Most Hilariously Wrong Technology Predictions of All Time

Metal_Treasure
Some people have made bold predictions about the future of technology. Here are some of the failed predictions that are most shockingly bad and hilarious at the same time.

The Top Ten

1 "No flying machine will ever fly from New York to Paris." Orville Wright (1920)

Why did he specifically choose New York and Paris? It makes sense for him not to believe that a flying machine could cross the ocean, but why did he pick two specific cities as destinations? Also, the first flying machine to cross the ocean was a hot-air balloon. - Mcgillacuddy

I sincerely hope that the people nowadays aren't as stupid and don't think that what we have today is already the bottom of the line. Guys, there will be new things. Things that will outdo what we have now by far. - Martin_Canine

I added images to illustrate the predictions so come back to see the images (I hope they'll get approved soon). - Metal_Treasure

This list is awesome - EliHbk

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2 "The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty-a fad." Michigan Savings Bank (1903)

Cars are faster and the USA ended up investing in paved roads, so horses aren't seen often as basic transportation. - Mcgillacuddy

A few weeks ago I saw some people riding them in a Walmart parking lot. - Skullkid755

C.T. Bridgman, President of Michigan Savings Bank, told this to Horace Rackham, who wanted to know whether to invest in Ford Motor Company.
But Rackham's intuition was obviously better and despite the bank's advice, he bought 50 shares of Ford stock and became one of the original stockholders, company lawyer, chairman, etc, etc.
Reality: in 2010 there were over one billion cars in the world. And only about 58 million horses. - Metal_Treasure

3 "Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever." Thomas Edison (1889)

Clearly this man underestimated the genius of Nikola Tesla. Now over 90% of the power used throughout the world uses AC electricity.

Mr Thomas Edison, AC/DC and their fans disagree! Alternating current (AC) is half of their name!
Also, home and office outlets are almost always AC. - Metal_Treasure

4 "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." Ken Olsen (1977)

That was until the Internet was made. Now nobody can live without it. - Mcgillacuddy

Just say that in today's world and count the mockings you get - SpectralOwl

Meme machine, meme machine.
I'm a meme machine.
Meme machine, meme machine.
Without memes I will die.

Give me the memes...
I need the memes...
I catch the memes, I spread the memes, I eat the memes... - mattstat716

5 "Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction." Pierre Pachet (1872)
6 "Everyone acquainted with the subject [light bulb] will recognize it as a conspicuous failure." Henry Morton, president of the Stevens Institute of Technology, on Edison's light bulb, 1880

Xmas decorations (lights in particular) would horrify Mr Henry Morton... - Metal_Treasure

7 "Heavier than air flying machines are impossible." Lord Kelvin (1895)

And now they’re a primary source of transportation - Randomator

Lord Kelvin was an eminent physicist famous for:
1. Devising the absolute temperature scale, now called the 'Kelvin scale'
2. Formulating the second law of thermodynamics
3. Working to install telegraph cables under the Atlantic. - Metal_Treasure

8 "Cellular phones will absolutely not replace local wire systems." Marty Cooper (1981)

Most of the things these people said are absolutely stupid and illogical when you really think about the benefits of the subjects at hand. - Mcgillacuddy

And now in 2018 an estimated 4 billion people have cell phones - Randomator

9 "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication." William Orton (1876)

It's kind of stupid that he would think this considering that you can send messages and talk to people in mere minutes on a phone instead of relying on a postman to cross the country just to send a message to someone, and then cross back to give you the reply. - Mcgillacuddy

Reasonable for then to be honest - EliHbk

William Orton was the President of Western Union. He said this in an internal memo of Western Union.
Reality: phone books are actually very bulky... - Metal_Treasure

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

Britgirl, have you ever needed a telephone? - Metal_Treasure

Gotta make those calls. - mattstat716

The Contenders

11 "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 (1946)

Darryl Zanuck was a Hollywood film producer (20th Century Fox) - Metal_Treasure

He wasn't sooo wrong

12 "X-rays will prove to be a hoax." Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society, 1883

Haha, hoax! We can even see the gun in this image! - Metal_Treasure

He has a weapon... - mattstat716

I can still imagine that there are some eegits alive today who deny or refuse to acknowledge the existence of X-Rays. - PositronWildhawk

13 "Everything that can be invented has been invented." Charles H. Duell (1899)

