Imagining the Internet Predictions Project
 
More from Steve Steinberg

With set-top boxes, we will be pressured to replace at least part of our TVs annually in order to get features we don't really need. - 1994
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Both those who believe patents are crucial to the industry and those who believe patents will cause irreparable harm [are] claiming that the unique nature of software requires sweeping changes in U.S. intellectual property laws ... The problem isn't the much-maligned patent office, it's people's egos. - 1994
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Experts point to anti-pollution laws and two-career families as the driving forces behind telecommuting's resurgence. While the Clean Air Act may cause a small increase in telecommuting, most employees still believe that physical visibility is necessary for promotions, and this will keep telecommuting from catching on. - 1994
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The idea of an intelligent agent that can whisk away our tedious work is incredibly seductive. But it is also a dangerous idea to promote. In the 1980s, many database companies discovered that promoting a "natural-language interface" is the kiss of death because customers then expect too much. To connect your product with "intelligent agents" risks far greater customer disappointment. - 1994
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Sure, we all knew that the Net was going to become more commercial, but it still is somehow unsettling to see your formerly pastoral town filled with new high-rises, billboards, and gawking tourists. What's strange is the mass media's portrayal of net.pioneers as a bunch of rabid anti-business hippies - as if most people are delighted with TV commercials and junk mail. Advertising may be inevitable, but it's still worth bitching about. - 1994
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We just need to figure out why telephones should merge with computers in the first place. True, the combination could help telemarketers. But for most of us, it's as useful as a computerized toaster. - 1995
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The upcoming battle that really matters is the up-start Microsoft Network versus the older, but crowd-pleasing Internet ... It says a lot about Microsoft's reputation that even though the Internet weighs in with 30 million subscribers to MSN's zero, it's the Internet that's being painted as the underdog. But my money is on the Net, a wily opponent with a record of swallowing up any competition. Forget age versus youth; this fight will be a morality tale about hubris. - 1995
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By providing a low-cost, high-quality phone service - with the freedom of mobility thrown in - PCS vendors will gouge the revenues of local phone companies. Your home phone and mobile phone will be one and the same. Once again, technology will have destroyed a monopoly where legislation failed. - 1995
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Because people are used to owning information, not leasing it, tangible forms of media like CD-ROM will be with us for a long time. - 1995
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The history of U.S. technology is the history of a recurring U.S. dream: new inventions will empower the individual more than the corporation ... A current variant is the prediction that the anarchic Internet will turn people into media makers and kill off more restrictive commercial services like America Online and CompuServe. This prediction has two flaws. First, in a society satisfied by "Baywatch" reruns, few people will produce or consume the amateur media. Second, no matter how nice the Web viewer, the unstructured Internet will always be much harder to use than an online service. - 1995
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Who wants to participate in the kind of sterile, cartoony world that companies like CompuServe and Prodigy are doomed to create? Perhaps a few ... but the rest will want to move into grittier, less- planned online worlds. This new digital landscape will not offer architects or urban planners the jobs they're really angling for. - 1995
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The dream is to use the existing cable network to bring high-speed Net connectivity to the home. While in theory the cable network can handle transmission speeds that leave phone lines in the dust, in reality much of the network will need to be refurbished to support such data transmission. Nonetheless, the specter of cable modems should help to spur on ISDN deployment. - 1995

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Comments, suggestions or feedback? Contact us at predictions@elon.edu. Last Modified:  1/9/05