What is the internet to you?
At this point in time, most of us view the internet as a resource that is necessary to do work, stay in touch, go shopping and just generally live life.
Let’s go back to the ’90s. The time was simpler.
The internet was a new thing back in the day.
You can remember the sound of your modem if you’re old enough. There was a time when all you could do was go on chatrooms.
Was it a bunch of tubes? Was it a superhighway?
Or was it just a fad?
There’s been fun with old-timey internet predictions.
Matthew Ball pointed out what the internet has become.
It led to a hole in what people thought the internet would become, and these predictions have aged poorly.
The internet. A fax machine.
Here’s an even bigger “oof”- pic.twitter.com/Re80ZMyBlO
— Jason Tidwell (@BadfishRanch) December 20, 2021
I don’t know why so many people believed that the internet was a thing of the past.
It was full of potential even when it was slow and people didn’t know what to do with it.
It’s hard to imagine a time when a newspaper would write about the internet.
The same can not be said for many of the Sun’s predecessors.
How’s Macy doing?
Aged similar to this gem pic.twitter.com/sCjgKO2ECI
— VCs Congratulating Themselves 👏👏👏 (@VCBrags) December 20, 2021
If you haven’t been paying attention, Amazon has taken over the world. Macy’s is closing hundreds of stores at a time, many of them in dead or dying malls.
The thing about forecasts? Once in a while, they’re off-base.
And now… can’t live without it pic.twitter.com/hXNkzrJAT3
— E. Krediet (@EKrediet) December 20, 2021
When the internet was a toy, you’d use it from time to time. It’s all around us. We would be in trouble if it collapsed.
Bad predictions are not limited to the ’90s.
From 2009 (a prediction of life in 2020): pic.twitter.com/YDpKnBDRSC
— Andrea Carlo (@andcarlom) December 21, 2021
You might be able to refresh my memory. Is the 2020 election the first post-internet campaign?
Is it because kids are logging off so they can discuss things in person?
No way, Norway.
In Norway we have this equivalent from 1996. "The Internet is a Flop!" Both two and three years later the author upheld his claim. Later he actually admitted he had been wrong. pic.twitter.com/1vODfKn5Il
— Hannibal Lektor 🥌 🪨 (@ivarsorensen) December 20, 2021
The headline is easy to understand in Norwegian. The author admitted that he was wrong.
Predicting the future of technology is never a good idea.
We’ve been getting things wrong for a long time.
The world is full of haters , non believers, bashers and corrupt people …
Fortunately progress is moving on without them . pic.twitter.com/8fjt14iM27
— BPM (@999BPM) December 20, 2021
Nine days before the Wright brothers proved that human flight was possible, this New York Times headline was printed.
We’d still be a long way from inventing airplanes if this prediction was correct.
Sometimes, predictions are right.
From 1963 pic.twitter.com/rCU3bSkPAZ
— Lin (@IamLinLiu) December 20, 2021
The article doesn’t predict the internet-driven smartphone boom that came half a century later, but it does get the broad strokes right. The main point of its headline is correct, even though it might have been talking about landlines.
This should be a lesson to all of us.
This discussion is a lesson in what can happen when you make a bold prediction.
You will be proven right sometimes. Perhaps the wait-and-see approach is best for everyone, as it seems more likely that you’ll be proven wrong.
Tell us about your internet memories in the comments.
Fascinated by everything that goes beep. Strong passion for music, tech, and all things Marvel.