Predictions & Prescience

We've talked a lot in class about theorists who were surprisingly prescient, and whose ideas continue to be developed successfully. But I it's also interesting to think about times when we can be too eager to jump into future technologies, and run the risk of incorrectly predicting how they will be used. A lot of our talks about the early days of computers reminds me of a story about a family friend. At the start of the computing revolution, when businesses we just beginning to see the benefits of using computers, he predicted (and correctly) that soon everyone would need access to a computer. Unfortunately, he didn't forsee the rise of the personal computer, and instead decided to sink several tens of thousands of dollars into buying many of those large computers we hear so much about - the ones that take up nearly a whole room.

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