Charles H. Duell was a commissioner to the U.S. Office of Patents.
I think he deserved to be fired for saying this. How somebody who works for an Office of Patents can say it? - Metal_Treasure

14 "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" H.M. Warner (1927)

Who the hell wants to see constant dialogue cards?! - SpectralOwl

H.M. Warner, proud co-founder of Warner Brothers, said that in the era dominated by silent films. - Metal_Treasure

''Pand...There's a D on the end.'' - htoutlaws2012

15 "There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio service inside the United States." T.A.M. Craven (1961)

This picture was taken somewhere in Morocco, obviously in a very poor neighborhood but look at the satellite T.V. dishes - they are everywhere! - Metal_Treasure

16 "Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value." Marechal Ferdinand Foch (1911)

Haha. Just try telling that to the Air Force - Randomator

pfft - EliHbk

17 "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." Thomas Watson (1943)

Thomas Watson (IBM President).
There are approx. 2 billion computers in the world... and IBM helped develop them... - Metal_Treasure

18 “The idea of a personal communicator in every pocket is a “pipe dream driven by greed.”   Andy Grove (1992) “The idea of a personal communicator in every pocket is a “pipe dream driven by greed.”   Andy Grove (1992)

Andy Grove was a CEO of Intel - Metal_Treasure

19 "The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper." Clifford Stoll, Newsweek, 1995

The article was entitled "Internet? Bah! " - Metal_Treasure

20 “No one will need more than 637KB of memory for a personal computer. 640KB ought to be enough for anybody.”   Bill Gates (1981)

Look who said that! Bill Gates! - Metal_Treasure

My 2 Terabyte hard drive begs to differ - cjWriter1997

21 “We will never make a 32-bit operating system.”  Bill Gates (1989)

I'm glad you did, 'because my computational physics projects would be pretty arduous otherwise! - PositronWildhawk

Bill Gates (co-founder and chairman of Microsoft) - Metal_Treasure

22 "Rail travel at high speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia." Dr. Dionysius Lardner, 1830
23 "That virus [HIV] is a pussycat. It will not survive for a long time." Dr. Peter Duesberg, molecular-biology professor at U.C. Berkeley, 1988
24 “Television won’t last. It’s a flash in the pan”. Mary Somerville (1948)

She was a pioneer of radio educational broadcasts - Metal_Treasure

25 “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.”   Steve Ballmer (2007)

Well he ended up getting proven wrong considering how iPhones are the most successful phone brand out there. - SomePersonYouHate

Steve Ballmer (Microsoft CEO). - Metal_Treasure

26 “I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked to the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.” Editor, Prentice Hall Books (1957) “I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked to the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.” Editor, Prentice Hall Books (1957)

Manual data processing (ex., bookkeeping) have been performed manually for millennia.
A person whose job was to perform calculations manually or using a calculator was called a "computer."
Electronic (computerized) data processing: The Census Bureau first made limited use of electronic computers for the 1950 United States Census - Metal_Treasure

27 “The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to no one in particular?”  Associates of David Sarnoff (1921) “The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to no one in particular?”  Associates of David Sarnoff (1921)

The wireless music box is the RADIO. David Sarnoff wanted to invest in the radio but his associates were reluctant. The quote above was the answer of his associates. - Metal_Treasure

28 "There's just not that many videos I want to watch." Steve Chen, YouTube co-founder, 2005
29 “A rocket will never be able to leave the Earth’s atmosphere.”   New York Times (1936)
30 “Where a calculator on the ENIAC is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers of the future may have only 1,000 vacuum tubes and perhaps weigh one and a half tons.”   Popular Mechanics (1949)
31 “Space travel is bunk.” Sir Harold Spencer Jones, Astronomer Royal of the UK, 1957

Only two weeks later Sputnik orbited the Earth! - Metal_Treasure

32 "While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility.”   Lee DeForest (1926)

Lee DeForest, the “Father of Radio”, had over 180 patents and was a pioneer in the development of sound-on-film recording used for motion pictures. - Metal_Treasure

33 "The world potential market for copying machines is 5,000 at most." IBM (1959)

IBM told this to the eventual founders of Xerox. - Metal_Treasure

34 “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.”  Steve Jobs (2003)
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List Stats

34 listings
337 days old

Top Remixes

1. "No flying machine will ever fly from New York to Paris." Orville Wright (1920)
2. "Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever." Thomas Edison (1889)
3. "The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty-a fad." Michigan Savings Bank (1903)
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