Buttle's World

6 October, 2006

Predicting the Future

Filed under: Posts — clgood @ 10:12

Here’s a valiant try at predicting life in 2000, published in 1950. It’s an object lesson in just how hard it is to predict the future. Some of the guesses are laughably wrong. And yet…

Fast jet and rocket-propelled mail planes made it so hard for telegraph companies all over the world to compete with the postal service that dormant facsimile-transmission systems had to be revived. It takes no more than a minute to transmit and receive in facsimile a five-page letter on paper of the usual business size. Cost? Five cents. In Tottenville the clerks in telegraph offices no longer print out illegible words. Everything is transmitted by phototelegraphy exactly as it is written—illegible spelling, blots, smudges and all. Mistakes are the sender’s, never the telegraph company’s.

That’s pretty close on the cost, if not the speed.

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1 Comment »

  1. Well, that’s the email, not the fast jet and rocket-propelled mail planes. Still, a real slap in the speed department…

    Comment by Not Thin — 4 December, 2009 @ 5:18


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