The danger of predicting the future is that it’s usually wrong.
In 1995, Newsweek printed this about the Internet:
1. “The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works”.9 (Newsweek printed its last issue in 2013)
But technology that solves a problem, or just makes things more convenient, takes off with consumers in ways and to degrees that even their inventors can’t imagine.
2. The man who invented Ethernet predicted the catastrophic demise of the Internet would be in 1996.6
3. “Cellular phones will absolutely not replace local wire systems.” — Marty Cooper, built first mobile cell phone.8
4. “No one will need more than 637KB of memory for a personal computer. 640KB ought to be enough for anybody.” –Bill Gates, co-founder and chairman of Microsoft10
5. “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.” –Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corp.10
6. “There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio service inside the United States.” –T. Craven, FCC Commissioner
Search the web for “the future of payments”, and you will find many conflicting predictions of what currency, medium, and methods will be used to conduct transactions in the near future. Most of them also predict that their particular platform or process or e-wallet or other solution is where most transactions will occur by 2020.
Why? Because there’s a lot of money to be made as a middleman. Just shave a percentage off each transaction as your cut, and next thing you know, you’re PayPal. By the way, in 2016 PayPal had almost $3 billion in revenue4, so that tells you how much money is at stake for just one player in a large industry. The old-line banking and credit card institutions don’t want change, because they are so heavily invested in today’s solution.
Look at these examples of dominant companies in their markets – at that time – and their predictions:
7. “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication.” — William Orton, President of Western Union.8
8. “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.” — Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO.8
9. “Television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.” — Darryl Zanuck, 20th Century Fox.8
And then there’s the sensationalism borne from every so-called expert trying to drown out the next:
10. In a 1998 issue of BYTE magazine, Edmund DeJesus made the claim that “[Y2K] is a crisis without precedent in human history.”6
Predictions for 2020:
What will the future hold in only a few years? Here are some predictions for 2020:
- Cryptocurrencies will replace all cash?
- Driverless cars will be on the roads?
- Same day genetic cancer treatments?
- Television screens replaced by virtual reality?
- Say goodbye to the European Union?
- Mark Zuckerberg runs for President?
- Francisco Casagrande, September 15, 2017 https://www.facebook.com/people/Francisco-Casagrande/100013059464695