Unexpectedly Intriguing!
September 24, 2009

Crystal Ball If you were in the public prediction making business back in 1993, could you have accurately predicted where technology would go? Or described where technological change would take us a little over 16 years later?

Now, what if you were part of the marketing team for AT&T? What are the odds that you could reasonably describe what the world of tomorrow would look like in the early days of the World Wide Web?

And what if you committed that vision to a series of television advertisements narrated by Tom Selleck?

We here at Political Calculations are pleased to bring you, via Robot Dreams, via Core77, the future according to AT&T's advertising team of 1993!

We wondered what other predictions made in 1993 might be happening today. Here are three of the more amazing ones:

Michael Crichton, Vindicated

Jack Shafer writes:

In 1993, novelist Michael Crichton riled the news business with a Wired magazine essay titled "Mediasaurus," in which he prophesied the death of the mass media—specifically the New York Times and the commercial networks. "Vanished, without a trace," he wrote.

The mediasaurs had about a decade to live, he wrote, before technological advances—"artificial intelligence agents roaming the databases, downloading stuff I am interested in, and assembling for me a front page"—swept them under. Shedding no tears, Crichton wrote that the shoddy mass media deserved its deadly fate.

The Clash of Civilizations?

Samuel Phillips Huntington (born April 18, 1927) is a political scientist known for his analysis of the relationship between the military and the civil government, his investigation of coup d'etats and his thesis that 'the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.' [Source: EconomicExpert.com]

The Coming Technological Singularity

Vernor Vinge (pronounced VIN-jee, rhyming with 'stingy') (born February 10, 1944) is a mathematician, computer scientist and science fiction author who is best known for his Hugo award-winning novel A Fire Upon the Deep and this 1993 essay, in which he predicts an imminent acceleration of progress caused by increasing speed of computers and developments in artificial intelligence. [Source: EconomicExpert.com]


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