Sometimes we should be less confident about our predictions

This is really funny:

By Erik Sandberg-Diment
Published: December 8, 1985
The New York Times

Note the date. Then check out the prediction:

The limitations come from what people actually do with computers, as opposed to what the marketers expect them to do. On the whole, people don’t want to lug a computer with them to the beach or on a train to while away hours they would rather spend reading the sports or business section of the newspaper. Somehow, the microcomputer industry has assumed that everyone would love to have a keyboard grafted on as an extension of their fingers. It just is not so. … the real future of the laptop computer will remain in the specialized niche markets. Because no matter how inexpensive the machines become, and no matter how sophisticated their software, I still can’t imagine the average user taking one along when going fishing.

Ah, how certain we sometimes are that we know what’s on the way up or the way down! I especially like the mention of how people would rather read the newspaper. The newspaper! Remember those? They were those paper things that got ink all over your fingers as you spread their pages out over the entire table trying to find the second half of the story you were reading. So inconvenient, in so many ways!

Remind me not to make public predictions about, oh, future trends in YA genre fiction or whatever.

But if I do, I hope I’ll remember to look back in thirty years and see whether I got anything wrong or was totally, totally off base.

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