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Definition: technology forecasting
Technology has brought about the most significant changes in civilization and society. However, some of the most brilliant and knowledgeable people in the world are not always able to forecast the future of technology very well. Following are some noteworthy predictions that were way off the mark.
In 1912, Phillip Franklin, vice president of White Star Line, which built the Titanic, said "there is no danger that Titanic will sink. The boat is unsinkable."
In 1939, Winston Churchill said "atomic energy might be as good as present-day explosives, but it is unlikely to produce anything much more dangerous."
In 1943, Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM and the man who turned IBM into a powerhouse, said "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
In 1946, film producer Darryl F. Zanuck said "television won't hold onto any market it captures after the first six months because people will get tired of staring at a plywood box every night."
In 1949, an article in Popular Mechanics magazine stated "computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons."
In 1959, U.S. Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield predicted that "before man reaches the moon, mail will be delivered within hours by guided missles."
In 1966, Time Magazine stated that "remote shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop because women like to get out of the house."
In 1977, Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, said "there is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home."
In 1995, Robert Metcalfe, founder of 3Com and co-inventor of the Ethernet, said "the Internet would soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse."
In 2003, Steve Jobs said "the subscription model of buying music is bankrupt. I think you could make available the Second Coming in a subscription model, and it might not be successful."
In 2004, Bill Gates said "two years from now, spam will be solved."
In 2007, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said "there's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance."