Predicting the Future: The Gadgets of Today, Imagined 20 years Ago

by Dale Wright

out to be the most accurate: Mystic Meg, Nostradamus, Steve Jobs or… Tom Selleck?

The BBC recently picked up on this amazing video from 1993 which accurately predicts the existence of many of the gadgets we’re using 20 years later.

‘You Will’ depicts a businessman using something that looks like a chunky iPad to send a message wirelessly, a man on holiday using something like Skype on his laptop, an in-car satellite navigation system, some kids buying a movie on demand, touch screen ‘cash machines’ and a woman reading an e-book.

Funnily enough, a major development is missing: there are no mobile phones. The message from the tablet computer is a fax, and the video call is made from a phone booth. Also, the e-book borrowed from a library is a photograph of a page on a TV screen! Still, compared to other future predictions, it’s spookily accurate, and it’s fascinating to see how quickly things have changed in less than two decades.

The video was made by US mobile phone network AT&T. So what were Apple planning in the ‘90s? Well, the iPad, by the looks of things, although it looks very different. This 1990s Apple ad also appears to feature a prototype of FaceTime. (And it’s achingly dull – see how much of it you can bear to watch).

What’s your favourite retro ‘futuristic’ ad? We’d love to see it!