– Christopher Booker, Telegraph, 10 Sept 2011
And now – some previous wonderful predictions about technology:
‘I also lay aside all ideas of any new works or engines of war, the invention of which long-ago reached its limit, and in which I see no hope for further improvement…’
– Sextus Julius Frontinus, governor of Britania, 84 C.E.
‘Men might as well project a voyage to the Moon as attempt to employ steam navigation against the stormy North Atlantic Ocean.’
– Dr. Dionysus Lardner (1793-1859), Professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy at University College, London.
‘There is a young madman proposing to light the streets of London—with what do you suppose—with smoke!’
– Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) [On a proposal to light cities with gaslight.]
‘What can be more palpably absurd than the prospect held out of locomotives traveling twice as fast as stagecoaches?’
– The Quarterly Review, England (March 1825)
‘Well informed people know it is impossible to transmit the voice over wires and that were it possible to do so, the thing would be of no practical value.’
– Editorial in the Boston Post (1865)
‘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 memo, 1876
‘Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.’
– Lord Kelvin (1824-1907), ca. 1895, British mathematician and physicist
‘The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty.’
– The president of Michigan Savings bank, advising Henry Ford’s lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Company in 1903
‘That the automobile has practically reached the limit of its development is suggested by the fact that during the past year no improvements of a radical nature have been introduced.’
– Scientific American, Jan. 2, 1909.
‘Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.’
– Marshal Ferdinand Foch, French military strategist, 1911. He was later a World War I commander.
‘Radio has no future.’
– Lord Kelvin (1824-1907), British mathematician and physicist, ca. 1897.
‘Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?’
– HM Warner, Warner Bros, 1927, on the talking motion picture
While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially I consider it an impossibility, a development of which we need waste little time dreaming.
– Lee DeForest, 1926 (American radio pioneer and inventor of the vacuum tube.)
‘There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom wojld ahve to be shattered at will’.
– Albert Einstein, 1932
‘The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives.’
– Admiral William Leahy, on the US atomic bomb project.
‘There is no reason why anyone would want a computer in their home’
– Ken Olssen, Digital Equipment Corp., 1977
‘If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can’t be done.’
– Peter Ustinov