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Top 10 faulty technology predictions


Bill Clinton once said, “We should all be very careful about making predictions about the future,” forgetting to add, “especially about blue dresses and forensics”. He’s not the only one to have underestimated advances in technology, here are ten others who’ve been embarrassed by humanity’s penchant for making life easier

“Radio has no future.” “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” “X-rays will prove to be a hoax.”
– William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, British mathematician, physicist and engineer, 1899

“With over 50 foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn’t likely to carve out a big slice of the US market.”
– Business Week, 2 August 1968

“The idea that cavalry will be replaced by these iron coaches is absurd. It is little short of treasonous.”
– Comment from an aide-de-camp to Field Marshal Haig at a tank demonstration, 1916

“Television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.”
– Darryl Zanuck, movie producer, 20th Century Fox, 1946

“There will never be a bigger plane built.”
– A Boeing engineer, after the first flight of the 247, a twin-engine plane that held ten people, 8 February 1933

“Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.”
– Pierre Pachet, professor of physiology, Toulouse, 1872

“The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.”
– Sir William Preece, chief engineer of the British Post Office, 1876

“Where a calculator on the ENIAC [Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer] is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1,000 vacuum tubes and weigh only 1.5 tons.”
– Popular Mechanics, 1949

“This is the biggest fool thing we have ever done. The bomb will never go off, and I speak as an expert in explosives.”
– Admiral William D. Leahy, chief of staff, to the commander in chief of the US army and navy during World War II, advising President Truman on the atomic bomb, 1945

“Nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality in 10 years.”
– Alex Lewyt, president of vacuum cleaner company Lewyt Corp., in the New York Times in 1955