ace Hardware,
remind me to get the house key copied," and the phone will set a
- Smart phones will become the repository of personal sensors. Today they
have GPS, accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometer (compass), photometer, and
cameras. Soon they'll have a fingerprint reader, pulse reader, thermometer,
pressure sensor (stand on your phone to use it as a scale?), galvanometer
(handy as a lie detector), laser or ultrasonic rangefinder, and a whole array
of cameras (for facial recognition, movement tracking, infrared motion
detection, and more). Eventually they'll montior your health by checking your
blood (dozens of apps for diabetics), breath (even more apps for alcohol and
halitosis), skin pH, bioelectrical impedance (body fat), metabolism,
brainwaves, and more. At some point one or more video cameras (some perhaps in
your watch or glasses or shoe and connected to the phone via Bluetooth 7.0)
will be on 24/7, keeping a permanent record of events or at least a temporary
record you can review and save your favorite excerpts from. At some point
sensors that today are sophisticated and expensive, such as a gas
chromatograph, mass spectrometer, ultrasonic sensor, and pheromone tester (pheremonemeter?)
will be mass-produced for cell phones.
Other People's Predictions
- "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as
a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us."
- -- Western Union internal memo
- 1902 (?)
- "In fifteen years more electricity will be sold for electric vehicles than
- -- Thomas Edison
- "The talking motion picture will not supplant the regular silent motion
picture.... There is such a tremendous investment in pantomime pictures that
it would be absurd to disturb it."
- -- Thomas Edison, in Munseys magazine
- "There will never be speaking pictures."
- -- D.W. Griffith, cinema pioneer
- "Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau."
- -- Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University
- "Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons."
- -- Popular Mechanics
- "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, President of the Motion Picture Association of America,
testifying on videocassette recorders before the U.S. House Judiciary
- One billion people on the Internet by the year 2000.
- -- Nicholas
Negroponte, Director of MIT Media Lab
- The 40 million worldwide users of the Internet today will reach over 200
million by 1999.
- -- International Data Corporation
- In August 1981 there were 213 known Internet servers; as of July 1995
there were 6,642,000. By the year 2000 there will be approximately 101 million
- -- Network Wizards
- More than 8 million subscribers to the Microsoft Network by 1999, and over
26 million total online subscribers. Online sales will reach $24.1 billion in
1999, a 75% increase over 1994. More than 500 million people on the Internet.
- -- SIMBA Information Inc.
- The total online community--including those with both a direct Net
connection and access via an online service--should skyrocket to 12 million by
- -- O'Reilly & Associates and
Trish Information Services
- "I'm an optimist. I think in three years in the U.S. we'll have millions
of people connected up through ISDN and cable modems."
- -- Bill Gates, Chairman and CEO of
- Internet stocks will crash by July 1996. (They suggested a put
option on Inter@ctive
Week Internet Index counting on a drop from 240 to below 150, for a profit
of over 200%.)
- -- Personal Finance Newsletter
- They got it wrong: on July 10 the index
was up to 245. If you had followed their advice you would have lost money.
- Jim's Prediction (1/95): Internet stocks will crash, but not very hard and
long after July 1995.
- I was right, unless you count the 200 "dot
com crash" as hard.
- DVD sales will reach 3 million in the first year. 120 million DVD-ROM
drives by the year 2000.
- -- Toshiba
- DVD sales will reach 1 million in the first year.
- -- Sony
- 25 million DVD-ROM drives by the year 2000, at which time CD-ROM drives
will still sell more than DVD-ROM drives.
- -- Philips
- Jim's Prediction (1/96): Almost no one will be making CD-ROM drives in the
- Oops, I was about 3 years too early on
04 Apr 2011